Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bistro Marlo, Wentworth St, Manly

Bistro Marlo, Wentworth St, Manly
Sunday 19 February, 2006

Manly is an intriguing place. We were sitting in Bistro Marlo which spills out onto Wentworth St - at least two blocks back from Manly Beach and at least 3 blocks in from Manly Pier - every second person that walked past was in a bikini, sarong, board shorts etc. If you are fully clothed you are over dressed. Feeling decidedly out of place and clearly not locals (well, two of us) we did the next best thing - people watch.

Chef Mark Armstrong, from the highly awarded but now departed Armstrong's in North Sydney has created a small but inviting space with Parisian charm. They offer an all day breakfast (love that) and their lunch menu is a mix of lighter meals, salads, pastas and full meals e.g. steak, fish and a decent specials board.

On such warm day with temperatures climbing into the 30's, the thought of a heavy meal was out of the question - so we all selected something from the lighter meals and specials board. I chose the steak sandwich with cafe de paris and my old school buddies selected the gorgonzola & parmesan souffle and spatchcock salad.

Fortunately we had a lot of catching up to do because the meals took a while to arrive at the table. This was surprising considering there were only about 5 tables occupied. However, when the food did arrive it looked sensational. The steak sandwich was delicious, tender meat and beautifully roasted vegetables on turkish bread. The spatchcock salad looked amazing on a huge bed of salad comprised of lettuce and whole artichokes with a creamy sauce but the spatchcock was tiny in comparison. The disappointment was the cheese souffle - it looked good but didn't live up to the goats cheese or gruyere souffles that we have experienced elsewhere.

The service was lax, we had to call them over if we needed something and it all just seemed too hard - I know it was hot and we were near the beach but that doesn't mean service has to seem like a chore.

After some discussion we caved and decided to splurge on dessert - 2 x belgian chocolate mousse and 1 x creme caramel with toffee on the top. Absolutely decadent and we really didn't need them but when you get three old school buddies together for a long lunch - these things are going to happen....

The decor is brown, brown wooden tables, small uncomfortable brown wooden chairs unless you are seated outside on the cube seats, a large mirror, chalk boards that display the specials and dinner menu and a small bar area with a decent display of wine.

I'd like to come back for dinner sometime and try more of the french fare on offer.

Bistro Marlo - Shop B, 11-21 Wentworth St, Manly - (02)99760800


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