Tag Archives: review

:: 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?

:: Fika Swedish Kitchen :: a kindred spirit

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

:: Belgrave Cartel :: experience something special

And it has begun, the start of our Thursday night dining mission is on and I must admit I feel like a kid in a candy store!  As we get our list together of all the eateries we need to hit, The Hubby & I have decided that instead of drawing a name out of a hat – – we will select our restaurant based on what type of cuisine we are desiring, how we are tracking on our weekly budget and what mood the weather has set.  Well, that is the idea at least, we will see if it will work down the line.

After a week of cooking up big main meals, I was feeling a change of pace with maybe a tapas style dinner or even an Italian style cuisine to warm the winter chill.  We threw around a couple ideas and then unanimously agreed on the Belgrave Cartel.  The Hubby & I have been to the Belgrave before for numerous Cha Ching art events, which is run by good friends of ours.  These events conjure a fabulous excuse to gather and mingle with friends, meet new people and of course appreciate and support the talents of local artists.  The Belgrave is always alive and buzzing durning these events and morphs  into a groovy bar scene with a DJ, drinks galore and nibbles coming out of the kitchen to fulfil the guests.  We have only had dinner there once before but that was prior the reno which now includes a full service kitchen among other enhancements.  So tonight, we were looking and tasting with a new set of senses and seeing the Belgrave for its dinner spot potential.

It turns out that selecting the Belgrave couldn’t have been more perfect.  When we rocked up, we glanced through the menu on the outside table and noticed it was organised in small share plates and then a few big plates which included a ‘Mama’s Lasagne’.  It was exactly the type of cuisine style The Hubby & I were looking for, a true serendipitous moment.  Later on, I was to learn that this cuisine is dubbed ‘Stuzzichini’ meaning Spanish tapas with an Italian twist according to the rhetoric the Cartel has online! Love it! Continue reading :: Belgrave Cartel :: experience something special