Manly Pavilion, Manly

http://www.manlypier.com

west esplanade, manly cove

We’re continuing a bit of an Italian theme of late. Not sure what has brought this on. I think Italian is always an easy choice when you’ve had your fill of French bistros….. But it’s been good rediscovering decent pasta.

We had found ourselves in Manly on a Friday night. We’re living in Cremorne and have come the conclusion, that if you’re in Sydney, you might as well live by the water. Sydney is about a lifestyle and if you’re not trying to live it then what’s the point? So here we are by the water on an autumn night and it’s easy to see the appeal of Sydney once again. And if you’re in Manly you might as well go to Manily Pavilion. As nice a place Manly is, it’s not exactly a restaurant mecca, beside the Pavilion.

I’d been here before, for a daytime party and the appeal of the restaurant is as much about the view as it is the food, so take away one of the selling points and what’s it like as a restaurant?

Pretty good. The atmosphere is not buzzy, but seductive and nicely romantic. It’s easy to get settled in.

We start with some decent sourdough, that’s chewy and requires a bit of effort with a decent olive oil.

We aim for a pretty light meal, so it’s easy on the ordering.

I start with bucatini, pancetta, tomato, chilli and parsley

It’s a classic pasta combination, normally suited to Sunday nights in front of the TV, but if it works, then it works. It is pretty fine; velvety smooth, spikey and rich. No overpowering tomato, just great textural pasta. It’s a shame it has to end.

On to mains and Vanessa orders the curious sounding – Pepper risotto: Acquerello Carnaroli rice, sage and Taleggio cheese

It’s a new preparation on me. I was reluctant to order it, thinking that a dish with pepper as a primary ingredient is asking for trouble. But the balance is well judged. The pepper provides the heat and edge to the dish, with the cheese comforting. At it’s heart though is a thoroughly decent and soupy risotto, which the ingredients add to.

Ignoring the lure of steak I opt for deboned river trout, green beans and hazelnut vinaigrette

It’s a sizeable serving, perfectly cooked with the trout medium rare. The trout is delightful, sweet and nutty. It dovetails perfectly with the hazelnuts and beans. Not a dish with any subtlety, but it tastes great. Impossible to finish thought.

We decided to sneak in a few desserts, opting for the old-school going with ice cream. We inadvertently order two similar plates – Salted caramel ice cream & chocolate sauce

Vanilla & walnut ice cream

Good, fine flavours. Love a bit of salted caramel. The accompanying chocolate sauce gets drenched over both dishes. It’s hard to resist.

We finish with some always hard to resist petit-fours. A good selection.

Manly Pavilion was well worth the return trip. Good, big flavoured Italian cooking, with the basics done well. A nicely ‘coupley’ evening with decent views (in front and out the window….). It’s the kind of restaurant you expect a substantial bill, but it’s possible to eat here without breaking the bank. It will be an easy decision to go back once more.

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