While we were in Sydney last month we decided to head out to Manly. We had no idea how to get there but after a bit of research decided on a ferry. Fortunately we are staying at the Four Points by Sheraton on Darling Harbour and it is super close the ferries – probably about a five minute walk.
We headed down at around 11am to buy our ferry tickets. We had no idea what ticket to buy so ask the friendly staff at the ferry kiosk who advised us to buy the all day pass. Since I am a senior I got away with only paying the bargain price of $2.50 for my day pass. Paula on the other hand had to pay $20. A massive difference but I’m not complaining.
We didn’t have too long a wait for the ferry which took us first to Circular Quay where we had to change ferries. The ferry trip from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay would have to be one of the best ferry rides for getting fantastic shots of the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and the Opera House. You really won’t get any better. It took about 20 minutes trip and is well worth it.
When we got off the ferry at Circular Quay we headed straight to the next pier to catch the ferry to Manly. This took about 30 minutes.
Once off the ferry we headed up to the Manly Pavilion which is a restaurant that we heard about on the Masterchef Australia tv show. Fortunately we were able to get in for lunch without a booking. The restaurant is quite hidden – you wouldn’t know it was there unless you actually walk right up to the door. In fact we were heading towards the aquarium thinking the restaurant had to be in that direction, but turned back to the pier as there were no signs or any indication of where the restaurant is. We enquired at the information booth and we told that it is behind the aquarium. It is upstairs and the front door is quite inconspicuous. And even when we walked upstairs and entered the restaurant we thought they were closed as all the tables were empty. It wasn’t until one of the staff noticed us and took us through to the main dining area that we noticed other patrons sitting eating.
We were seated by a window overlooking Sydney Harbour – a fantastic view but unfortunately the day was a bit bleak and wet but still it was a perfect place to be seated.
The restaurant is nicely appointed and the staff are friendly and obliging. The ambience is welcoming and the music pleasant and unobtrusive. We felt very comfortable.
We were no sooner seated when the waiter appeared asking us if we would like mineral or still water. We opted for still water and realised when the water actually arrived in a bottle that it meant we would have to pay for it. I have to say I do begrudge paying for water.
Next came another waitress with a basket of bread – both brown and white as well as a small dish containing the most exquisitely tasting olive oil. We liked that oil so much we ended up walking out of there with a $50 bottle of it. We dipped our bread in it and sprinkled pink salt on top and it was delicious.
We both ordered the Milk Fed Suffolk Lamb with Onions and Horseradish Custard for $38 each and a side order of Roast Chat Potatoes with Provencal Sauce for $12 to share.
The lamb was tender and tasty and although we thoroughly enjoyed it, it didn’t have any sort of wow factor for us.
We had some olive oil and since we had plenty of chat potatoes we ended up dipping them in the oil and sprinkling them with salt. That was an amazing flavour as the chat potatoes were perfectly cooked – soft and fluffy on the inside and crisp and tasty on the outside.
We weren’t going to have dessert but finally succumbed. And I am so glad we did.
Paula ordered the Amaretti Biscuit Almond Custard with Ginger Ice Cream for $12. I was tossing up whether to take the safer option and go with the Chocolate Peanut Caramel Ice Cream or the more adventurous (for me) Rhubarb Curd Meringue and Yoghurt for $14 each. I went with the Rhubarb Curd and I’m so glad I did. This dessert was oh so deliciously tasty, as was Paula’s. The flavours of both desserts was amazing. The rhubarb was mild and not overpowering like you normally expect from rhubarb and the yoghurt and meringue just made this dessert. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
I tried some of Paula’s ginger ice cream dessert and fell in love with the flavour. It was just delicious.
We finished with a cup each of green tea which was smooth and refreshing.
All in all, we had such a nice time sitting, eating and chatting while watching the ferries come and go – it was a shame when it came to an end. The staff were friendly, and sincerely so. We actually felt like they were happy to talk to us and not just because it was their job to do so. And they were extremely attentive but not overly so.
We will happily come back here again on our next visit to Sydney.
Some Photos of our day:
Manly Pavilion is now open at West Esplanade, Manly Cove.
- Open Tuesday to Thursday 12-10pm
- Friday and Saturday 12pm-12am and Sunday 12-10pm.
- For bookings, call (02) 9450 2000.
NOTE: This wonderful restaurant has closed last time we were there. It has had a refit since we were last there in 2011, and it reopened again in 2016.
I just checked the menu and they don’t have that awesome Rhubarb Foam on the menu, will just have to try one of the other amazing desserts on offer.