Like the sullen sibling, Sydney's weather can often play the role of the extra guest at a lunch. It can be moody, stormy and bring down the whole mood of the meal or it can be bright, sunny and cheerful-the most welcome guest at the table. It was with a careful watch of the weather that we planned our drive to East Coast Lounge on Chowder Bay Road in Mosman. It was a place for Mr NQN and I have lunch with my mother and my sister Blythe who usually lives overseas. Chowder Bay is named after the whalers who made chowder soup from the bay's seafood supplies.
The breeze was gentle but cooling and the sun strong but receding at times, tempered by fluffy clouds. I called that morning to see if we could book a table - we didn't want to drive all the way there only to not get a table. They are friendly and booking a table is not a problem. They ask us if we would like a table in the back room with the view and I agree quickly.
Housed in a Heritage building governed under Sydney's Harbour Trust, the East Coast Lounge is owned by sister team Christine Housego and Jennifer Barrett. The former has a finance background and takes care of the homewares and business side while the latter has a graphic design background and takes care of the food and beverage. Open for four months, their menu is mainly made up of platters of local produce and tipples.
Their entire beer and wine list is local (although champagne is by Laurent Perrier) and diners can take a seat in the main room among the items for sale or share the back room. The space was renovated at significant cost due to the heritage nature of the building. There are also restrictions as to what they can serve so that they do not impact on surrounding already established businesses like Ripples and Gunners' Barracks.
Blythe and my mother Rose take a seat by the window and peer out at the view. There's Rose Bay, Shark Island and Chowder Bay and the sunlight sparkles on the water while the breeze takes the heat out of the day. Diners can also access the lounge by water taxi at the Clifton Gardens private jetty. Once we order, I take some time to browse through the selection of items for sale. There is a carefully curated selection of designer goodies from Bison Home, Jodi Dawson of Chin Chin Trader Ceramics, Stuart Membrey Home, Bandit Queen Linen and Mrs Smiley's Lockets.
Etoile de l'Inde tea $5.50
The tea is by Brooklyn brand Bellocq Tea and I choose Etoile de l'Inde, a delicate green and jasmine blend.
Cola and lemonade spiders $6
Mr NQN and my mother choose spiders in Cola and lemonade (Parker's organics) while Blythe chooses an Allpress coffee. The spiders are a childhood drink that conjures up many memories.
Ploughman’s Plate $22
This is the first time that my mother has tried a Ploughman's platter and it's her favourite. She loves the tangy and sweet chutney with slices of glazed ham, cheddar cheese, semi dried cherry tomatoes, pickled beer onions, halved boiled eggs and toasted barley sourdough from the Bread and Butter Project. I particularly love the ham and chutney on this plate.
Classic Smoked Salmon Plate plus avocado $25
The rest of us love the smoked salmon plate with a generous amount of smoked salmon folds. These are paired with a pot of chive creme fraiche, capers, caper berries, lemon and lightly toasted rye bread. The Tasmanian salmon is butter creamy and melts in the mouth.
Charcuterie plate $25
There is a good selection of all Spanish charcuterie starting with Morcon Ahumado Picante, a thinly sliced pork salami flavoured with coriander, rum and nutmeg. There is also Longaniza Oscura or squid ink sausage, prosciutto di San Daniele, fennel salami, petite picante with spicy paprika and cecina or cured beef rump. These come with moreish green and black olives, pickled chillies and rosemary & olive oil crackers. We had also asked if we could change the cheese to a different one and that is no problem and we get a fragrant truffled pecorino cheese instead. It's hard to choose a favourite of the salamis and there is just one slice of the fennel salami but the pate with a distinct orange flavour is divinely smooth and another favoured morsel.
We enquire about dessert and there's just one on the menu today, a lemon and coconut cake made by the sisters' mother. It's a simple cake with a layer of coconut dusted icing. It is served with creme fraiche that gives it an appealing tang. Combined with the view and the breeze and nobody is in a hurry to leave.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you sometimes change plans according to the weather? Have you ever been known to cancel if the weather is inclement? And is everyone back at work today? How are you feeling?
This meal was independently paid for.
East Coast Lounge
7b Chowder Bay Road, Mosman NSW 2088
Phone:(02) 9968 1658
Tuesday & Wednesday – 10am to 5pm
Thursday to Sunday – 10am to 8pm