Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bathers' Pavillion, The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach

Bathers Pavilion, The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
Saturday 17 March, 2007

It's been over 12 months since my last visit to Bathers so I was really looking forward to dinner tonight. Balmoral is a stunning location and the restaurant promotion states,

"The Bathers' Pavillion is owned by chef Serge Dansereau. 'A little more' encapsulates a great deal of Bather's philosophy. Emphasis is placed on creating a unique and memorable eating experience within stylish, timeless interiors with warm, friendly and informed service."

It had rained earlier in the day but the temperature was still a little steamy and the waves crashed into the beach as we walked along the promenade to the entrance. The great thing about coming to Balmoral at night is the parking situation. You can actually get a park close to the beach!

The Bathers' Pavilion has a fascinating history. The building itself was commissioned by Mosman Council in 1924, the foundation stone laid in 1928 and officially opened in 1929. The building was designed with a Moor-ish feel and offered change facilities and lockers and also sold swimmers, towels and caps. This continued until 1967 when it became a brunch institution called Mischa's. After a long battle with renovations, council approvals etc it re-opened in 1999 in its current form.

We were welcomed and shown to our table by the window overlooking the beach. The interior is relaxed, beachy and colourful with splashes of blue throughout and colourful artwork that rotates regularly. The restaurant was partly full and we were provided with menus. My dinner buddy this evening had the Entertainment Book so we would be getting 25 % off the total bill. Nice the prices at Bathers are 2 courses for $75 and 3 courses for $115.

We decided on 2 courses and chose to do main & dessert. It didn't take me or my dinner buddy long to decide:

Me: Otway Ranges lamb loin with pressed shank, potato gratin and bean casserole
Dinner buddy: Snapper fillet with marron and sea scallop, lemongrass rossini and snow pea salad
Me: Brulee of lemon cream with raspberry sorbet and berry jus
Dinner buddy: Mango floating island with tropical ratatouille, guava sorbet and sesame seed biscuit

Our waiter was French and had lovely accent. Even though his English was good we had to strain at times to understand him as we got swept up with the wonderful accent. The table next to us however couldn't understand a word he said and requested another waiter. The only downside to his service was when I asked for a recommendation of a glass of wine to go with my main meal. Of the 5 or so suggestions he recommended the most expensive one. The glasses ranged from $10 - $18 and he jumped to the most expensive with no alternative option. I didn't appreciate this and especially when I heard him do the same thing to the table next to us.

The food was sensational - my lamb loin was tender and cut into small disc portions laid up against each other, the pressed shank was delicious and the potato gratin was served in a rectangle block. The bean casserole came to the table on a separate plate that looked remarkably like a small souffle saucepan. It was served cold which I thought was a little odd but tasted good once I mixed in with the pressed shank.

The brulee was incredibly tasty - I wouldn't usually go for lemon sweets as I'm a chocolate girl but it was creamy, sweet and very more-ish. We ordered tea afterwards and were presented with a fabulous container of 15 different teas in small porcelain dishes. It was beautifully presented and made out decision difficult. The explanation of each tea was listed on the base.

Overall, a lovely evening and with 25% off the bill even more satisfying.

Bathers Pavilion - 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach - (02) 9969 5050


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