A fair weather café with a million dollar view
Some enterprising young soul clearly took one look at the Elizabeth Bay Marina and thought, “Location, location, location”. In spite of wide harbour vistas book-ended by two shockingly green, manicured parks, until now this picturesque spot had been the sole domain of brightly coloured kayaks waiting for a paddle.
All that was required was some big umbrellas, an outdoor coffee nook and a handful of chairs, stools and benches to create the Bird and Bear Boathouse – a sweet outdoor coffee spot with a million-dollar view.
The jetty is open to the elements with nothing to impede the sea breeze, which is delightful on a hot day but can get a little blowy and uncomfortable if there is a chill in the air. Come winter, we’re not quite sure how this operation is going to tackle the temperature control issues, but for right now the sun is still shining so it’s a matter of making proverbial hay with good coffee and a simple brunch menu.
The staff are all bright young things with even tans, brilliant smiles and very white shirts, which gives the whole place a Hamptons feel. Trick yourself into holiday mode and order the whole coconut. The coconut water is refreshingly salty-sweet and is an excellent primer for your main meal.
The almond croissant is a beast of a pastry, encased in flaked almonds and icing sugar and chock-full of mild, marzipany goodness. The 'catch 22' is that if you order the croissant upfront you run the risk of hoeing into it before your lunch arrives – but waiting runs the risk of them selling out. We say order first and let your stomach ask questions later.
Your opinion on the chilli toast will depend entirely on your feelings about truffle oil. If you are pro, we have probably found your ultimate breakfast treat. Two slices of suitably sour sourdough topped with avocado, neatly sliced tomato, chilli flakes and a drizzle of truffle oil – it’s the most upwardly mobile of all the toasts. Of course, if you're on our side of the fence (truffle oil should be flushed, buried and banned), you may want to give it a miss.
The small, poached chicken salad is more like a deconstructed sambo. A bowl of rocket comes topped with chicken, avocado slices, tomato wedges and some crumbly fetta, with a slice of sourdough and some butter on the side. It’s light and fresh, but a little under-dressed for us.