It’s almost three years since the last review so a visit is overdue. Some places don’t even last that long. It helps that the chef is one of the owners and I love it when a local restaurant looks after its bread and butter clientele so well. OK, it is on the waterfront, but there are other places just as well situated that have come and gone. A light-filled space with a carpeted floor and linen-covered tables, quality glasses and friendly, well-informed serving staff are certainly part of the appeal.
The Sunday lunch menu is a good length, long enough to be interesting but short enough to reassure; a long menu can equal frozen ingredients. Today there are six entrees, just five mains and five desserts and the side of greens is seasonal. But most dishes come with their own greens or salad so a side isn’t always needed.
Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you must try one of the non-meat entrees. They have taken a large, meaty, full-flavoured field mushroom and stuffed it with pieces of bright green asparagus, golden pine nuts and smooth feta cheese, then roasted it before placing it on a plate drizzled with balsamic vinegar. This dish is bursting with umami (savouriness).
There are two prawn entrees. The garlic king prawns in a cream sauce with stir-fry vegetables and rice would probably make a good small main; we go for the other one. Four king prawns are coated with a whisper of tempura batter, deep-fried and presented with wedges of lime, a guacamole-like avocado salsa and a smear of very mildly flavoured wasabi aioli.
I want more of those prawns.
Duck confit arrives, perfectly well-cooked with crisp, mahogany, glazed skin covering fall-apart flesh on the thigh and drumstick. It does need some sweet components to counteract the richness of the meat but here there are just too many for good balance; a little more acid in the very sweet orange sauce wouldn’t go astray especially with the sweet potato galette and the roasted baby beetroot. Al dente broccolini brings some relief.
More successful is the piece of kingfish, steamed in a banana leaf, which imparts quite a distinctive taste to the moist and succulent flesh. It comes with a lightly dressed watermelon, Spanish onion, rocket and crunchy macadamia salad and a neat pile of crisp beer-battered chips.
The dessert list remains mainly unchanged since last time. I guess when you are on a good thing ...There’s the dark chocolate creme brulee, the apple and rhubarb crumble, lavender-scented white chocolate cheesecake, sticky date pudding and triple chocolate mousse. And there’s also a display cabinet with a range of cakes and tarts.
It’s hard to go past the mousse triplet, which is much the same as last time. Large scoops of feather-light dark, milk and white mousse almost conceal the fruity berry sauce at the bottom of the dish; and you need that to give some balance.
This place has all bases covered.
Come for lunch or dinner, but don’t forget it’s also open for breakfast.