This iconic Sydney restaurant is the perfect place to drink in those stunning water views – with a glass in one hand and a fork in the other
THE BISTRO, MANLY PAVILION: REVIEWED BY ANTHONY HUCKSTEP
THERE are few better things to do than catch a ferry across Sydney Harbour to Manly during the day. Skimming across the glistening blue is a breathtaking reminder of just how good we have it. And with the re-born Manly Pavilion awaiting your arrival, it’s as good a reason as any to take the ride.
Owned by the Miramare Group, the heritage-listed pavilion was originally built in 1933 to give locals somewhere to slip into their bathers. Now locals are whetting their appetite in the bar, enjoying long, languid lunches or watching the water while eating dinner at The Bistro. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame panoramic views, while an alfresco balcony wraps around the goldfish bowl restaurant. Inside, the fit-out of polished concrete floors, banquettes, bistro chairs and hanging plants provides a smart-casual feel.
Service is swift and sincere, and the affordable wine list is clearly designed to get you bending the arm. Tuscan-born chef Andrea Corsi (Cala Luna) resists the urge to overcomplicate things as he bridges the gap of classic Italian and modern Australian. There’s a vongole linguine made rich with bottarga.
Just make sure you order the gnudi. The light spinach and ricotta dumplings arrive in a puddle of tomato veloute with basil leaves on top. It’s simply delightful.
Braised octopus tentacles wade in a cherry tomato, chilli and caper stew, and though the chef forgot to add potato, it doesn’t need them. Roasted eggplant is supported by pomegranate, mint and burnt butter labne. A veal Milanese with fries is brought to life with a squeeze of lemon, though I can give the capsicum and tomato relish a miss.
Corsi’s ‘Manly Pav’ – meringue, champagne cream, raspberries and passionfruit curd – is refined, yet satisfying, a little like The Bistro itself.