Tag Archives: Justin Hemmes

Coogee Pavilion, Coogee

pavillion (8)

The Merivale group should offer marketing or business courses, or something.  Like them or loathe them, you’ve got to hand it to them – their ability to take a space, transform it, attract good chefs and instantly draw a huge crowd – and sustain it long term – is enviable.  I’ve been to plenty of their venues – sushi e, Felix, Papi Chulo, Lorraine’s, Palings, Mr Wong just to name a few, and have, for the most part, had great experiences.

Coogee Pavilion is a relatively recent addition to the family.  Like its older siblings it has been transformed into a wonderful space – this time the approach is bright and breezy, perfect for a beachside venue. There is plenty to catch your attention, various counters everywhere, and I love the fact that the tables are nice and spaced out and you don’t have to sit on top of your dining neighbour.

pavillion (9)pavillion (10)pavillion (1)pavillion (2)pavillion (3)pavillion (4)pavillion (5)

And the food? Its pretty solid. There’s fresh seafood, pizza, steaks, salads, burgers. If you go all fresh seafood it can be quite expensive, but for a low key pizza and burger its not too bad at all. Its not food that is going to blow your mind, but accessible, pleasant fare for a relaxed meal. Note that it does come from each individual counter so can arrive very quickly – if you want them to space it out let them know.  Otherwise you’ll find your oysters arriving with your pizza and fish and chips.

pavillion3pavillion2

And the place is incredibly family friendly. There are high chairs, so cute small people like this one can be comfortable.
pavillion (7)

Kids meals are $12.50 and under; the only annoyance of the day was that we had to chase down our kids’ steak repeatedly – it took 45 minutes – but given that the kids were thoroughly entertained they didn’t drive us mad. There is an awesome sizeable room at the back with table tennis, climbing walls, scrabble and a giant connect four among other things. The kids were very happy to run off and play while we sat and chatted and enjoyed our meal. If you want to avoid all that, head up to the rooftop bar which is over 18’s only.

pavillion1

Coogee Pavilion, 169 Dolphin St, Coogee, Ph 02 9240 3000
http://merivale.com.au/coogeepavilion
Coogee Pavilion on Urbanspoon

Papi Chulo, Manly

papi1

Papi Chulo apparently means “pretty boy” or similar in Spanish. Was Justin naming the venue after himself? It’s the Merivale empire’s first move to the Northern Beaches. Looking out over Manly Wharf, the vibe is laid back, the salsa and other Latin American tunes humming in the background. Woodfire, charcoal, and smoking feature heavily on the menu, which is a mixture of South American and the “deep South of the USA” (with a very sideways twist to Vietnam for a salad). Since my better half is a vegacquarian, we didn’t try any of the BBQ meats (and I have had mixed reviews on these from friends with a few disappointed) but the seafood and vegetable dishes we tried were all great.

It’s not perfect, but there is no doubt Justin Hemmes has another hit on his hands.

Summer pea guacamole with tortilla chips. A clever idea using peas instead of avocado – it was fresh, vibrant and had a good chilli kick.

papi2

Grilled corn on the cob, smoked cheese, lime. There was also a sprinkling of paprika. Tasty combination.

papi4

Croquettes mushroom and heidi gruyere croquettes – delicious, but awfully small for $12 – should have been a few more.

papi3

BBQ baby octopus – grilled zucchini flowers, spring onions, soft herbs.  The octopus was wonderfully smokey and went well with the fresh herbs, probably our favourite dish.

papi5

Jumbo king prawns, lemongrass and coconut dressing. Huuuuge prawns! And a great tangy dressing.

papi6

As sides, we got the Curly fries (crunchy but not particularly tasty) and the refreshing Vietnamese coleslaw.

papisides_marked

Not so cool – there is a Papi Chulo burger with the works on the menu, we got a plain cheeseburger version for the offspring, and they charged us full freight for it – $18.

We finished with the warm chocolate chip cookie, vanilla malt ice-cream, butterscotch sauce, macadamia brittle. It’s a rich dessert so good for two to share. Particularly loved the texture and flavour of the macadamia brittle.

papi7

Papi Chulo, 22-23 Manly Wharf,Manly ph (02) 9240 3000
http://merivale.com.au/papichulo/

Papi Chulo on Urbanspoon

Sushi e, Establishment, Sydney CBD

I’ve been to Sushi e more times than I can count over the years. It is seriously good Japanese. But it also comes with an accompanying serious price tag. If you don’t mind that, pull up a seat at the bar if you’re on your own or with a friend; or grab a table for four or six; or, if you feel like settling in for a while, take a seat on one of the plush lounges at the adjacent Hemmesphere and kick back – its quite easy to pass several hours there, with the dulcid tones of Al Green, or other great music from the Hemmesphere CD selection, in the background, cocktail in hand.

Over time, I’ve probably worked my way through most of the menu. I always order the sashimi, it is first rate, and the delicious prawn shumai with the ponzu sauce. I could eat trays of the shumai, but at a hefty $18.50 for six, one tray has to do (Shaun Presland, who started here, also does a similar version at Sake). One dish I hadn’t tried before which I really liked was the crab san choy bow – recommended.

But….I don’t know what was going on with the kitchen that day, but we had to repeatedly ask for our food – we were about to keel over with starvation. Kitchen mix up, our dishes went to other tables, we had all sorts of profuse apologies, we got there in the end but it was a dampener on an otherwise excellent meal – I hope it was just a one off.

Assorted Sashimi
001

Prawn shumai
002

Soft shell crab san choy bow
005

Salmon belly
003

Salt roasted duck breast with sansho pepper, ginger, shallots and baby broccolini
007

Grilled scampi finished with a spicy lemon garlic sauce, sautéed baby spinach
004

Beef tataki with soy dressing
006

And a little complimentary dessert, panna cotta
008

Sushi e, Level 4, Establishment, 252 George Street, Sydney ph (02) 9240 3000
http://merivale.com.au/sushie

Sushi E on Urbanspoon