Every time a new restaurant opens up in Manly our friends Louise and Viggo let us know about it. And the latest opening is Manly Greenhouse. Located on the South Steyne with views of Manly Beach it is a multi level space. On top is a rooftop bar where the greenhouse theme really comes into play. The middle has a grill set to open soon and on the ground level is the Greenhouse restaurant with seating spilling outside with al fresco tables.
There are no bookings for groups less than 10 people so we take our chances and turn up at 12:15pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The chef is Colm Kennedy from Hugo's Manly and the team from Sails at Lavender Bay are behind this venue.
The site is the former Old Shore club, a place where there was a notorious incident in 2011 where a group of 20 men trashed the former club. Now it is looking lovely, lush and botanical with hanging green plants and illustrations of native plants.
The outdoor tables are all taken but there is a bit of choice with the indoor ones (but by 1:30pm people are told that there is a 1 hour wait). I nab a table while Mr NQN parks and then Louise and Viggo arrive.
The menu is double sided with drinks on one side and food on the other. The drinks are actually very reasonably priced with house highball cocktails at $12 and spritzes at $12 although beer tinnies are a bit pricier than usual. Viggo decides to go for a cocktail because they're the same price as tinnies and we order a round of cocktails because it's sunny and it's Sunday. Mine is the sgroppino slushie with lemon, vodka and processo which is pretty much cocktail heaven for me. Mr NQN gets the strawberry daiquiri with white rum and lime juice. Louise's choice is the Pineapple spritz with tio pepe, pineapple thyme syrup, prosecco and soda while dry drink lover Viggo goes for the LLB with angostura amaro, house cordial, lemon, soda and agave which is perfectly bitter.
The food arrives quickly and the first item are the polenta sleepers which are polenta chips-crispy on the outside and light on the inside with grated parmesan on top. There's a generous dollop of sour cream and chives on the side. They are fantastically tasty and the lightness sets it apart from other polenta chips. However they were very popular and Mr NQN and I only got one each so next time we'd order two serves because there aren't many per serve.
The cured meat plate has a really good selection of charcuterie with fennel salami, Pino's wagyu bresaola, San Daniele proscuitto and Morcon rum & chili salami. I enjoy them all especially as they all are quite different from each other and there is a thin and crispy wood fired bread that makes a nice accompaniment as well as enormous fat, briney Gordal Spanish olives.
The crab bruschetta comes deconstructed with a fat chunk of honey rye bread and a dollop of creamy, rich crab. The bread itself has a bitterness to it whilst I love this with a bit of chilli flakes. There are also cucumber and radish pickles to the side to balance the creamy crab.
Louise ordered the pizza bambini with ham and cheese for baby Henry but we didn't expect a full size pizza. There's mozzarella cheese and shaved ham and it's very tasty. Henry loves it too.
Louise also orders a pink lemonade which is a strawberry lemonade that is not overly sweet and just the right level of dryness.
Our mains come out afterwards and the adult's pizza is the Belgrave Cartel with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, extra hot salami and local manly honey. The pizza base is super thin and crispy without the puffy sides you see with Napoletana pizza. They use caputo flour for their pizza with a 48 hour rise and they are cooked in the wood fired oven. I'm not sure about the honey, it's not bad but I think I prefer my piccante pizzas more in the savoury territory.
The squid ink spaghettini has plenty of seafood on top from tender Hawkesbury river squid, mussels, clams with chilli, garlic and pangrattato. Louise isn't a big fan of fishy flavours and comments that it has quite a pronounced fishiness to it although for the rest of us it suits the dish.
Out of the two mains I liked the pork chop cotoletta with a crispy crunchy herb crumb and a wonderful agrodolce cabbage and raisin side. The pork is served pink inside and it tender and juicy.
They are out of Nutella soft serve (sad face!) so we go with the torta caprese, a rich chocolate cake. Usually I've had them much thicker and fudgier. This is on the dryer side but once you add the cream that helps to balance it out.
We are all much more smitten with the lemon tart creme fraiche with a silky melt in the mouth lemon curd filling and even lemon apathetic Mr NQN enjoys this enormously. Because he is perpetually hungry, his move during a meal is the wait until everyone has finished and then swoop in and finish it off. "Is everyone done?" he says hopefully before polishing off the rest of the lemon tart.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like honey on a pizza? Are you a finisher that polishes off a dish at the end? What is your favourite meal of the week - Saturday dinner? Friday drinks or Sunday lunch?
This meal was independently paid for.
36 - 38 South Steyne Manly NSW Australia
+61 2 9056 3388
Open 7 Days from 11:30am