It had been 12yrs since I had visited Plonk! Bach Cafe in Mosman, on the Spit. If you are driving to the city from the Northern suburbs, as you cross The Spit Bridge it is the first place on the water on the left side of the bridge. 12yrs ago I photographed a wedding there, my first. It took my breath away. The location is king and while it rained at the wedding, the largest memory, besides my friends getting married, was the venue management organising a crane to lift me above the entire wedding for the group photos. I should add here I struggle on ladders being completely petrified of heights, a crane was insanity, but the pics were great haha. I headed out to lunch, after 12yrs, with two of my closest and longest friends (and a delightful partner of one of them), who were both at that long ago wedding. We dined and we wined.
PLONK! BEACH CAFE VENUE:
Attached to Ferguson’s Boatshed Marina, Plonk! Beach Cafe sits on the water of Middle Harbour. The boatshed’s slipway is on one side and you can walk direct onto the sand on the other. The sand leads to a small beach section that goes up to and partially around The Spit Bridge. A third side looks out over boats for the rich and famous, boats I cannot imagine being able to afford but the same boats I fantasise owning every single time I drive over The Spit Bridge. The venue can fully open on two sides and can be closed for a large indoor section or opened to include the outdoor seating to make one monster venue. It is perfect for families as kid’s can scoff down something more child friendly and then go and wear themselves out on the beach while the adults can sit down, take in the view, and relax with wine and decadent food.
The flooring is old wooden wharf planking, the tables are covered in white linen and the chairs are a woven cane on a metal frame. I wasn’t the largest fan of the chairs, they are quite comfortable but I sunk into it and felt too low to the table, I am a picky bastard however and none of my dining partners had similar issues.
The staff were efficient, polite, too accommodating of me and my friends and were knowledgable on the menu.
YOU CAN’T BEAT THE LOCATION:
You simply cannot beat the location. It is perfection and the location makes the venue. It is a somewhat rejuvenating experience, the salt, the sun, the food, and then the wine all combine to make you feel a hell of a lot better than when you first arrived, even if I was driven to the venue in a chauffeur driven Maserati – it was a bizarre day. You are surrounded by multi-million dollar boats and the venue somewhat matches the extravagance and expense of the area. Lunch for four came in at over $600-, admittedly my wine snob French living money bags friend did order two of the most expensive bottles of wine coming in at $195- and the four of us were cocktail freaks who had two each.Very grateful to the venue and my friends for a wonderful time. The food costs for the lunch was only $265- or about $65- each – more than acceptable for lunch on the water in Mosman. Please note there is a 10% surcharge on Sundays and Holidays.
THE MENU AND WHAT WE ORDERED:
We knocked back some wonderful cocktails and the wine was marvellous. We drank a 2014 TarraWarra Reserve Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley in VIC and then a 2013 Forest Hill Block 8 Chardonnay from Mount Barker in WA, I would happily drink them regularly.
- Seared scallops with celeriac, apple & hazelnut
- Zucchini flowers filled with goat cheese, almonds & thyme
- Salt baked salmon with grapefruit, blood orange, olive crumb & sorrel
- Prawn & scallop salad with avocado, mango & lime vinaigrette
- Marinated Spatchcock with rosemary & garlic complimented with carrot, celeriac puree & salsa rosa
- Fregula pasta with prawns, mussels, clams, squid, bugs, garlic & chilli in smoked Napolitana sauce
- The special side: Fried Brussels Sprout in Bacon and some Chilli Oil
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The seared scallops were quite mild flavoured, the celeriac apple and hazelnut accompanying sauce while delicious was felt to be too subtle and bordering on bland by one in the party, I can live off scallops so gustily inhaled mine. The zucchini flowers tasted superb but the plating wasn’t there – they were just plonked (pun intended) on a plate with no thought in presentation, a venue of this calibre demands a somewhat more elegant presentation for food.
The salt baked salmon and all other dishes that followed had exceptional presentation and the salt baked salmon was a beautiful light dish. Olive crumb is something I want more of on my dishes! It added a superb texture that worked well with the tartness from the blood orange and the soft flaky salmon. The prawn and scallop salad was a wonderful healthy seafood salad, it had no bells and whistles, it just delivered with its ingredients.
I usually loathe spatchcock – the little bones, the almost always overcooked and dry baby bird. But……the entire table loved it. Wonderfully cooked and flavoured and I would happily eat this all to myself in winter with a big glass of red while dreaming of walking out to my multi-million dollar boat. The Fregola Pasta was the highlight of the meal for me, surpassing every other dish with its wonderful flavours. All the wonderful seafood mixed with that fregula pasta and all cooked in the garlic and chilli Napolitana sauce made me groan in delight. Fregula is a Sardinian pasta that closely resembles Israeli couscous, a tiny pasta made to look like couscous – trust me – dump rice and couscous from your diet and cook only with Israeli couscous – will change your world!
To follow was the biggest seafood platter for one I have ever seen. $80- for one (although add 10% for Sunday) and $160- for two. The seafood were impressive. We all shared it and to be honest – I would share the platter for one with a partner and then share something else – like the Fregula, a perfect seafood lunch!
We also had a Brussels Sprout dish – it was a special on the day. It was fried in oil (I am certain it was a mild chilli) and bacon. It was nice but nothing special, I make the exact same thing at home regularly. But I have a thing, I will literally order any Brussels Sprout dish on a menu. Same goes with affogato for dessert.
Plonk! Beach Cafe is a perfect Northern Beaches/ Middle Harbour venue for a meal or a function. If you have a boat they also have a marvellous boat menu. The view, the location, the rich boats and the salt air do nothing but seduce you before the wonderful food and delectable drinks truly take you to town. Be careful how much you drink though or it could get expensive. I will definitely be returning for more.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 0/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
Plonk! Beach Cafe Deets:
PH: 02 9960 1007
OPENING HOURS (7 DAYS)
Breakfast (7 Days): 8 – 11am
Lunch (7 Days): 12 – 3pm
Dinner (Wed – Sat): 6pm – late
Cocktails (Thur – Sat): 3 – 6pm
Bar Menu & Boat Catering (Wed – Sat): 3 – 6pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** Spooning Australia was invited to attend this venue by Papaya PR and 50% of our meal was complimentary ***
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