Thursday 22 November 2012

Dunbar House at Watson's Bay - A little piece of magic.

As I packed my bag for my holiday in Sydney, I received a call from my Mum. "You have to go to Watson's Bay. When you get there turn right, not left. Go to the big mansion and eat there..."
I thought, yeah Mum. Thanks.

So there I was. Sitting on a ferry on our way to Watson's Bay after an overload of recommendations from our Facebook friends. Everyone said Watson's Bay was a must.

The perfect setting

Standing on the dock after disembarking I looked around. To my left; Doyle's restaurant. A quaint little place on the water. Everybody had recommended it on Facebook. Doyle's had a reputation...
To my right; a gorgeous mansion, painted grey set a little back from the water, next to the park. It looked empty. There was no one on the deck (this may have had something to do with the on/off rain we were experiencing).

Now as you know, I love dining in restaurants and can't resist checking out those with a reputation for myself, but I was intrigued by this house that no one seemed to be heading for.

I turned right.

As I approached Dunbar House I knew it was love. The place has been magnificently restored. As I stepped up the first step the waiter greeted me and asked if I would like a table inside. I declined and chose a perfectly positioned table on the corner of the deck which gave me a complete view of our surrounds. They thought I was a little mad.

 When the rain started it hit the far corner of the table but I, and my delightful food, remained dry, and considering it was not cold there was no desire to move away from my view.

My menus was placed on the table and it began...

I was a little disappointed that I was about an hour too late to experience the Devonshire Tea. I'd been looking forward to some tea and scones since my mum had mentioned it.

I started with a glass of wine each. Catalina Sounds. Delicious. Then decided I was in need of the bottle.

To begin my lunch I ordered tempura zucchini flowers. I was given lovely little tea plates to eat from. The plates did not match but went together so well. It was the perfect set up for a tea house. Everything I have always imagined my dessert house will be. The zucchini flowers had been stuffed with fetta and green olives and placed on a tomato based sauce. I have never had anything like it. Put a little salt on them and I was in zucchini flower heaven.

Tempura Zucchini Flowers.

Next, I chose the bruschetta and a charcuterie plate. The bruschetta looked beautiful. It had been made with heirloom tomatoes of all colors and looked like they were sourced locally. It was served with buffalo mozzarella and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. Everything seemed so fresh and colorful. The meats were placed elegantly on a wooden board, with a side of hummus and a herb salad and I was given more gorgeous tea plates.

Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

Charcuterie plate and bruschetta with those adorable plates.

Deciding that I was still in the mood for food (notice that I did not say hungry, I was well and truly stuffed) I ordered some prawns to finish my lunch off. The tiger prawns came with asparagus and a date and cauliflower salad. They were covered in a delectable curry dressing.

I sat on the verandah for about 3 hours, leaving only because the second last ferry for the day was arriving at the dock.

Prawns with cauliflower salad and curry dressing

Before I left, I took a look inside. Dunbar House cafe had the most beautiful interior. It was soft, traditional, you can tell how much work was put into the restoration.

If you are planning to visit Sydney, take a ferry down to Watson's Bay. When you arrive at the dock don't follow the crowd. Turn right and approach the lone house on the park. It will be an experience you will not forget.

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