“I feel like going for a walk, or something” says the other half one particular Sunday morning.
This usually means bussing it to Coogee Beach and walking to Bondi; that coastal trail every Sydneysider knows about. Yes it’s a nice enough 6-kilometre walk that takes in some pretty decent scenery, but when I hear cicadas chirping outside at 8.30 am I know it’s about to become a stinker.
Crowds, humidity and 35°C aren’t my friends, and the fact the trains weren’t running meant we’d be rail-bussing it home from Bondi. That’s not fun, either.
I pulled up a Google map of our area and took a close look at the Cooks River, not all that far down the Princes Highway from our neighbourhood. Seeing walking tracks along much of its length was reason enough to ditch the Coogee idea and get down to Tempe and explore a little.
The walk itself doesn’t compare to the cliffs, beaches and ocean you get on the Coogee to Bondi. Instead it’s more about views to the soulless cluster of apartments at Wolli Creek, quiet riverside paths, mangroves and shaded muddy flats.
And I was pretty chuffed to discover this is a bit of a foragers paradise. The other half was amused to see me scanning the underbrush and discovering edibles like flatweed, dandelion, sow thistle, native violet and warrigal greens.
Yep, call me a weedy nerd.
Images of a foraged salad were forming in my mind, and with lunchtime approaching, we needed to find somewhere to eat. The high density cluster of apartment buildings at Wolli Creek didn’t offer anything of interest, and buying pizza or sushi from Woolworths supermarket wasn’t an option.
Peering across the highway did remind me of the rowing club that’s within cooee of the International Airport; a club I’d once been told about and one day hoped to visit.
That day had arrived.
As with any club procedures, you need to sign in upon entry. It was at this point that I realised something – there must be one design firm that has its clutches on just about every club in Australia. How is it that they all look like they’ve come from the same mould?
Sterile atmosphere aside, the coveted spot in this establishment would have to be that sprawling outdoor terrace. Lofty views over the Cooks River, Wolli Creek apartments to the left, and the International Airport to the right. Ideal location for plane spotters.
The Regatta menu features many of the club classics like pizza & pasta, caesar salad and burgers. Perfect grub when you’re lounging about in the afternoon hours with a bottle of vino, beer and your mates or family.
From the Light Meals category, the item that sounded most appealing was the char-grilled octopus (18) with watermelon panzanella salad. In reality it was more about dry crumbly croutons, tough baby octopus, mixed leaves, feta and pickled onions. The watermelon stole the limelight on an otherwise ordinary plate of food.
There was a little more hit and miss with the crispy skin barramundi (23). The fish itself was absolute perfection; juicy, meaty and full of flavour. The promised crispy potatoes were just regular roasted chats and the braised vegetables were nothing more than boiled celery, carrots and leek.
I took the surf & turf option with the scotch fillet (29); a very decent choice as the steak was cooked to medium-rare perfection, topped with delicious grilled prawns and squirt of hollandaise. The blonde, limp chips could have done with a little more fryer time.