Sporting identities, from the Thorpedo himself, to Sam
Riley, Melinda Gainsford and many more, are common faces at Manly's
Blue Water cafe. Even on a Monday this place is phenomenally popular.
Six months ago, they doubled the floor size, yet people still perch
at the bar, queuing for a table, while many of their neighbouring rivals
are only half-full. What are they doing right? Could be owner/chef Allan
Simpson's appreciation for the appetites of seafaring folk. Blue Water's
mains, like the Gothically-skewered Portuguese Espatada or the Seared
Atlantic Salmon on a Creamy Spinach Risotto don't just taste great,
they're plentiful. When their Chilli Prawns come in under twenty bucks,
the Manly locals know they're being looked after, with Lemon Crusted
Chicken Breast and the New York Sirloin blowing people's beach-inspired
hunger away. Breakfast is all day until 4pm, showing that Manly folk
can party as hard as the Surry Hills set, while another highlight is
the Seafood Chowder entree - huge as a swimming pool!
The Whale Beach Restaurant
24B The Strand
Ph 9974 4009
As the colours
fade across Whale Beach's breathtaking evening sky, it's not nature's
passion-play which occupies centre stage in the hungry minds of northern
The collective focus moves through the Norfolk pines to The Whale Beach
Restaurant, a historic spot for food which began life as The Pacific
It achieved fame as De Beers - under Rod and Jeni De Beer - as an exemplary
dining experience. Now under the new ownership of Craig Rechner and
John Ferguson (a first culinary outing for them both), they've poached
the excellent chef Craig Edmond and have brought the prices into a far
more accessible sphere, with no main over $28.
Food is a mix of Mod Oz, French, Italian and Asian Fusion, like the
Roasted Barramundi with Saffron Mash, Braised Fennel and Bouillabaisse.
They've got the prices and menu spot on, offering breakfasts and lunch
in a casual beachy fashion, then upping the style after dusk. Other
highlights? Get them before they change the menu into a spring/summer
array ... there's Shanghai Shellfish Risotto with Crispy Ginger ...
Confit of Duck Leg with Five Spice and Asian Vegetables ... and for
entree, mmm ... a Thai Shellfish Broth.
Radiant with natural light from the north, resplendent
on Balmoral Beach, sensitively renovated to reside elegantly within
its natural environment, the Bathers Pavilion is one of Sydney's
most stylish dining adventures. And the picture above is exactly its
Canadian chef Serge Dansereau is a living imported national treasure,
overseeing serious Mod Oz dishes with French and Italian influences
in the main restaurant, then appearing casually on a Sunday to see people
to their tables in the Bathers' Cafe.
Serge teamed up with former Vogue editor Victoria Alexander and architect
Alex Popov in 1999 after Victoria started Bathers in 1988, this sterling
collaboration post-renovation having produced something to match the
appetites for splendour of the North Shore affluentees - seeing how
frequently this place is packed-out by dressed-up types, says it all.
If you're spending big, consider the restaurant - Black Lip Abalone
with Crispy Pork Ear, the Roasted Pheasant Breast, or Pan Roast Loin
of Venison get the food critics salivating.
If you're doing the casual cafe thing, thanks to Australia's egalitarian
they cater to your weekend bliss.
The Pool Caffe
94 Marina Parade
Ph 9314 0364
It's worth the drive out to Maroubra Beach for this little
gem, with its stunning proximity to the ocean, its warm glowing interior,
and its generous serves of homely yet adventurous cuisine. Now five
summers old, POOL CAFFE sparkles with a vitality as fresh as the first
breeze of the day.
Owner/chef Liz Fines and her sister Karen serve entrees like Chargrilled
Prawns on Seaweed Salad with Wasabi, Flying Fish Roe and Nim Jim Dressing,
or mains like Atlantic Salmon on Mash, Capsicum, Baby Olives and Salsa
Verde, stand out confidently. Barramundi Terrine, Duck Livers and Chargrilled
Scallops are other entrees that will stick in the memory long after
their five minutes of fame, while mains like Grain-fed Eye Fillet Mignon,
Oven-roasted Barossa Valley Chicken Breast or Crackling Pork Loin barely
nudge the 25 buck mark, making Pool Caffe worth the extra investment
in time and petrol.
A remarkably long lunch menu roams the upper echelons of hearty cafe
fare with something for everyone - Lunch Eggs coming in just under $13,
while a feasty Mezze Plate for Two tops the midday bill at thirty-three.
Breakfasts are neatly stylish too - Eggs Florentine, Spanish Eggs and
the Classic Pool Breakfast are expected - but a little dish called Vine
Ripened Tomato and Avocado Toast catches the eye as something almost
too gourmet for this surfie part of town!
The evenings are when The Pool Caffe shines brightest, and watching
the hosts catch the subtlest of weather changes and adjust the awnings
accordingly - their sense of weather more accurate than the bureau's
- is worth the price of admission alone.
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