Themed like a surf life saving clubhouse, this restaurant on Botany Road in Rosebery dishes up modern Australian casual food from fish tacos, spiced lamb ribs and squid ink pasta to the ubiquitous cheeseburger. It is best to leave room for dessert - one in particular is named after the classic Australian ice cream Gaytime!
Mr NQN and I were having dinner with our old friend Gravy Beard and his girlfriend Annie. Having not seen each other for a long time we're too busy catching up to even notice the menu. And during the time my phone rings. You see the Clubhouse has a slight issue with communication. The first time I rang to make a booking they cancelled on me at the last minute leaving me a slightly frantic message telling me that they aren't open on Friday nights.
This was our second attempt but when we turned up they didn't have our booking. So we took a seat in the comfortable booth corner which was far away from the crowd but we liked it that way as there was a large birthday gathering. Then 30 minutes into our arrival while all four of us are busy talking I get a call from the gentlemen just a couple of metres away at the counter asking me where I am. You see they couldn't hear me when I booked under my friend's name and instead they put his name down as "Stebbie Biaz". And his name definitely isn't Stebbie Biaz.
Service from our waitress however is very nice and personable. It's more the other staff that give it an almost anxious feel pressing us to order albeit in a friendly way. I can't really see why as the party is in full swing and showing no signs of packing it up. The concept behind Clubhouse is that it sits next to the Surf Life Saving Club on Botany Road in Rosebery. It is themed with murals and black and white photos of lifesavers past and it is an inviting space. It's a little on the noisy side with a lot of hard surfaces which is why we like sitting in the side booth away from the crowds.
We start with the tacos - there are two kinds, hard tacos filled with swordfish or soft ones filled with flathead which we go for. Flathead is such a great fish to deep fry, probably my favourite and the fish remains juicy inside the crunchy light batter. There is a delicious spicy habanero mayonnaise, salad and coriander and this is everyone's favourite dish of the night.
The spiced lamb ribs come out next and they sit on a bed of tahini yogurt with mint leaves, za'atar and a pomegranate dressing. They're luscious and come off the bone easily and the middle eastern flavours spice up the rich cut of lamb.
The pork belly cubes are sweet and crispy and we fill out cos lettuce leaves with thinly sliced cucumber and chopped spring onion. It's a nice start although they're gone in a flash.
We then order our mains and the boys want cheeseburgers while Annie and I go for a pasta and a special. My main is the squid ink linguine, a generous portion with plenty of chorizo, baby octopus with a good amount of chilli spice to it.
I can't help but touch burger buns when they come out and this one is beautifully soft. Which starts Gravy Beard about how much he dislikes brioche buns with burgers. This isn't a brioche, it's a soft milk bun filled with a pink centered beef patty with salad and a herb mayonnaise. It comes with crinkle cut sweet potato fries and is satisfying in a way that only a burger can be.
I try a little of Annie's ocean trout and it is cooked very well with a nice crispy skin yet still buttery soft inside. It comes with a saffron infused potato fondant, zucchini and carrot puree.
I know we had fries on the table (well across the table and you can bet I pinched some) but I love polenta chips, especially dusted with parmesan and flavoured with truffle and aioli. These come as cubes, slightly crispy edged and they're good little specimens.
We are full from the mains and entrees so when it comes to dessert we order one to share. When we order a Gaytime to share. It's a slab of toffee parfait and a scoop of ice cream with a sprinkling of honeycomb and a thick chocolate caramel sauce drizzled on top. And Dear Reader, I will spare you the jokes about ice cream scoops and balls! ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a regular name or is your name one that everyone has trouble spelling? And do you always touch bread or buns for softness? Okay yes that's a weird question I know... Here's a trade, feel free to ask me a weird question back! :)
789 Botany Road, Rosebery NSW 2018
Phone:(02) 9669 2828