Tag Archives: Local

We’re back… :)

Hello 2016! The Hubby & I are back and ready to dust off our little project – to try all 100+ eateries in Manly and give a local’s perspective. While we were away there have been several new eateries that have popped up and some familiar ones that have retired. Have you checked out the Little Love Inn…it was love at first sight. How about The Boathouse? After major renovations of the old Shelly Beach Kiosk, it is a new thriving hub of activity at the Bower end of Manly. What about Harry Phat’s? Or Sunset Sabi? Cured? Cuba Miami didn’t last long and China Beach has set sail but The Hold has just had approval for outdoor seating as has Donny’s Bar. Oh it is so exciting. Manly, I just adore you.

IMG_5538First thing, first. Apologies for our absence…did you miss us? Back in the Spring of 2014, my full time job kicked into a new level that saw me craving ‘offline time’. Trying to write a review each week was not the best way for me to spend my time, then. So we took a break. Oh, and we also had a baby too..9 months ago…so life has been forever changed and totally enriched.  I have fallen in love with Manly all over again, in a new way, a new appreciation of it, as a Mother. But as Manly has been changing – hello new pedestrian area – and adding new eateries, stores and markets, The Hubby & I can’t help but long to get back on track with our little project that we started way back in the Winter of 2014.

So let’s do this. I can’t promise weekly reviews, my little ladybug only catnaps after all, but we will commit to a review a month minimum and hopefully more. Although, as my old boss, Naomi Simson, use to say…”there is no power in hope”, so I will keep this in mind too.  Reviews will be more of a range including lunches and of course dinner, when we can make it out  but we will also add in take aways – after all eating at home or at ‘The Office’ is just easier with a little one.  Oh and now we also have a new eye for certain details like…will our pram fit? He he he.  Plus, we are going to take advantage of the new booking site called First Table that has come to Manly…have you seen it? Basically, if you book the first table through the website, you get 50% off your meal for 2 to 4 people and just pay $10 for the booking. We are SOOOOO getting in on that!

Most importantly, we need to get our Eatery list up-to-date.  I will work on getting that fixed up, with all the links working so we all can use it as the go-to-guide when you think  (or can’t think) ‘where should we eat today’.

Thanks for your patience and the messages throughout the time we have been offline. I look forward to getting our mission back on track but also engaging and contributing to the community, the awesome little village of Manly, that we call home. Yah!

:: Ironbark :: inventive pizza menu

IronbarkManly_PizzaThis week The Hubby & I jumped on our bikes again and headed toward the other end of town from Darley Road to tick off Ironbark Manly from our list.  Ironbark has been in the same location on Pittwater Road since I have lived in Manly but even though we have been to numerous eateries all around it, we still had never ventured inside.  The Hubby & I love pizza, so we were very much looking forward to trying a ‘new-to us’ pizza place.  Would this be our new favourite pizza in town?  We were about to find out.

On arrival, the restaurant smelled divine and had a pleasant vibe to it even though it wasn’t packed when we arrived, only three other tables of four people seated.  The staff were attentive and friendly and allowed to select which table suited us best, which I always like. Now that we are photographing our food for the blog, we have learnt to find a seat with the best lighting and hopefully not too many people around us as well.  Using my smart phone at the dinner table, very much goes against my commitment to being present with those around you… so The Hubby & I work together to quickly set up and snap the photos without fussing about too much.  We have gotten quite speedy but are still working on the quality of our photos.  Let us know if you have any tips… Continue reading :: Ironbark :: inventive pizza menu

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

:: Jipang :: earn your local badge

Jipang_DarleyDaysThis week The Hubby and I were feeling like heading to one of our old favourites… Jipang, the Japanese noodle house located in the Henry Roth arcade.  Their location in the arcade is a busy thruway, between the Corso and library, where you can sit, eat and watch Manly walk by.   The staff lovingly wear an Australian flag bandana for headwear as part of their uniform, a small touch that distinguishes the eatery and makes me smile too.  The Hubby & I were after a quick, cheap and satisfying meal which we knew Jipang would deliver. Plus, we rate their Gyoza – Japanese style dumplings (6pc) as some of the best in town… I’ve been known to just pop in and order a plate of gyoza simply to satisfy a craving…delicious!

