Just when they'll lulled us into a false sense of security and we actually think Sydney taxi drivers have improved, we get one that brings us back to earth. It wasn't the fact that he was sneakily reading his large screen tomtom using a magnifying glass, it's that he dropped us off at the wrong spot! It was a bit of a walk in shoes that are not made for walking but we did eventually make it to our destination, a little late but in one piece.
You must admit it's a fine looking building.
There are two sections here - a ridiculously busy and hectic cafe and the restaurant proper.
We're seated near enough to enjoy the view from the full length windows but far enough not to annoyed by the sun.
For Sunday, lunch there's a choice of a la carte (2 or 3 courses/$95 or $115) or degustation (8 courses, with or without wine matches). No need to guess, yes it's degustation for us.
Selection of good, still warm from the oven, sourdough rolls with salted and unsalted butter.
A refreshing dish of prawns marinated in a mix of chili & coriander
A treat for the eye as well as the stomach. Deceptively simple but it's the way all the elements interact that makes it quite a delight.
The liquorice flavour is subtle even though the salmon is served alongside a fennel salad, the fennel itself is mild.
Without actually going out and tasting it for yourself, it is hard to convey just how skilfully put together this dish is.
This course brought a smile to our face as it's the third dish of Jewfish we've had in this trip - must be a very popular item on Sydney menus. With it's basil and parmesan crust topping a soft and juicy fillet, this would probably rank as our favourite Jewfish dish so far. This dish is a slice of Mediterranean on a plate.
Time to look out the window and enjoy the view while we wait for the next course.
As Paalo stated at the time "I'd never order this dish because I don't like Chestnuts but I'd be kicking myself because this was one of the best soups I've ever had."
The oxtail comes apart at the touch of the fork, accompanied by a profound sauce. It would be easy for this dish to slip into being too heavy but once again a deft touch ensures it is beautifully balanced.
Time for another view - a three masted sailing vessel passing in the distance
Fromager des Clarines - soft buttery cows milk cheese oozing out over the toast and onto the plate. Cheese doesn't get much better than this. The quince paste shines in this dish, cutting and clearing through the fat of the cheese.
It may look substantial but once again it proves to be quite delicate.
To accompany coffee, a selection of Petit Fours
Fudge, Pistachio Macaron, Chocolates and Jellies
A quick view of the main dining room, the kitchen sits behind those louvres - the blue room in the distance I believe can be booked for small groups.
As we travel back across the bridge in a taxi that thankfully knows where it is going we mull on the meal we've just experienced.
I've always held The Bathers' Pavillion in high regard having vicariously indulged in the food through the pages of Serge Dansereau's cookbooks but this meal well exceeded those high expectations. It's a real gem.
The Bathers' Pavilion
4 The Esplanade
Balmoral Beach, NSW
Phone: +61 2 9969 5050
Breakfast - Sunday only from 9am
Lunch - Monday to Sunday from 12pm
Dinner - Monday to Sunday from 6.30pm