It has been around 9 years since I last visited Bather's Pavilion (coinciding with our move from Mosman to the Eastern suburbs) and it was a friend's big birthday that brought us here to see what it was like. How had things changed? And was the food still as good?
The day is sunny and warm with a slightly elusive cool breeze in the private dining room of Bather's Pavilion. Our friend Louise is celebrating her birthday with 30 of her closest friends and family.
We are seated in the private room which has a view of the beach outside. On the tables are our menus, with a choice of one of three menu items. Three courses are $110 per person.
There sourdough isn't warmed but the little light rye rolls are. They come with salted and unsalted butter. I don't know about you Dear Reader but it's always salted butter for me.
The amuse bouche comes out and it's a nice mouthful of scallop boudin with avruga caviar.
Slow cooked pork cheek with smoked yoghurt carrot, chicken and pork stock
I ordered for Mr NQN and I while Ivy did the same for her and Ryan. I decided at the last minute to change from the tuna to the pork cheek because nobody else was ordering it and I have to say that I'm really glad that I did because this was perhaps my favourite course of the meal. The square of pork cheek melts in the mouth with a gelatinous, silky texture while the glossy chicken and pork stock is rich with flavour. On the side are smoked yogurt filled carrot towers.
Yellowfin tuna tartare with ponzu and avocado rice paper and sesame
I tried some of Ivy's yellowfin tuna tartare. It's perfectly seasoned with ponzu and sesame and served with silky avocado and crunchy deep fried rice paper crackers.
Moreton Bay bug tail with sweet corn polenta finger limes, squid ink, seaweed butter (supplement $5)
The Moreton Bay bug tail is tender in texture with sweet corn polenta, pops of finger lime, a smear of squid ink and seaweed butter. While the bug tail is good and the tartare nice, they don't quite compare to the divine pork cheek.
Slow cooked ocean trout with adzuki beans potato gnocchi, prosciutto and salmon roe nage
It was an even 50/50 split on the table for the choice of ocean trout or beef tenderloin (interestingly nobody chose the duck). Out of the two, I preferred the ocean trout. This is wrapped in nori and served with adzuki beans, tiny purple potato gnocchi, prosciutto and a delicate salmon roe nage. The salmon is cooked medium so that it is still luscious. The only thing about this sort of piece is that it doesn't get a lot of seasoning and it did need some of this.
Beef tenderloin with zucchini and braised beef cheek smoked onion and chilli purée, hazelnut crumbs
Mr NQN loved the beef tenderloin that was served with braised beef cheek (my favourite bit), smoked crispy onion, chilli puree, turned zucchini and hazelnut crumbs that resemble muesli.
Sides were buttered broccolini, snow peas, green beans and carrots as well as very good hand cut chips.
Raspberry and vanilla petits gâteaux pistachio, rose petal ice cream, strawberry jus
The petits gâteaux is three raspberry and vanilla mousse rounds with a glossy mirror icing and a centre of liquid raspberry. It is served with rose petal ice cream, pistachio cake and strawberry jus poured on top of the semi translucent sugar disc.
Passionfruit mousse with Valrhona Dulcey blond chocolate turmeric and lemon sauce, passionfruit sorbet
I liked the balance of the passionfruit mousse dessert although you want to get a bit of everything in one mouthful as some elements like the passionfruit sorbet are puckeringly tart. It's a passionfruit mousse with thin Valrhona Dulcey blond caramelised white chocolate bars with turmeric and lemon sauce.
Blueberry meringue with pomelo and cassis sorbet Prosecco jelly, lime and olive oil curd
I think everyone that ordered the blueberry meringue was very pleased with their choice. It's a blueberry meringue orb where the meringue melts in the mouth. It is served with pomelo and cassis sorbet, Prosecco jelly, lime and olive oil curd.
There are petit fours and coffee or tea along with Louise's home made birthday cake. The petit fours are financiers (or "midget muffins" according to Ivy), raspberry pâte de fruits and chocolate bon bons. By the time we bother to check the time it is 4:15pm - how time flies when you're having fun with friends.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you go for salted or unsalted butter? And when you have a meal choice, do you order different things or the same? Do you see what everyone else at the table is ordering too?
This meal was independently paid for.
4 The Esplanade, Mosman NSW 2088
Open 7 days: 7am–9:30pm
Phone: (02) 9969 5050