Jipang is unofficially split into three different dining areas with a handful of tables inside the small eatery, seating at the bar overlooking the action in the kitchen and lastly seating outside in the arcade thruway.    When we arrived, we were able to grab a table inside and immediately started pondering the menu.   The gyoza’s were an automatic order but we also included The Hubby’s new staple the Agedashi Gyoza – deep fried dumplings in soy flavoured sauce.  He use to always order the Agedashi Tofu but once the gyoza version was spotted, he hasn’t looked back.  I finally decided on the Mixed Tempura Udon – prawn tempura (2pcs), kakiage tempura (1pc) & some vege tempura for a main and The Hubby went with a split order of the Jipang Chahan – fried rice & a bowl of clear soup and Karaage Chicken marinated deep fried chicken.  It was an unusual order for The Hubby, and I was initially concerned that he did not order enough food which would put my noodles in jeopardy… sharing was not part of the plan tonight for the mains.. ha ha. Continue reading :: Jipang :: earn your local badge

:: Fika Swedish Kitchen :: a kindred spirit


Fika_DarleyDays
Have you heard of Fika?  It popped up on the scene across from the Manly Library entrance just over a year ago and specialises in Swedish fare, a first for the area.  Fika is a Swedish word that translates as ‘taking a break for coffee and a bite to eat’ according to the rhetoric throughout the cafe.  However, the team go on to explain it is more than that… “it’s a moment to relax, to catch up with your family and to laugh with your friends.  It’s making up for lost time, or part of your daily ritual.  A cosy escape, or a refreshing pause. It’s the time between meals, the place between destinations.  I don’t know about you, but appreciating the definition of Fika, gives me the warm and fuzzies and total resonates with me. Oh the Sweds…they are so clever!  I am a sucker for Scandinavian culture though and actually make a living promoting Danish designer furniture and Swedish lighting to Architects and Interior Designers.  So for our Darley Days dinner this week, The Hubby & I were looking for that cosy escape and agreed it was time to try FikaContinue reading :: Fika Swedish Kitchen :: a kindred spirit

:: Ashiana :: loosen your belt buckles

We were hit with a bit of indecision this week as to which restaurant we were going to tick off The List.  Initially, we had settled on trying out the Yardham Taphouse but when we rocked up the lights were full beam as they had a trivia night happening.  We were swapping our normal Thursday night dinner mission with Wednesday this week due to a prior engagement on Thursday.  I do enjoy a good trivia night but this time around, we were looking for a more relaxed environment with warm hearty food and the bright lights really put us off at the Yardham.  After a little wander around the block, we settled on Indian and walked up the stairs to Ashiana.

We have been to Ashiana before and probably frequent it the most of any Indian restaurants in Manly.  There use to be at least four or five different Indian restaurants in Manly but these days there are only two.   Ashiana is located on the second floor, so it is easy to miss if you don’t look closely as they don’t have the benefit of street appeal.   I first heard about Ashiana back in the day when I had an English flat mate.  She and her boyfriend use to eat Indian at least twice a week, which baffled me as I was more a once every four month Indian food craver…I quickly learned that the Brits had an obsession with Indian curries!  Needless to say this is the last place still in business in town that she rated for their flavourful Northern Indian and regional cuisine.

When we dine at Ashiana we are going there strictly for the food and not particularly the atmosphere.   The space is terribly awkward with separate rooms divided by curved archways and mix-matched schlocky furniture crammed into each area.  There is so much potential to update the interiors and each time The Hubby & I dine here our minds races with ideas. Continue reading :: Ashiana :: loosen your belt buckles

:: Havana Beach :: hits all the right notes

They had us at Mojitos and Jazz… For a few weeks now The Hubby & I noticed Havana Beach’s enticing Instagram posts promoting their 2 for 1 mojitos and live Jazz every Thursday night.   Had it not been for our alcohol free June challenge, we would have been there a lot sooner as both these highlights were right up our alley.   Needless to say that on the first thursday of July, it was an easy decision which eatery we would tick off The List.  Hola Havana!HavanaSign_DarleyDays

The Hubby & I had been to Havana Beach cafe & lounge only once before and that was probably the first week it opened in late 2012.   It was nice to return and see the eatery settling in and attracting a significant crowd.   Like its namesake, Havana specialises in Cuban style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   They have cleverly utilised the downstairs space as a cafe during the day time and the upstairs for dinner and drinks. However, unlike a lot of its competitors on the Manly beach front eatery scene, Havana boasts a “menu that is easy on the hip pocket” and includes a stellar beach view to boot! Continue reading :: Havana Beach :: hits all the right notes

:: Manly Eat Well Chinese :: food fit for legends

Let’s get straight to it, Manly Eat Well Chinese is delightful, delicious and by far the tastiest Chinese in Manly that we have discovered.  I personally can’t believe it has taken me thirteen years to finally uncover this little gem.

The Hubby & I walked in just before 7pm and snagged the last table at the back of the restaurant… it was packed.  Out of nine different sized tables, there were only two tables still waiting their reservations to arrive.    Eat Well might not be in walking distance from our apartment, but we could tell that the Ocean Beach Precinct  locals took advantage of having this gem in their backyard. The atmosphere was alive with chatter from a wonderful range of diners including young families, a few couples to mates and retiree groups.   Many knew Henry, the manager, by name and we came to learn that he and the restaurant have been there for 20 years!  The friendly and familiar atmosphere reminded The Hubby of Chinese restaurants growing up…it was common to know the staff by first name and you would run into friends without planning a meet up.  It is a unique and even comforting feeling to see this habit still in action.

