Basin Dining, Mona Vale
Back to my hometown
I have been waiting to go to Mona Vale’s new surf club, and the Basin Dining Room since they announced the renovation. I literally grew up less than 200m from this venue in the 80s and 90s and it holds one of the places reserved in my heart for the good old days. Back then it was just a surf club with a less than exciting room you could rent for pissy 18th and 21st birthday parties, but it was an easy stumble home haha. Living in the Basin at Mona and then The Basin on Pittwater with the ranger for a few years earned me the nickname “Jason from the Basin,” which a few people still call me so a lunch at the Basin Dining Room was a given.
As luck would have it – it was also great friend Onika’s Birthday so Tjinta and I took Oni out for the day, we have known each other for over 40yrs so it’s like dining with family.
Mona Vale Surf Club now sets the standard in surf club design, I have included the architects design video upon completion down the bottom of the article. It’s worth a one minute viewing.
Designed by Warren and Mahoney in collaboration with Pittwater Council and some wealthy investors they created a design that sits harmonious with the surrounds, it is simplistic yet the ultimate in modernity. Big spaces, lots of wood and glass, and plenty of shade to enjoy the area.
The place is one of those spaces you imagine rich people live in Hollywood movies, a modern thriller should be set here and I am sure it will be the backdrop on a film and many commercials soon.
The restaurant is set at one end upstairs and it is wonderful beach chic, continuing the sand inside with the paintwork, more wood and designer lights. One thing that was noticeable was the even with the entire outside open, there wasn’t a breeze indoors, this surprised me.
The one downside of this surf club being so good, is you have to park a hefty walk away to get to the venue, the carpark was at capacity being such an epic day and there was a literal queue of cars – it was the busiest I have seen Mona Vale Beach since the 70s.
Basing Dining Room is owned by Northern Beaches food powerhouse couple, chef Doug Fraser and his restaurateur wife Kylie Fraser (owners of Newport’s Lovat). They have scored big-time with the Basin – it will put their name in international lights.
The waitstaff, the sommelier, and everyone else was perfect. Sometimes even too perfect, they cleared every bowl as soon as it was empty and tried to take Tjint’s not-yet finished Gin and Tonic three times. Haha
I loved the staff, one girl asked me for a job of sorts, she loved that I was taking shots and I left a stack of cards, anyway I can work with them and I am there.
The sommelier recommended some great wines and gave us this beautiful moscato to end the meal with – it tasted of apricots and I was blissing out at this stage haha
If don’t want to go high tootin’ big spending splendid lunch you can always eat downstairs, the cafe looks marvellous and I wish I was still in my hot-bod tanning phase of my life, hanging with all my hotter-bod wetsuit clad surfing mates, coming to a cafe like this shirtless without a care in the world would have been just epic!
What we ordered…
Kingfish marinated in lemon, betel leaf, coconut, chilli & tamarind paste
Duck liver parfait, port jelly & toasted brioche
Baked scallops in chilli/kombu butter
Clam chowder – light and creamy dashi broth, potato, bacon & chives
Grilled salmon, confit potato, shaved fennel, salmon roe with kombu broth
Steamed hapuka with ginger, bok choi & soy broth
Free-range pork loin, agrodolce, salsa verde, preserved lemon & roasted witlof
Olive oil sorbet & aged balsamic
Individual basque cheesecake with locally made marmalade
The food was nothing short of sublime, friends of mine who I regularly dine with told me before I went, “it’s better than Pilu!” A stalwart of Northern Beaches food Pilu is one of the standard setters for fine dining on the beaches, I agree it is as good as Pilu, it is around the same level but for one thing….
Now I assume they are waiting on ordered plates but currently they are using Anko plates, and some glassware which is the KMart brand, now I am not a snob, well, maybe a little, but this shocked me. Tjint was saying she bought the glasses for Christmas presents and I was “nope.” Then I lifted a plate haha. That being said, they are perfectly fine tableware and I assume breakages wouldn’t stress them out.
Now the dishes, the first three on my list are starters and ordered together are a great way to sample the food. They make the single best scallops of all time, no word of a lie, I could have just sat there and ordered 20 of these. And the duck liver parfait, is not only a taste sensation, but a work of art.
I had to try their clam chowder, I love chowder so much and am having my own chowder tonight haha. It was wonderfully creamy but not the best dish to photograph!
For the mains I had the pork and it didn’t light my tastebuds on fire, the pork was perfectly cooked but the sauce didn’t do it for me, this is purely based on my tastes. Oni and Tj were onto winners, Tjint’s Hapuka was my fave main, then the salmon, then mine.
In regards to the desserts the cheesecake is the best thing I have eaten so far this year, it made my toes curl and I may have gotten hot and bothered – it is an EPIC phenomenon. And the sorbet was so impressive, I am literally returning for more of that cheesecake!!
Jason from the Basin has another Basin to add to his collection, with the Basin Dining room setting the culinary scores high for 2023. It is a wonder of the Northern Beaches. I wish to live there now. And I am now in a relationship with their cheesecake.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 0/1 bonus
*** Spooning Australia was invited, with thanks, by the venue ***
All photographs are Copyright by Spooning Australia and Jason King – please feel free to share with full credit provided.
Basin Dining Deets
+61 2 8924 4289
1 Surfview Rd, Mona Vale NSW 2103
Medium to High – we spent $500- for 3 people – but we did drink wine and cocktails. Most expensive dish is $69-
Open Wednesday to Sunday – Lunch and Dinner
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Yes – limited
If they are quiet haha
Full Licensed Only