The ladies who lunch rang the changes this week and breakfasted instead at Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral Beach, as a bit of a special treat for Ann’s departure. And it was a slice of pure heaven.
On arrival in the large, light, airy room we’re seated at a rustic wooden table with comfortable wicker chairs and mismatched deckchair-stripe canvas cushions and napkins. Initially overcast, it feels a bit chilly right next to the open floor-to-ceiling windows, but the sun soon comes out, warming our skin and reflecting off the serene, flat water in the bay, full of morning swimmers.
With prices in the low twenties for a ‘main’ breakfast dish, Bathers’ Pavilion is pricier than most places, but there are two star attractions here – one is the beautiful water view which you just can’t take your eyes off, and the other is the beautifully prepared, really delicious food. It’s the breakfast of beautiful people and we’re all accordingly frocked up for the occasion today! Of course I say that with tongue firmly in cheek – there’s actually a very laid back, casual atmosphere here with fresh, colourful, beach-shack decor and relaxed service. The small clientelle this morning (it’s quite early still) is made up of a couple with a small child, two older Mosman ladies (an assumption, I know) and a young man on his own.
Very nice coffees to wake us up after the early start are followed by savoury dishes all round. My eggs Benedict are perfectly poached with dark yellow runny yolks, perched on a split English muffin with short bacon and the best hollandaise sauce I’ve ever had. Light and aerated, almost but not a foam, it has all of the flavour you want without being too rich and cloying.
Amanda has rye toast topped with tea-smoked trout and chive scrambled eggs.
She finds the trout quite subtly flavoured, a bit overpowered by the side of Serge’s oven baked beans with ham hock she simply had to have. And I can see (or rather taste) why – actually made with lentils rather than beans today, it has a fabulous treacly, smokey, barbecue sauce flavour and is generously filled with big chunks of tender pulled ham hock. The bowl is so big, too, that we’re all able to dig in and we still can’t finish it all!
Clare’s and Ann’s poached eggs come with slices of sweet, earthy Bathers’ blood pudding and thyme-roasted plum tomatoes on a bed of mushy green split peas, topped with translucent-thin, curly strips of pancetta. Clare also orders a side of fried whole field mushrooms to share which I find a bit lacking in flavour.
We could happily sit here all day staring at the view, having more coffees and sampling some of the sweet things on the menu – verrine of winter fruit compote with yoghurt, granola and blueberries, or fresh mango and papaya with black sticky rice and coconut cream – but sadly these ladies who lunch (or breakfast) have to get to work!
4 The Esplanade, Balmoral
Visited 27 September 2012