On to the menu. It was hard to turn away from the Chef’s recommendations on the opening pages, and we immediately decided to go with the Lamb Pancakes (six pieces) – marinated shredded lamb with shallots, onions and spicy sauce served in homemade pancakes.  Also from the Chef’s recommendations, we selected the Shantung Chicken – half bird deep fried and braised in delicious chilli, garlic and vinegar sauce.   We also opted for the special of Steamed Scallops – in ginger and shallots sauce and we can never have Chinese without Spring Rolls…our order was in!

EatWell_PeckingDuckBeing at the back of the restaurant, we were located just in front of the Waiter’s preparation table which allowed us to witness the final presentation of the food.  The Hubby marvelled at how perfect the lettuce cups were for the Sang Choy Bow that Henry was dishing up…to his frustration, our lettuce cups never seem to cooperate when we prepare this at home… not sure if any tips were uncovered though.   But the highlight was seeing the Pecking Duck come out. The Pecking Duck  is only available if it is pre-ordered and does not even appear on the website or take-away menus…hot tip!  Henry presented it to the table who ordered it and then came back to delicately slice the duck and prepare the pancakes. DROOL!  Next time, we will have to come with a group of friends and organise the duck!! Can’t wait!

Continue reading :: Manly Eat Well Chinese :: food fit for legends

The eatery list is up!

Holy Cow! We have now successfully complied the list of all the Eateries in Manly and are blown away by how many there actually are!  Have a look and see how many have you been to…

TheList_CycleRideThe list is still a work in progress and we welcome comments on any updates needed.   We utilised the HelloManly list, the Urban Walkabout Manly map as well as hitting the streets on our pushies to make sure we had recorderd all the Eateries.   Trying to classify the cuisine for some places was a little bit challenging, so comment if anything needs to be amended.  Also, we had a great suggestion by a lovely friend to note which restuarants are BYO.  You will see a few question marks where it was inconclusive from our research, so again, comment if you can advise which way or the other.  If you eat out a lot, the costs can add up quickly, so BYO eateries are certainly sought after by us Locals.   The list will be very handy for The Hubby & I on our mission but also for the community, so please share with your Northern Beaches mates!

I found it interesting to see how many Italian, Mexican and Asian choices we have in our  little seaside village.  Especially since only 3 years ago there was hardly any Mexican in Sydney itself and now we have several options in Manly alone! We truly are very lucky to have such a range of yumminess available to us and all in walking/cycling distance too, amazing!  This project is already making me appreciate Manly more than I already did…  Plus, I taught myself a new skill by learning how to build a table in HTML! Love it!

The Hubby & I are out tomorrow for our Thursday night dinner mission, no decision on which restaurant we will tick off the list yet, but we will post the review on Saturday! Stay tuned…

Have you ever said…

so-many-options… I’m going to try every cafe, restaurant and pub in town this year!? And then as the fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour bridge for another year, you realise you still have not even come close to making the rounds!?!   Well, that is exactly why my hubby and I are kicking off this blog, we actually want to achieve it and by writing and reviewing each experience, it will make us accountable and keep us motivated to complete our little challenge.

Let me start by saying that we are not professional food critics, writers or even chefs.  We are an interior stylist and plumber that live in Manly and who love and appreciate yummy-in-the-tummy food.  We do love to cook too…the hubby is usually the head chef and I play the role of sou.   We can whip up a mean meal, but we are a decade away from trying out for Master Chef or My Kitchen Rules.  By the time Thursdays come around we are ordinarily ready to head out for a drink and dinner in town instead of cooking ourselves.   I can count on one hand or maybe two – if I think hard enough – the venues that we frequent. So now Thursdays are never going to be the same again –  or for a while at least – as hubby & I embark on our little mission.  Plus, we are always eating out somewhere for breakfast, lunch or dinner on the weekends too so we plan to cover at least two reviews a week.

Did you know that according to HelloManly – Manly’s Visitor Information Centre, that there are 106 Restaurants & Cafe’s in our little slice of heaven? This little fact kinda blew me away…and excited me all in the same…there quite possibly is a new restaurant love affair on the horizon to shout out loud about.  However, we also won’t be afraid to comment when an eatery is all about the tourist dollar and has forgot their local market (or perhaps we are not their market at all).  Tourists are great for the local economy, of course…but so are the LOCALS 🙂 and Darley Days is all about local opinions for the  community.  Can I say local again??

In the next week, hubby and I will take our pushies and cycle down each street in Manly to make sure we have a complete list of all the eateries in town – we are making a list and checking it twice!  I do love a good list..

In the meantime, let us know how many eateries you think you have dined at in Manly??