The girls food and booze tour of Manly
Idea: Grab the girls and do a foodie/ drinking tour of Manly
Making sure to steer well clear of places like The Steyne and similar venues, the girls were rounded up and off we went to Manly. We went on Sunday, a day that started out amazingly hot and sunny by the water, turning into a slightly cooler and rainy night by the time we had settled into a darker bar.
Manly Wharf Hotel
Miss Marleys (scratched due to it being closed. Another time it will have to be!)
Artichoke Gallery Cafe
Frankie’s Number (added upon my discovery of the bar)
Izumi (a last minute addition to fulfill our Japanese fuelled late night hunger)
I thought it would be a good idea to start at the Manly Wharf Hotel Pier bar. When it’s a beautiful day you don’t want to be stuck in a dark venue with no view. We had the view, we had the lovely breeze and we had the sunshine (as well as shaded options for when it really got just too hot and sunburny). Waiting for the rest of the girls to turn up, one with baby in tow, we ordered a bottle of Sauvognon Blanc. I can’t remember which company it was, but it wasn’t really that important. It was chilled. It was refreshing. And it was a white wine. It was the perfect place to catch up with friends over a drink or two. We decided it was too early on to start the eating yet, but I’ve ordered the garlic prawn with spanish onion and chilli pizza here before and I can safely recommend it. They come served on wooden cute boards with handles, thin crust, and enough chilli to satisfy. Another benefit of this part of the Manly Wharf Hotel, (which I always enjoy on a Sunday afternoon), is that it can easily fit a pram without annoying anyone. Something I had never realised before.
After all the girls (and baby) had arrived and wine had disappeared, we decided to head to our next stop: 4 Pines. It was across the road. Very convenient. By this time, we needed some food. It was around 2pm. (We had started our “Manly Tour” at midday after all). We chose to limit ourselves to the “Peckish” section of the menu, so that we could still fit in food later on. We ordered the Ploughman’s Platter (cold cuts, vintage cheddar, preserves and farm style bread), Arancini Balls (filled with mozzarella and herbs), Margarita Pizza and Chunks (4Pines beer battered chunky chips.) The Chunks were just as my friend who suggested them had remembered. They were fat, hand cut, crunchy and very tasty chips that came with a tomato, bbq and some aoli sort of sauce.
The Margarita Pizza (although I usually hate them because they’re just so boring) was surprisingly tasty. It had some Spanish onion and herbs on it, as well as some fresh tomatoes, which lifted it from just cheese on dough, to something else. I also quite liked the board with long handle that it was served on (similar to the serving implement at the Manly Wharf Hotel).
The Ploughman’s Platter didn’t really do that much for me or anyone else. The cheeses were fine. The cold meats were fine. The damper like bread wasn’t the best (a denser, brown bread would be better), and overall the effect wasn’t the best. But it wasn’t bad.
The Arancini Balls were also fine. Not the best I’ve had, but we did eat them all (although we did have to wait a while for our food and were quite hungry by this point). I think implementing a numbering system, rather than the “table with the baby” might be a good idea. Just making a suggestion…
I have heard that the mussels are quite good, so I’ll have to try them another time. They weren’t on the “Peckish Menu.” However, it is the beer that most people go to 4 Pines for, seeing as it is a micro brewery. I tried out the 4 Pines Pale Ale, which went down nicely with the food. It was a deep ruby colour with “full bodied malty flavours with a tight and bitter finish.” It also had notes of Grapefruit. Not a light Ale, but one with a bit more body to it. A good idea is to try out the Seasonal or Special beer they have going when you visit, or try out the smaller sample sizes of a few of the beers served in a cute wooden Harbour Bridge looking holder.
Sans baby, we decided it was time to head to a bar. Walking down the Corso we chose the Shore Club on the Manly Beachfront. The Shore Club is a place that I always avoid on a Friday or Saturday night (unless you’re into that slightly trashy crowd that doesn’t think they are. I’m not saying that you necessarily are if you go there, so need to get all cranky on me, it’s just a likely possibility. That’s all I’m saying). I was thinking that it would be harmless enough on a Sunday afternoon. Sure enough it was. They also have bands in the afternoons. Unfortunately they have moved the comfy, low bench like seating at the front and have replaced it with high stools and tiny high tables. Obviously wanting to please the late-night party crowd that the day or afternoon one.
We decided to have a quick cocktail, while getting some serious people watching in. Manly was absolutely packed. There were tourists and locals everywhere. Well, it was a beautiful hot Summer day after all, even at 3.30pm is was still very very hot. We were in the mood for refreshing, fruity cocktails (without being too sickly sweet). I ordered the Watermelon & Mint Martini (Smirnoff vodka, sugar syrup, watermelon and mint), which tasted like… well… watermelon and alcohol. I was in the mood for a fairly straight forward cocktail at this point, so I didn’t mind.
One of my friends wanted the Passionfruit Martini, but being out of passionfruit (quite a vital ingredient), went with the French Martini (Vodka, Chambord & Pineapple Juice). This was also fine. The Caprioska was far too sweet for my other friend’s liking. Overall, all cocktails were drinkable (which I can’t say about every bar in Sydney), but nothing memorable. The deck upstairs (the more intimate one) is also a nice spot to watch the sun set, but overall Shore Club still isn’t a place that I’m ever going to frequent often, even living just up the road.
