Tag Archives: food with a view

Bennelong, Sydney

Recently, I was invited to a lovely lunch at Bennelong.  Now in the hands of Peter Gilmore, I haven’t been here since Guillaume was at the helm.

When Guillaume’s lease was up back in 2013, the space was put out to tender with a brief that it would be “more accessible”, and Guillaume wasn’t keen on a more casual type venue.  The Van Haandels, behind Melbourne’s Stokehouse, won the tender and planned to open it seven days a week including breakfast on weekends.  While it was not going to be cheap, the plan was to make it more affordable than a fine diner and not such restricted opening times.  Imagine going there for a breakfast or brunch on a special occasion like Mother’s Day or a birthday, or going just because it’s a beautiful Sydney morning.  It never happened though, with the Van Haandels’ Melbourne restaurant tragically falling to a fire, and their attention had to be focussed on rebuilding that.

In steps Peter Gilmore to take over. And I’m not sure what happened to the whole desired more casual vibe that made Guillaume walk away, as it’s very much a fine dinner, with lunch only three days a week and dinner seven days.  And I don’t think the whole “accessible” thing has really been achieved with a three course meal at $135 for lunch and $145 for dinner; add a few wines and coffee and $200 per head is not a normal meal for most people, even the well healed, so special occasion it is.  Bit of a shame as more people should get to experience this unique space.

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Now I will say that I’ve always thought Peter Gilmore’s Quay was a little overrated, and I’ve been a few times.  If I was going to splash out, it wouldn’t be on my list. So I was curious here.  And it was a really lovely and beautifully presented meal – with entrees outperforming mains –  but I didn’t walk away thinking I’m dying to go back, and there is a dish I must have again, and I must take the Marito and and and…

On the menu that day:

Tartare of Rangers Valley wagyu with horseradish cream, capers, parsley and crispy beef tendon.  I love a good tartare and this was well balanced with the horseradish and the textural element.

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Confit tomatoes with straciatella, smoked almonds, sherry caramel and linaria (which is a herb apparently).  Essentially Italian cheese and tomatoes – a very classic combination, but a richness was added with the caramel.

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Yellowfin tuna with kohlrabi remoulade, anchovy emulsion, black rice and lava chips.  Beautiful quality tuna.

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And for the mains, pink snapper with radish, shellfish broth and lobster roe emulsion.  So tiny for a main course, and not sure where the broth was.

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Grass fed lamb, spring cabbage, fermented rye peas and blossoms.  Again a very small main course, and this was disappointing as the lamb was cold and a bit chewy.

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Onto dessert. Now this dish, strawberries and cream, did wow me.  I don’t really do strawberries much, but this was just a wonderful combination of flavour and texture and tasted so lively and fresh.

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Finally chocolate cake from across the water (does that mean Tassie?).  I’m not big on chocolate and found it bitter, but the chocolate fans on the table liked it.

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Bennelong, Sydney Opera House, Ph 9240 8000

The Boathouse, Shelly Beach

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The location of this light filled café – right on Shelley Beach – alone make it seductive during a Sydney Summer. Such a great spot to have a coffee, breakfast, and read the paper, alone or while the (not so) Small People busy themselves in the sand and sea.  With the plants, fresh flowers, framed prints and big lampshades, it’s a spot on beachside casual feel, and one that you wish was your own dining or living room to spend all day.

There aren’t any bookings so you do have to hover to get a table (and given the layout of the room this is ok, I found it extremely awkward at the narrow Balmoral Beach location and gave up), but on the couple of occasions I’ve been everyone is pretty chilled and happy to share on mostly larger communal tables.  It’s a counter order system, line up and pay and grab your number, so you do have to line up again each time you want another round of drinks or coffees.  The menu is very compact, so that they can turn the tables and appease the crowds, but the ingredients were fresh and what was there was well done. If it’s a bucket of prawns and some oysters you’re after, you’ll be very happy indeed with the Summer menu appropriately biased towards cold dishes and seafood.  There isn’t a specific kids menu, but they do the various dishes in smaller sizes. Staff were very friendly and quick to follow up when they noticed our meal seemed to be taking longer than usual and set about rectifying it and offering us some free drinks.

We’ll be back for breakfast.

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The Boathouse, 1 Marine Parade, Manly Ph +61 2 9974 5440 http://www.theboathousesb.com.au/

The Boathouse Shelly Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burnt Orange, Mosman

You’ll find Burnt Orange in a pretty cottage amongst the trees at Middle Head in Mosman looking out over the water, so it is understandably very popular for breakfast and brunch.


