The sun was shining, the mother-in-law was in town, we all needed was somewhere to eat – so how about we hit the coast and dive into the epically-sized Coogee Pavilion.
We’d been here once before for a bit of a pit stop/rehydration session – sitting on the Rooftop bar looking all disheveled and sweaty amongst the manicured socialites, after doing the Bondi to Coogee walk.
This time ’round we were parked downstairs in the sprawling restaurant, a small table with what felt like a couple of hundred other diners.
Man, talk about colossal a space. What they’ve done to the old Beach Palace is nothing short of impressive and it sure attracts the locals, and tourists, alike.
The interior is stripped back far enough to make it industrial-coastal-Sydney chic. Toss in a gelato bar, coffee booth, flower stand, wood-fire pizza ovens and a bunch of other things and you’ve got a little something for anyone.
A Mediterranean menu fits the vibe perfectly – seafood, Neapolitan-style pizza, grilled meats a heap of salads – even some very decent options for the little tackers.
For us, aside from cold beers and vino, it started with a plate of delectable burrata (17) served up with juicy nectarine, some honey and thyme. Magic combo that none of us wanted to end.
Seafood-wise, a petite-sized portion of grilled sardines (21) are butterflied and ready to scoff. They’re topped with a tasty jumble of celery heart, capers and chunky sourdough croutons.
Some rather enormous Skull Island prawns (27) not only smelled insanely good, but they were grilled to juicy perfection. White soy, a bit of oil, lemon and they were good to go.
Fresh from the wood-fire oven is this impressive calzone (23) specimen. It’s filled with light and fluffy ricotta, salami, some olives and fragrant basil. Man, what a ripper. Mr pizza man (or men) over at the ovens know their Neapolitans.
I chose the grilled asado short ribs (31) purely because they came with native greens. Warrigal greens, to be precise, which happened to be the star of the dish. The meat would make any well-done steak lover happy, it was chewy, gristly and needed a good seasoning courtesy of those retro salt & pepper shakers on the table. I’m not sure where the promised dried mushrooms came into the picture, but I’m wondering if they would have made much of a difference.
Some pizza cooks turn into Nazi’s when you request a change to one of their wood-fired creations, so we asked if we could have a tomato base on one of the pizzas. It looks like the pizza guys aren’t as rigid here and happily allowed the alteration.
The beautifully bubbled and chewy crust on this summer special (24) surrounds tasty bits like friarielli (broccoli rabe), gorgonzola, some fiery n’duja and fior di latte. Perfection, in my eyes, and thin & crispy crust pizza fans need not apply.