Next up, a place that I knew I’d still like: Manly Wine. Part of the Gazebo chain, Manly Wine has the quirky, kitschy decorations that the others have. Hanging stuffed peacocks, live plants growing out of the walls, zebra cushion covers, lots of melted candle wax and other bits and pieces. My friends who had never been there before were instantly impressed. It remained one of their favourites from the whole night. The wax from the candles alone, sitting right next to us, being enough to entertain anyone. Everyone who walked past them felt the need to give them a bit of a touch up. To see if they were real wax I’m guessing? We may have also done this…
The Pimms Cocktail in a jug immediately caught our attention on the menu, being the Pimms lovers that we are. It had all the proper trimmings. Fresh pieces of cucumber, mint, strawberries, lemon and more. Yum! It was delicious and tasty at the same time. This was one of our favourite drinks from the whole night. We decided that the only sensible thing to do would be to order two jugs.
Although you do need an expert pour-er to do this (otherwise all of the fruit and trimmings will go all over your table). Luckily, we had one at hand! Way to go B!
After we had done “our quota” of drinks per venue, something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. It was another table full of girls with cocktails with real roses sticking out of them. I immediately had drink envy. After a little bit of pouting, one of my friend’s retrieved one of these beverages from the friendly bar staff. Ah I love my friends! This is why a good pout can get you a long way, even amongst female friends. It was a champagne based cocktail with some rose liquor in it. Although it tasted a little bit funny with a Pimms taste in your mouth, it was a sparkly, refreshing, tasty cocktail. We decided that it was the perfect drink to buy for a date. Cheesy: Yes. Tasty: yes. Destined to get your girl happy: Yes. Judging by the number of girls around us with this cocktail, you could tell it was a big hit. And then you can play with the rose all night, or even place it in your hair…
|Blurry shot of the bar (although I was feeling slightly blurry by then too…)|
After two bars in a row, we needed some more refueling. I had Jah Bar in mind for this. Some tapas and sangria sounded like a good plan. The sangria was good with large pieces of fruit and quite a dark colour (a lot of red wine).
We ordered the Tasting plate; Spanish morcon, jamon serrano, boquerones, roast capsicum, almonds and manchego cheese and the Potatas Bravas; baby new potatos topped with spicy tomato sauce.
The Jamon Serrano and manchego cheese were extremely delicious on the tasting plate, however the potatoes were our favourite. Soft in the middle and crunchy skins on the outside with a spicy tomato-ey sauce. The weather had just started to change, it was getting much later in the afternoon and big raindrops began to fall from the sky suddenly. This was a nice little snack to warm us up. I would highly recommend Jah Bar. It has great food, great drinks and a really nice vibe, whether in the outside area in the front of back, or in the narrow corridor style bar in the middle.
I decided to add Artichoke Gallery Cafe to the itinerary. This is because we always enjoy it and it’s still a little bit of a Manly secret spot. There is always great chilled out music, this time it was a jazzy style band, and it was also jam night. Artichoke Gallery Cafe is an art gallery upstairs that offers life drawing classes and downstairs is a cafe/restaurant/ great place to listen to music. I love the Artichoke Stir-fry and the Chicken Green Curry. But this time, we were only allowed to continue our grazing style dinner. We ordered another jug of sangria (this time smaller pieces of fruit, and a lighter colour than the previous jug), some piping hot edaname and grilled capsicum and haloumi.
Both snacks hit the spot.We stayed for the music and enjoyed the artworks around us. We were feeling quite full by this point.
We decided another bar might be a good idea. We were going to go to Miss Marley’s, but it was closed. After climbing over a bit of tree in what was now pouring rain, we started to walk to In Situ, when a bar I’d never heard of came into view. It was right net door to In Situ. It was: Frankie’s Number. I liked the name of the bar, it looked like it had a good crowd in it and I liked the decor, which wasn’t trying too hard. Comfy, vinategy looking chairs and a few interesting features.
One of the girls was in the mood for a nice glass of red wine by this stage (as you can tell by the thirsty fingers in the photo). Which red wine? No one can quite remember, but she did like it. And that’s what’s important.
The other two of us (all that had survived on our tour by this point in the night), decided on the Punch and Frankie (Pimms with blueberrys, lemon slices, blood orange, cucumber, topped up with ginger beer.) This was a GOOD cocktail! Although lacking in blueberries, and having a glace cherry instead (eww), this was a great cocktail that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Sitting at the bar, we had a bit of a chat to the others at the bar and the bartender, which is always nice to do. And watching the bartender make cocktails is a hobby of mine.
The guys sitting to the left of me were drinking Manly Beer, which I’ve never heard of before. After trying it out, I thought it wasn’t bad, and though that it was something that tourists would love to order.
My friend’s decided to pick on the punctuation in the menu, and mention the fact that it’s a piece of paper with no prices on it (all valid points). We decided after them “patronising” (their words not mine) the bartender, whilst I made a trip to the ladies, that it may be a good time to go. I just thought it quite funny. Despite this, I really liked Frankie’s Number, and decided that I’ll add it to my regular drinking venues list.
|The Menu (with additions from the girls)…|
By this point we thought we would call it a night. However, right at this time we happened to walk past the Japanese Restaurant: Izumi. BIG mistake. This is because we are all Japanese food freaks and all want to go live there. The gyoza and udon were calling to us! We had to go in. At this point, we lost another one of the girls, who after almost 11 solid hours of eating and drinking needed to go and put herself to bed. So we were down to just the two of us.
We had to go in. It all looked so tempting. We went with the Vegetable Udon soup, misu eggplant (grilled) and gyoza (pork). It was exactly what we needed. The vegetable udon soup was perfect for the end of a day/night of eating and drinking to calm our stomachs and fill up that last little bit of space. Especially when we both added lots of chilli to it. Yummo.
The gyoza disappeared extremely fast. And the misu eggplant was also very tasty (soft and crispy). After finishing all of this we felt as if we just might explode. It had been a great day and night and now we needed to go and rest our bloated stomachs. It hurt, it really did. But it had been worth it. I had discovered some new places, revisited some of my favourites and introduced the girls to some new places. For our second last day of the holidays before heading back to work (groan), we had done well.