They have four morning sittings on a weekend for breakfast at staggered half our intervals starting from 8.30am with an hour and a half per sitting. We and our friends opted for the first one. The breakfast menu is pretty standard – eggs, bacon, pancakes and the like, and all quite well executed. The sourdough bread is delicious. Though we do ask for a fried egg for one of our Small People and are told “ah no, we can’t do that, it requires a different griddle and it’s too difficult”. Um, didn’t think a small fry pan would be all that hard really, or maybe fried eggs are taboo in Mosman, not sure which. And although we are the first sitting and it is not busy we need to chase our drinks, which arrive after our meals.


I go for the breakfast board, which has a very nicely done confit of trout. But I find the Avoca brown bread extremely dry and dense so don’t eat it, and pinch some sourdough instead.


Attached to the café is a retail shop with a variety of treasures. I raise my camera to take some snaps. “Oh, no, you’re not allowed to take photos here”. Ok. I’ll take them in the Louvre or the Vatican instead, they don’t seem to mind.


Burnt Orange, 1109 Middle Head Road, Mosman, Ph 02 9969 1020

Burnt Orange Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Newport, Newport

The Newport Arms was always a great place to meet some friends on a Summer weekend and pass a few hours having a chat and a drink.  But there was no doubt it was looking a little tired.  Enter Merivale who have now taken it over (and dropped the “Arms” from the name) and are gradually refurbishing it, with the first stage opening recently. Its a similar concept to Coogee Pavilion, but on a much larger scale, more outdoor space, and that great view over the water. A grey day and coolish day doesn’t stop the crowds from descending; a live band is playing and the atmosphere is relaxed as it ever was.

You’ll need to go with some friends so you can take a divide-and-conquer approach to the food ordering, as its all at separate counters.  There’s The Shack (burgers, fish and chips, salads), Vinnie’s (Pizza), The Kiosk (rotisserie and meats), and The Seafood Market (self explanatory, and they were doing a roaring trade in buckets of fresh prawns and oyster platters).  In the children’s play area you can also grab a coffee and some treats, or a freshly made juice from The Juice Bar nearby.  Thankfully you’ll find a map on the menu to help you out

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Justin Hemme’s was in the kitchen at The Shack that day, not quite flipping burgers but busy at the pass making sure all was running smoothly and calling orders.  And if I’d spent a rumoured $50 million on a site, I’d be doing the same.  Whoever trains his staff though, is worth their weight in gold.  As it started to sprinkle, staff members immediately appeared with bunches of logo’d blue umbrellas, so people wouldn’t get wet while queuing for food.  Others appeared with squeegies, getting water off all the outdoor tables.  It was pretty slick for something that had only been open a few weeks.

The food was tasty and crowd pleasing.  The pizza and the salt and pepper squid were definitely among the highlights.  Burgers looked good but smallish for the price, add a snack of wings to the order as well if you’re going down that route.

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There is a small parking lot (I expect it will be bigger once the full site is complete), but there are also shuttle buses from Manly. Thoughtful lot, aren’t they?

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The Newport, 2 Kalinya Street, Newport

Newport Arms Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

LuMi Bar and Dining, Pyrmont

With a name like Federico Zanellato you couldn’t be anything other than Italian. But don’t go to LuMi, Pyrmont’s new waterside diner, expecting Fede’s take on Nonna Rosaria’s gnocchi or Zia Maria’s tiramisu. Having worked in some fine dining establishments in Italy and throughout Europe, followed by Japan and most recently as head chef at hatted Ormeggio, Australia is now his adopted home – how fortunate for us. He realised our multicultural and food adventurous society would be willing to explore a fusion of Italian and Japanese, which on the face of it sounds a little worrisome. But any concerns are completely unfounded. He pulls it off. Beautifully.

Dinner is an eight course degustation for $95. Waterside, with nicely spaced tables, lovely crockery, and handsomely plated food, it is well worth it. In the style of Momofuku, the chefs deliver the plates to you and talk you through the course, which sound so much better accented with Italian (Zanellato’s brother is also in the kitchen, and his wife on the floor). And we both agree we’d rather come here than Momofuku across the road, which is double the price, any day of the week.

First up is a plate of “snacks”: a cheese tartlet with corn and parmigiano; salt and vinegar rice chips; and a potato and rosemary focaccia, the last probably being the closest thing you’ll find resembling traditional Italian. I enjoy them all, and the interesting flavours and textures make you look forward to what’s coming.

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Chawanmushi, a Japanese egg custard, in a savoury style with tomato water. Texturally perfect custard with a tomato accent, I love it.

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White cucumber with apple and sour cream. So pretty on the plate and a refreshing dish.

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Veal tartare with tarragon mayo roasted capsicum, buckwheat.  This is the only one that didn’t do it for me (and normally I love a good tartare) but just a personal flavour preference, my partner in crime thought it was great.

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The fragrance as each of the pasta dishes hits the table is incredible. Our first pasta course is spelt ravioli with burnt butter, pumpkin, Avruga caviar, and chives. Its a rich dish so just the right size.

