Published on February 28th, 2011 | by Gareth2
The Pantry, Manly restaurant review
I recently visited The Pantry in Manly. Manly beach aside from having an amusing name has a much more relaxed vibe than Bondi (unlike the property prices) and the ferry trip there is always pleasant. Back in the 1850’s an Englishman by the name of Henry Gilbert Smith began to develop Manly into a seaside holiday resort for Sydneysiders. This was modelled on Brighton in England, then an elegant and trendy destination for Victorian socialites but sadly now a Mecca for 70 year old female bingo addicts and people who wear too much brown corduroy (the husbands of the bingo addicts I suspect). Manly fortunately still has a holiday feel to it allowing you to exchange the tension of the city for something a little more casual.
Which brings me nicely back to The Pantry; situated right on the beach opposite the Steyne hotel it offers an unpretentious selection of simple but gourmet European food. It’s a little pricier than the average café and bar along the sea front, but being the beach side of the road boasts turquoise ocean vistas that are never interrupted by camper vans or semi naked bikies chugging past.
Although the exterior is polished and modern the interior décor features dark wood, lots of Mauviel copperware and whitewashed brick giving it a slightly rustic French edge.
I really liked the flexibility of the menu. In addition to the usual complete meals, they offer a range of breads, charcuterie, pate and pickles so you can make your own customised ‘grown up gastro picnic’ without the challenge of hunting for a suitable spot to lay camp.
Being pretty hungry I opt for something hearty, the angus beef burger with onion jam, coleslaw and chips (18). The burger was pretty good and the onion jam added a nice sticky sweetness, though the pattie was a touch overdone for my liking and the coleslaw a bit bland.
We also order fresh beer battered barramundi fillet with chips and tartar sauce (24). All excellent and the sauce was particularly good. It had a wonderful crisp zing to it from the capers and pickles, not at all like the cloying flavourless processed crap you find on the supermarket shelf.
The baked scallops, gruyere, sour cream, jamon with bread crumbs (16) looked and tasted like they would be in fine company with any other entree at a chef hat restaurant. This was complemented by a side dish of asparagus, parmesan and lemon (8).
However for me the star of the show that gave me a bit of food envy was the gnocchi with spinach, pumpkin, goat’s cheese, pine nuts and lemon (22). The creamy texture of the cheese with the soft sweetness of the pumpkin and a lemon punch at the end was great combination. And it didn’t have the heaviness often found with gnocchi, nice and light.
The staff are friendly and attentive and all from Martini Zone 1, i.e. they are all beautiful, which always helps in my opinion. They are welcoming and instantly make you feel at ease to ensure the holiday feel.
In summary I would go there again and encourage you to check it out if you get the chance.