Friday, June 23, 2006

The Cooks Larder, Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon

The Cooks Larder, Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon
Friday 23 June, 2006

The last time I visited The Cooks Larder was for lunch (Feb 06). It was a great experience but I didn't think I would return so soon, especially for dinner. I didn't even know The Cooks Larder was open for dinner, so it was pleasant surprise when family friends (who live in Avalon) suggested we dine there. There's no denying you feel like a million miles out of Sydney in Avalon - it has a small, village atmosphere and feels very laid back. The other bonus is you can easily park out the front of the restaurant.

I love the look & feel of The Cooks Larder. There is a dramatic red wall on one side with a row of old fashioned egg beaters hanging from the exposed beams. It's a quirky look that works. The interior is warm, inviting and packed full of gourmet delights - teas, jams, utensils, deli goods, etc. It's a foodie's paradise. The glass display cabinets in the deli section offer a fabulous selection of cakes, pastries, tarts and cheese - there's also an impressive array of spices.

The Cooks Larder only opens on Friday evenings for dinner and is BYO. Bookings are essential as this is one of the few decent places to eat on the Northern Beaches. Our party of 9 were warmly greeted like old friends and seated. The winter menu offers 3 - 4 selections for entree and main and there is also a specials board.

It didn't take us long to decide what to order - I selected the sweet corn & crab chowder with chilli jam and the majority of the table ordered the grilled figs wrapped in bangalow sweet pork prosciutto with marinated goats fetta, walnuts and caramelised balsamic. The entrees were absolutely delicious - everyone was extremely satisfied.

The small dining space filled and some tables had 2 seatings - it's a popular place. One great feature is the strategically placed mirror hanging above the food preparation area that allows you to watch the kitchen team led by Susie Doran and Linda Irvin.

For main I ordered the chicken wrapped in prosciutto served with leeks and goats cheese as did many of us at the table. It was beautifully presented but my chicken was a little undercooked. The rest of the table ordered the grilled beef rib eye with rosemary potatoes and tarragon anchovy butter.

The meals are comfort food served as though you are at a friend's place for dinner. There's a warmth here that you don't get in the city restaurants. The final touch after we ordered teas/ coffees to end the meal was delightful bowls of crushed lindt chocolate placed on the table. Who needs dessert??

I won't wait so long for my next visit to the Cooks Larder.

The Cooks Larder - 21 - 23 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon - (02) 9973 4370


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