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Our second pasta dish is spaghetti alla chitarra with orange buerre blanc, bottarga, and scampi. “Alla chitarra” refers to how the pasta is made, a stringed contraption that looks like a guitar (chitarra).

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We adore the Pork Jowl with, Celeriac, Quinoa, hidden under a layer of spinach. It’s a knockout dish and one of the stars of the night.

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The “Evergreen” pre dessert – Sorrel,Lemon Basil, Mint, Shiso, parsley – is like walking in to a delicious cold pressed juice bar, imparting a feeling of good health.LuMi (11)

Zanellato generously sends over an extra dish, his take on strawberries and cream – strawberry granita with whipped cream and ice cream. It’s a good lead in to dessert.LuMi (12)

To finish is a ginger ice cream, white chocolate, passionfruit, yoghurt crumble. Its thankfully not too sweet and the crumble gives it texture. LuMi (13)

I doubt I’m making a big call when I say there’ll be a hat or two coming LuMi’s way in the next Good Food Guide line up. The phones will start ringing like crazy when then happens, so go discover it before then.

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LuMi Dining, 56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, (02) 9571 1999

LuMi Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Chiosco by Ormeggio, Mosman


Alessandro Pavoni seems to be a man on a mission – a mission to deliver high quality Italian food to Sydney’s North Shore, where dining choices can be somewhat, ah, limited. Ormeggio was his first baby, now all grown up and crowned with two hats, followed earlier this year by Via Alta, and just before Christmas, Chiosco (Italian for kiosk).  A compact but open space, Chiosco is appropriately nautically themed and with a casual vibe. Kids are always welcome in any Pavoni establishment (which I love), and in this case, so are boats, as boat catering is available, and you can rock up in your boardies with a bit of sand if you so desire. They do breakfast too.

Our friendly waiter hands us menus and tells us dishes are designed for sharing, which is just as well as I pretty much want to try everything on it. And it is all delicious – Pavoni and Chef Victor Moya’s version of Italian “street food” – is simple, well executed and well priced food. As my husband said, “there is nothing here that we wouldn’t order again” (and again). I didn’t photograph everything we ate (do try the ragu, its excellent), and we over-ordered, and the food came to $38 per head, which I thought was great value. Plus it is currently BYO.

We tried suppli – crumbed risotto balls with peas, oxtail ragu on fontina cheese. Absolutely cracking!

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Burrata (a devine creamy mozzarella if you haven’t tried it before, I love it) with basil oil and beetroot. There were also some sourdough crumbs which added texture

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Fritto misto – a mix of Hawkesbury school prawns and baby calamari. Loved the boxed presentation.

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Corn on the cob. The smoky paprika and pecorino cheese take it to another level

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Baby octopus skewers with a salmoriglio dressing

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Charcoal gamberoni – huge prawns with a tangy chilli dressing

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Our ravenous kids also wanted burgers along with the ragu, they were massive.

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I can’t think of an appropriate Italian translation of the phrase “mate, love your work” (ben fatto doesn’t quite cut it), but that about sums it up.

Chiosco by Ormeggio, D’Albora Marinas The Spit Spit Rd Mosman, Ph 02 9046 7333

Chiosco By Ormeggio on Urbanspoon

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Circular Quay


There’s never any argument that we have one of the world’s most stunning harbours, even on a grey day. And it’s even better to sit right beside it and enjoy a meal. But on many occasions there has been a food-view trade off – great view, not so good food (places like Ormeggio, Berowra Waters Inn and Pilu are an exception, with a great showing on both fronts). One day Mamma Rosa and The Sisters get the ferry into the Big Smoke, and I walk down from my office to Circular Quay to meet them. Our last get together was at Via Alta.

Today we are heading to Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, as Mamma Rosa is a big oyster fan, a taste I inherited from her. We are warmly welcomed and the staff that day were absolutely lovely – friendly, warm, helpful – nothing was too much trouble.

We start with sea scallops with pork belly and shemiji mushroom – fat scallops, well caramelised, and we enjoy it.


We then go for the Ultimate Oyster Bar Indulgence Platter ($225) and it looks great on the table, accompanied by various (somewhat pedestrian) sauces. The oysters though sadly are disappointing, and just don’t have the beautiful freshness I’ve found elsewhere (for instance the previous week at Gardels the oysters seemed like they’d just been plucked from the sea) and the mussels we have to send back. The best parts for me are the crab and the lobster, fresh and sweet and we enjoy every bit of them. The battered seafood is good too. It’s a bit of a shame about the oysters given the location (and the name of the place!), but maybe we just caught them on an off day.


oysterbar4Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, Circular Quay East, Sydney, Ph (02) 9427 2937

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon