The Bathers’ Pavilion Café, 22 & 26 March 2009

One sunny March day Monsieur Poisson decided to take me to The Bathers’ Pavilion Café for lunch. We originally intended on having brunch but had enjoyed a bit too much of a sleep-in, so we settled for lunch instead. The more embarrassing part was that after years of collecting recipes, playing around with home-cooking, dining out at various establishments and indulging my love of cafés, I had yet to ever eat here.

The café is the companion of the Sydney Morning Herald one-hatted Bathers’ Pavilion Restaurant, and both are housed in the historic Bathers’ Pavilion at Balmoral Beach. It’s a beautiful part of Sydney with winding, hilly roads and majestic houses. With its proximity to the beach, parking can be a bit trying, especially when the weather’s sunny and warm.


We wait roughly 20 minutes for a table as it is a typically busy Sunday afternoon and the café doesn’t take reservations. We are shown to a table by the window at the back part of the café, which has a much richer colour scheme than the rest of the place.

We enjoy our drinks and complimentary bread rolls, which are placed on a separate side table, while we await our ordered food. First to arrive is the sardine and chorizo pizza on its crisp and thin yet doughy crust, with paprika on the side for sprinkling. It’s Italian surf ‘n turf and tastes like summer with its sweet tomato sauce base, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

Our Caesar salad with grilled chicken is not presented as nicely as those we see on other tables, and looks like it’s tumbled onto its side on its way to us from the kitchen. However, the cos lettuce leaves served whole are young and crisp and dressed in a light, lemony dressing. The croûtes are toasted golden and garlicky, but unfortunately there’s nothing spectacular about the chicken – I would recommend ordering the standard Caesar salad instead.

A few days later we return to try the breakfast menu and my attention is, expectedly, directed towards the pancetta and asparagus tart with poached egg and hollandaise. It arrives garnished with a massive sprig of watercress and is a beautiful medley of flavours sitting within a crisp tart pastry but is a bit small in its serving size than I would expect for its price.

The chorizo with onion, bush tomato relish and fried egg on sourdough that Monsieur Poisson orders is much more substantial. It packs a serious flavour punch but you need that sweet yet tart tomato relish to help cut through the saltiness of the chorizo as well as its oiliness along with the egg.

I finish off with a pot of Earl Grey tea, which is presented in a suitably nautical colour-themed teapot, cup and milk jug set. I also need a bit of a sweet fix and order a serve of their biscotti. Four long slices arrive laden with nuts (an absolute bargain when we check the bill and discover it cost only $2!) and, as I can only get through two of them, I take the remaining two home wrapped in a serviette to enjoy later.

4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach NSW
Tel: (02) 9969 5050

Opening Hours:  daily from 7am (breakfast, lunch & dinner)

happy eating!

Bathers' Pavilion on Urbanspoon

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