So I dragged 2 friends down to Balmoral like on a few days after the turn of the year to enjoy a nice meal at Bather’s Pavilion. I had to bribe them with the offer of free food and advertise it incessantly. It annoyed me but I did it all the same.

We took a bus and decided, on a whim, to walk down from Mosman to the beach, getting a little lost along the way and taking a tour of the houses, talking crap about what color paint we’d like on our place. We passed this amazingly steep house, which had like a pulley system rail for heavy stuff. I’m amazed people bother to build houses on 60 degree inclines.

By the time we got to the beach, it was kinda gloomy-ish and about 4 or so. We were tired but sat on the sand for a bit, watching the waves crash. I love Balmoral beach. The sand is pristine white and the best bit is the beach in front of Bather’s Pav is always like kinda empty, or at least devoid of noisy kids and the regular riff-raff. I’m surprised because it’s a helluva lot more beautiful than a hundred yards to either side. I made my friends walk through Bathers so they could see the wonderful view, as they stepped out from the glass doors.

We soon get bored, it was supposed to be a day at the beach before dinner but my friends woke up like at 2pm and we hadn’t eaten anything the whole day. So at 5pm, we strolled into the cafe and resolve to settle the hunger issue. Bear in mind, we only ate at the cafe side, not the restaurant proper.

We opt for a bottle of Kanuka Sauvignon Blanc, which comes from NZ. My clever mate then starts to tell us all about the amazing Kanuka tree but we quickly realize the bastard’s reading off the label. It’s nice and clean, crisp. I’ve had like 32910392 Sauv Blancs in the past 2 months. It’s like the perfect summer drink. We also get some lemonades that were probably a little off cos the wine was already acidic and sour and crisp and clean and cool. Waste of time.

No entrees cos I ain’t that rich, so it’s a gnocchi for a friend, fish for the other and chicken for me. Followed by a shared dessert.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the gnocchi with the crisp exterior and the burnt butter and sage and whatnot. Instead, it was one swamped with a nap sauce, some prosciutto and other stuff I can’t remember. Still bloody good for a potato dumpling thingy but the crispy one was next level shizzle. I think I overhyped it though so my friend was like a little blah.

This photo of some kingfish sitting on a seafood/parsley risotto topped with some cress demonstrates the macro ability of my LX-3 perfectly. Only the photo is crap since the focus was on the cress, not the fish. Nice, clean and simple flavors going on here.

I had the Chicken Involtini with White Bean Puree, Tomatoes and Baby Zucchini. This was quite nice. The chicken was like the leg meat, boned and rolled with a pencil leek in the middle. The puree was earthy but light, slightly grainy but easy to smear all over my bits of chicken. The zucchini flower stems lent a nice bite but the crucial element was the tomato, which added some acidity and brightness.

I was most impressed by this dessert the last time I came here, so I made sure my mates had a go too. A peanut butter parfait sits on a choc brownie base and topped with a ganache. On the side, we get a nice little drizzle of spiced syrup and some superb figs. Like best of the season quality ones. You think peanut butter so you think Skippy, sludgy and thick and whatever. Look at that above, the color is off white. It’s light as. There’s a peanut butter flavor but it’s gentle and cool, cutting easily and matching well with the chocolate. It was devoured rather quickly. I had to fork off my friend trying to attack my fig portion.

All in all, the meal was a good simple (and expensive!) one. There’s a certain lovely elegance with which the food was lightly seasoned and cooked just so. No heavy hands behind the stoves. It all tasted very precise and careful. Food wise, there wasn’t too much wow, compared to some other places I’d been to but it was the steez that made the place. Not just the beautiful beach, but the whole ease of dining and the relaxed atmosphere and the awesomely chill vibe it had. Pity it’s so out of the way.

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