If you're looking for a Sydney staycation and beachside outdoor restaurant then head to the refurbished Crowne Plaza Coogee for a suite stay and then dinner at Estate restaurant downstairs. Estate has a menu with a range of delicious seafood and cocktails and a gorgeous beachfront view.
We recently had a relaxing staycation at Crowne Plaza Coogee staying in one of their corner king suites and waking up to this view every day. The room is simply outfitted with a king bed, desk and lounge and the hotel has had a recent refurbishment which is mostly seen in their bathrooms. The toiletries are by Antipodes and are in bulk size to reduce the impact on the environment.
Breakfast is usually downstairs at Shutters but as our stay was just before Christmas and COVID was at its peak and Shutters is indoor seating only we opted for breakfast in the room which was served in takeaway boxes. The avocado toast is half an avocado topped with Everything Bagel seasoning and two poached eggs and I asked for some smoked salmon and hash browns on the side. Mr NQN has a stack of pancakes with maple syrup and berry compote (although the compote was forgotten but quickly rectified when I called downstairs).
The location is perfect for a summer getaway and although we live just 8 minutes away it's great staying so close to the beach. We would wander downstairs where Coogee Beach and Wiley's Baths lay just in front of the hotel and just enjoy the sunshine - we were blessed with a sunny weekend with only a bit of summer rain. And within the Crowne Plaza there's Confessional, a private karaoke hide-away in the hotel should the urge to sing arise.
One night we ate at Estate, the hotel's main restaurant on the ground floor. As there has been a bit of rain there is a whole section that has been closed off which is a shame as it is a really cute area with a caravan serving drinks and lots of tables. There are still outdoor undercover tables though as well as plenty of seating inside. Service can be a bit of a mixed bag. The woman who showed us to an outdoor table is a quite brusque telling us that we'll have to move if a bigger group arrives (which given the very large restaurant and quietish Sunday night sounds like an empty threat) but the rest of the staff are really lovely and helpful. I know what to order as I've also had a good look at the menu and friends have also made some recommendations.
We start with two drinks, both mocktails as we've been having champagne in our suite upstairs. Eldermocktail with elderflower grapefuit and lemon and Guava Sour with guava juice, egg white, lemon and orange bitters. I love the floral and fragrant elderflower mocktail while Mr NQN loves the zesty fruitiness of the guava mocktail.
I went a bit raw seafood heavy but it was a warm night and it felt right given the oceanfront setting. The salmon sashimi has slices of raw salmon with avocado slices, finely diced cucumber, lime dressing, pickled ginger and everything bagel seasoning and a lime dressing. First of all pickled ginger on everything please and there's a nice crunch to this. The diced cucumber is nice but a little hard to get on the fork and in every bite.
The hiramasa kingfish comes as nice cubes of raw kingfish with coconut ranch dressing and dill pickles. I usually love coconut in everything but the coconut ranch gives it a slightly unusual taste that reminds me of bananas of all things and bananas and kingfish aren't the ideal combination. It comes with a blue corn tortilla deep fried until crisp.
My favourite out of the raw dishes is the spicy yellowfin tuna tartare. Also served as cubes it has puffed sushi rice cracker, pickled daikon cubes for a bit of extra crunch and a Creole spice mix which is rich and spicy. I could have happily eaten the whole thing myself.
I know, who orders Hawaiian sweet butter rolls with their sashimi? Me! And I'm so glad that we did. These Hawaiian bread rolls are sweet, hot and toasted and come with a generous side of seaweed butter on the side. These are baked in house and are simply glorious with a sweet coconut topping and a soft, downy milk bread style bun. These are a 10 out of 10 must order.
Another must order are also adorable and delicious Moreton Bay Bug Rolls. The bread rolls are soft so they have a lot of give in each bite so it isn't as bready as it looks. The Moreton bay bug meat is super tender and seasoned with a yuzu mayonnaise and sprinkled with chives. This is a simple but delicious treatment of Moreton Bay bugs.
There is a more substantial menu based on larger seafood dishes, steak and pork belly but we really prefer smaller tasty plates. There are five tacos available and although friends recommended the fish tacos they're made of barramundi which I am allergic to. Instead we go with the Philly Cheese Steak tacos. They're well priced-tacos in restaurants here tend to be well above $10 per taco so quite honestly I wasn't expecting much but these are like more pulled beef (rather than sliced beef) with capsicum, onions and a cheese sauce. There's plenty of filling and a corn tortillas.
We are both really full so when it comes to dessert we decide to split one. The Violet Crumble has been on the menu since day one as it's so popular. It's a dark chocolate brownie with a quenelle of violet ice cream and nitro salted honeycomb served at the table. The brownie is nice although it gets quite hard once it has the nitro honeycomb added on top but it's the violet ice cream that steals my heart. It's hard to find violet flavoured desserts here but this is pitched just right with enough violet so that you can taste it but not too much so that it tastes too soapy.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you order smaller snacky plates or do you prefer ordering three courses?
Crowne Plaza Coogee
242 Arden St, Coogee NSW 2034
(02) 9315 7600
Estate Coogee Beach
Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach
Crn Arden and, Carr St, Coogee NSW 2034
Wednesday to Saturday 4–11pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday