:: Bluewater Cafe :: is it really a local’s cafe?

After 3 weeks overseas for work and play, The Hubby & I are back on track to continue our Darley Days mission.  It is amazing how things can change in 3 weeks in our little village too.  I have seen a some new places pop up, a few under construction and hype building for the launch of Daniel San this weekend too.  Gotta love Manly!  I’ll make sure to update the Eatery list ASAP too!

However, for our first thursday back at it, I had steak on the brain and so The Hubby & I looked at our list and narrowed down to three options…Ribs & Rumps, Manly Grill and Bluewater Cafe.  Bluewater is the only option of the three that both of us had never been to so we decided to give it a go.

I’ve known about Bluewater for years, it seems to have been along the surf beach front as long as I can re2014-05-22 14.06.22call.  I remember a former colleague once mentioning that she loves their ‘food on a stick’, which initially peaked my interest and has stuck with me still.   I’ve also heard that locals do frequent the cafe, but yet none of my friends seem to dine here or have mentioned it for a possible dinner outing.  Perhaps it is more of brekky and lunch spot than dinner?  Well, we were about to find out !

Bluewater did not deflate my initial enthusiasm.  When reviewing the menu, there were a few options that I was keen on straight away and overall the type of food on offer was in line with what the Hubby & I were craving.   There were burgers, eye fillets and ribs.  Plus loads of seafood options, beautiful salads, share plate starters and breads and even pasta dishes too.  And then I saw it…the ‘food on a stick’ aka Espetadas and knew this was what I had to try.  Our waiter, Sam, was very friendly and quick to mention his favourite dish –the char-grilled lamb salad– when asked and also added that the portions were very generous here too.  Good to note!  The Hubby has a hard time passing up ribs generally, and so opted for the half rack of bbq basted and grilled pork spare ribs.  We decided against starters and sides as our meals were coming with their own sides of fries and coleslaw for the Hubby and rocket salad and kipfler potatoes for me.  Our order was in!

Being in the design industry, I can’t help but notice the styling and layout of a restaurant.  It is one of my personal interests and obsessions, as I believe design plays an underlining factor in the overall experience and helps stimulate the vibe and mood you get from a place.   The Bluewater Cafe interiors are your stereotypical beachy cafe scene, and generally situated more for a day time crowd rather than evening.  I am certainly not a fan of seeing televisions in restaurants, unless you are at a pub where it is expected.  So noticing the two large TVs was a detraction to the ambience for me, even with the one closes to us switched off.    Also, the choice of music for a dinner atmosphere was amusing to say the least.  The space is quite large and a full house would see this place certainly buzzing.   They have done well though to create different nooks and areas in the front section of  the restaurant by using different tables and chairs to create visual interest and break up the expense of the restaurant.

The Hubby & I had arrived for an early dinner just after 6pm, so we were one of three tables starting the dinner service off.  Our orders arrived within 15 minutes and Sam didn’t lie, the portions were impressive – American size, really.

The espetadas is certainly a show stopper by the way it is presented – my photos do not do it justice though.  I could see people noticing my order as they walked past the restaurant and slowing to have a look at the menu options presented out front.  It is certainly not for the food shy or a first date dish 😉

espetadas-bluewater-cafe espetadas-bluewater-cafe

My espetadas was the Portuguese beef rump which is marinated in their signature red wine chilli sauce and it was YUMMY-IN-THE-TUMMY.  Two big thumbs up from me.   The potatoes were yummy too but overboard, I had a whopping four on my plate which were each the size of my palm and the rocket salad was just that…rocket leafs.  The use of the word salad might be a bite exaggerated, ha ha.


The Hubby’s ribs certainly looked impressive too and he choose the side of chips over mashed potatoes and crushed kipflers that were on option.  Those chips were moorish and luckily he didn’t mind me thieving a few here and there – mental note, when craving chips, Bluewater has them mastered!  Overall, the ribs were a healthy portion and cooked well but lacked that melt in mouth juiciness that he craves and the bbq sauce was a bit too sweet for his taste.   However, the Hubby loved my sauce and we learned that he can request that sauce for the the ribs next time too.

Overall, we had a nice meal that was quick, friendly and quite tasty.  We paid a total of $94 for our meal which included an alcohol tab of $26.   The mains were certainly large in portion but I am not convinced the price tag is worthy for the local.   The beach front location certainly would attract the tourists and in review we believe the cost of mains is tailored for the tourist dollar.   So as locals, we won’t be adding it to our regular weekly dining spots simply because it is not priced well for the food it offers and atmosphere it provides.  Bluewater definitely has potential to draw on their strengths and pull in more of a local dinner crowd regularly if they made some changes, it would be wonderful if they did but we just not be their target dinners – and that is okay too.  But perhaps the breakfast or lunch menu is more suited for the regular local dollar?


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