Alex: For over 20 years Catalina has sat at the forefront of Sydney’s fine dining scene. The restaurant inside is simplistic in it’s design with it’s main focus being the floor to ceiling windows which give an unparalleled view over Rose Bay. Even on this particularly wet day the view was as stunning as ever.
The reason for my visit to Catalina was to try out the new Bar Menu that they have on offer. The menu is fairly simple with minimal options that are designed to be share platters. The bar menu is heavily focused on seafood but in case that doesn’t take your fancy you still have the option to order from the A La Carte menu.
Joining me on my adventure today was Larissa (I’ll stick to Lazarus). We arrived at 12.00 on the dot, hungry as ever but of course it’s absolutely necessary to be drinking cocktails on a Tuesday arvo before lunch so insert Espresso Martini here.
The cocktails in terms of pricing are pretty much on par with other well established restaurants in Sydney ($23 for my espresso martini). I tend to order these because they seem to have a ridiculous amount of alcohol…and coffee so it’s like the best of both worlds! The Martini was well-balanced and had a great punch.
Lazarus ordered the special, a Margarita with a twist. A beautifully vibrant cocktail. I especially loved the contrasting colours between the red and the black salt around the rim. The cocktail was really sour but the black salt aided in bringing all of the elements together. It was actually a rather clever drink!
As mentioned the Bar Menu is heavily focused on seafood which is Catalina’s speciality. Catalina has a long-standing relationships with some of the best suppliers in Australia so it’s without question that quality is their main priority.
We decided to start with the Cheese Platter with walnut bread, fig paste, and fruit. $39 A generous serving for the price. The brie was the clear winner (when isn’t it?) with its creamy texture just melting in the mouth. Add a dollop of the fig paste and your bombarded with an array of lovely, fresh flavours.
The cheese platter alone would be a great way to wind down on a late afternoon with a glass of wine, something to keep in mind if you’re looking for something to do!
We ordered the Jamon Iberico and tomato bruschetta $16 just to get an idea of the range of foods they were offering. A decent serving and I loved the addition of the Iberian cured ham. The lightly toasted bread had soaked up a lot of the balsamic vinegar and oil making it a very tasty and moreish dish but again, noticing a recurring theme of Catalina, everything was fresh and vibrant and didn’t feel too heavy.
We were already at tipping point at this stage but were recommended to try the seafood platter. This comes in two sizes;
small – $36
Large – $72
To be perfectly honest I don’t know what size we got but this was a ridiculously generous serving for two people. Included were a range of different seafood’s including: Beer battered Goujons, tempura prawns with ponzu, ceviche, salmon, scallops with tobiko etc.
All elements of the dish were cooked well and had a great fresh flavour. I’m not much of a seafood person but I thoroughly enjoyed all of the seafood elements, especially the scallops!
And because we didn’t eat enough we obviously needed to top it off with some dessert! One of Catalina’s famous, the Salted Peanut butter parfait with caramelised banana $23. The centre of this dessert is where you need to get to. Beautifully thick and crunchy bits of peanut butter. Bahhh amazing.
So whether it’s a visit for a special occasion or just a relaxing cocktail with a cheeseboard, Catalina really amp up the flavour stakes.