Bianca: Celebrating my cousin Bec’s birthday in Manly saw us at ‘The Pantry’ for a leisurely long Saturday lunch. The sun was shining, people were out and about and it seemed every person that owned a pair of roller blades congregated in Manly.
I’d seen The Pantry in passing on a previous to Manly, I don’t think anyone can argue that they have the monopoly on prime real estate. Perched on the ocean promenade they have an unparalleled view of the beach and with bi-fold windows to make good use of that view, it’s easy to see how we spent a good 3+ hours eating and drinking our way through the day.
The table (well the people AT the table) opted for some starters to tide us over whilst we chose and waited for our mains.
First up was the ‘Goats cheese, pear, walnut & honey bruschetta’ $18. Typically I am not a fan of goat’s cheese, I tend to find it overpowering but here it was rather mild and the saltiness mixed beautifully with the sweet pear and honey.
Italians can never get enough of their carbs so we also had the ‘Caramelised garlic bread, char grilled with olive oil $9. Sadly I completely missed this on the table so didn’t get to try it but those around me seemed to enjoy the novelty of the whole roasted garlic cloves in the bread. Edward and Angel beware!!!
And seeing as we were staring directly at the ocean we had to throw some seafood into the mix, with the ‘Fried Calamari, rocket & aioli $22. A real standout, the calamari was tender and let’s be honest, aioli makes everything better.
Some mains on the table included: Vanessa’s ‘Grilled Whole Lemon Sole Almondine’ –w/almonds & brown butter. Served with fried potatoes, rosemary, crisp prosciutto, black olives & lardo $34. For seafood lovers this would be an impressive sight, most of the ‘grunt’ work had been done. So it was really a matter of peeling back the layers of flesh. The fish was cooked beautifully and its only flaw was a lack of salt which was rectified rather easily.
Manny, Ness’s husband had the ‘NZ Venison Wellington’ – tenderloin in pastry w/chesnut, mushroom duxelle & prosuitto, heirloom carrots, potato mash and sour cherry jus $38. An individual parcel, with an individual portion of venison encased in pastry. Manny was a little underwhelmed by the dish, whilst is was cooked well it was a little bland and lacking in flavour.
I couldn’t go past the ‘Angus Beef Burger’ – w/mixed leaf, onion jam & fries $23. I have well and truly dedicated myself to the burger life now, so whenever I see one on the menu it’s an easy decision. I tend to ask for burgers without the fibrous element/ or get it on the side to add where I see fit. I can’t say there was much that blew me away about it, the patty was rather stock standard, lacking in flavour and cooked completely through. There was a nice sweetness from the onion jam but it was all way too ordinary for my tastes. For my Facebook FBAS it would be a 2.7/5 pickles.
No birthday celebration is complete without dessert and all I’d heard about up until that point was The Pantry’s famous ‘Banoffee Pie’. After a bite or two it was easy to see why this is touted as a signature dessert. Lusciously rich, with a delicate biscuit base – it’s safe to say this is a must order when you do make the trek to Manly.
Just because it sounded so intriguing I had the ‘White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake’, I initially thought they made a mistake when this was brought to the table. Mistaking my chosen dessert for a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It was in fact, a deconstructed cheesecake. Truth be told, I like my cheesecakes ‘constructed’. The sour coulis balanced the rich cheesecake but I found the pear a little odd and out-of-place. Definitely stick to the banoffee!
Gorgeous views, great company, decent food. A beautiful day in Manly.