The view from the outdoor dining area at Manly Pavilion is stunning and the perfect way to enjoy a relaxed Sunday lunch by the beach. Though we're not seated outside this time, we're still able to see a gorgeous view of the water and the coastline through the large glass windows and doors around the room. While the restaurant is situated right next to the beach, it's quite an upmarket place with no shorts or thongs in sight.
We start with some complimentary bread with some olive oil while we peruse the menu. While the menu fits on a single page, there are so many dishes that we want to try that we take forever to decide. There is also the option of having a 5 course tasting menu for $98pp, but in the end we settle on selecting our own dishes from the a la carte menu.
Scampi, celery ragu and bagna cauda - $29
If I see scallops or scampi on the menu, there is a 90% chance I'll order it. So when I saw scampi as the first item in the entree section, I knew for sure that I had to get it. Though there were only two scampi and it was relatively pricey compared to the other entrees, it was worth every penny. The scampi were gently cooked but remained sweet and almost raw on the inside, yet with a subtle charred flavour on the surface. It's probably the best scampi dish I've ever had and now I'll be comparing all other scampi to this one!
Crisp pig's tail toasted bread and radish salad - $24
As reluctant as I was to part with my scampi, I was curious to try Sir D's entree, especially the crisp pig's tail. This was a very light dish, with a nice contrast between the crunchy bread pieces and radishes and the small, tender chunks of pork scattered throughout the salad.
Pepper risotto: Acquerello Carnaroli rice, sage and Taleggio cheese - $22/$26
We both selected mains from the pasta section of the menu. My original selection, the pea and ricotta gnocchi, was evidently a popular choice since they had unfortunately run out. I settled with the pepper risotto which had a 30 minute cooking time. It certainly isn't the prettiest dish to look at but it was packed with flavour. The risotto was tangy from the lemon zest and from the pepper, and I loved the little globs of Taleggio cheese melted into the rice which added a subtle creaminess. The rice itself was perfectly cooked and not gluggy at all, although after a while the dish started to get a little heavy.
Pappardelle, wild boar ragu and mascarpone - $22/$26
As soon as Sir D's pappardelle was placed in front of him I had food envy - it smelled wonderful! I couldn't even wait to plate swap and had to try a bit of the wild boar ragu which was meaty but not gamey at all, instead it had a lovely rich tomato flavour. The pappardelle was a little too large for my liking and this made it a bit difficult to eat, but the flavours in this dish were amazing and I can definitely see why it made Terry Durack's top 10 dishes of 2010.
Chocolate, peanut caramel ice cream sandwich - $14
Having checked out the dessert menu online prior to the lunch, I made sure I saved room for dessert since I had my eye on the ice cream sandwich. This was a dessert that had me literally swooning at the table and scraping every last bit of cookie crumb and caramel off the plate to not waste anything! The combination of the vanilla ice cream, the peanut caramel and the fudgey chocolate sauce was heaven and I would not hesistate to order this again. If only I could grab the recipe of the peanut caramel sauce so I could make it at home and eat it by the spoonful!
Blood orange, sorbet, curd, jelly - $14
Being a citrus lover, Sir D ordered the blood orange dessert which was a tribute to all things blood orange. The jelly was even in the shape of a slice of blood orange with a little piece of candied rind to replicate the orange skin. The curd was cut into a small square and was packed full of orange flavour. My favourite would have to be the sorbet which was so light and refreshing, and a great way to cleanse the palate.
Petit fours: (L-R) marshmallows, almond tuiles, rosewater gummies
We thought that was it but just as we asked for the bill we were also presented with a small plate of petit fours including marshmallows, almond tuiles and rosewater gummies. These were a pleasant surprise and though I was full already, I was quite happy to sink my teeth into the pillowy marshmallows, nibble on the tuiles and chew on the gummies. It was close to 4pm by the time we left but the place was still packed with lots of people sitting in the bar area having afternoon drinks by the beach. We went out on the deck to admire the view one last time before heading home.
Manly NSW 2095
Ph: +61 2 9949 9011
Open Tuesday to Sunday, lunch and dinner
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