Beach Club @ Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Monday, 18 August 2014

Winding your way up New and Old South Head Roads, there's a vague feeling that you're traipsing to the ends of the Earth. A day excursion of sorts, with some spectacular views en route. Heartbreak Hill is nothing of the sort when you take a sweeping glance to the left. There's something special about Watsons Bay, because it is a 'visit once a year' sort of place, each occasion is special and gives out warm and fuzzy holiday vibes. This month I made the pilgrimage to Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Beach Club, a venue has been on my wish list for the longest time.

Lunch: my best impressions of a vogue living shoot! Loving the look of the concrete tabletops, functional to a T

A grand renovation saw the new and improved Watsons Bay Boutique throw open it's doors late last year, just in time for the summer season. Living by the harbour, Sydneysiders love a good outdoor venue and Watsons Bay is no slouch. With styling and interiors by Sydney company Alexander & Co., the outfit looks pretty schmick with a bold use of colour (and nautical stripes for that matter) and great attention to detail. Antiques and flowers dot almost every flat surface giving a very lived-in and comforting feel. Affording water views from inside and out, the Beach Club certainly maximises every inch of its precious real estate. The restaurant and bar occupy multiple levels for relaxed wining and dining.

Let the light in: glimpses of the harbour from one of the many window seats

Keeping it casual, orders for drink and food are placed at the bar and you take a table number. I can only imagine the kind of crowds that the Beach Club contends with during the summer months, but on the day I visited it was really quite civilised and relaxing at that. A quick getaway, if only for the day. The sheer size of the Beach Club itself is quite impressive and also caters for larger groups and conferences. The Sunset Room is also available for private hire and perfect for weddings (or miscellaneous party time). 

Interiors by Alexander & Co. perfectly encapsulate seaside chic. Now, if only we were in Byron Bay...

Executive chef John Pye has designed a menu for all ages (including big kids); featuring crowd favourites like fish & chips, the Bay burger and a dedicated kids menu. On top of that there are seasonal main courses (read: comfort food during this wintery wet spell) as well as all-day breakfast options for those of us who sleep past 10.     The direction is mostly casual and great for a long lunch followed by a luxurious beach stroll. Simple pleasures.

Crab carbonara linguine with pancetta and organic egg. This dish looked good on paper but unfortunately fell short. The sauce was far too rich ad overpowering for the delicate crab, a great shame for such a beautiful ingredient (which was rather sparse on the plate). Perhaps the addition of some sort of vegetable, like asparagus could do this dish a world of good. A bit one dimensional for me

Hot out of the oven, the rather generous serve of (Shepherd's) fish pie. Easily enough for two at lunch, this dish is the perfect winter warmer. The lovely gratinated top is just the start, with lovely large fresh chunks of fresh fish including salmon, mussels and prawn. Towards the end, I was digging for treasure, trying to retrieve each skerrick of seafood embedded in the thick layer of creamy mash. Everything I could wish for in a fish pie :)

The outdoor bar and dining area. Only for brave souls during the cold!

One couldn't help but notice there was a major shortage of pepper, also keenly felt by our neighbouring table. Only after surreptitiously going up to three or so tables and giving the pepper mills a good shake, were we able to find some. Small inconveniences like this stop me from heaping praise on this place, or perhaps I'm being fastidious. The shortcomings at lunch are more than made up for in the atmosphere, service and charms of the Beach Club. Watsons Bay Beach Club is well suited to but not limited to preppy Eastern suburbs types heading for a quiet cocktail or beer. Don't let the driving rain in Sydney (at the moment) deter you from the decent pub-style food and fun times to be had at Watsons Bay Beach Club. Keep this venue in your back pocket.

Beautiful little flower arrangements are a nice touch at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Thanks for reading!
Watsons Beach Club on Urbanspoon

Gourmand dined courtesy of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Thank you for having me!


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