MY knowledge of Sydney doesn’t extend far beyond Circular Quay.
When I’m in the New South Wales capital I stick close to the blocks between the Pitt Street Mall and Sydney Opera House, occasionally making a detour to The Rocks or Art Gallery of NSW, but my exploring is typically limited to spots I can see by simply pounding the pavement.
But on this visit to Sin City I venture across the sparkling blue of Sydney Harbour to catch up with friends, riding a ferry to Mossman Bay, with my local pals taking me over the hill to lunch at lovely Balmoral Beach.
It’s the perfect day for waterside dining – a blue dome stretching above and autumn sunshine falling on those venturing outside to enjoy the warm of an Indian summer day – and we find a table at Public Dining Room beside a window framing a vista across Middle Head to Manly.
The venue, in business since 2009 when the sand-side venue was extensively renovated, is the ideal spot for a long catch-up lunch offering an airy room that initially looks very fancy but quickly becomes a comfortable place to linger.
The restaurant is described by its owners as “a relaxed luxe space” with a combination of natural materials, including American oak and marble, mixing with Belgian linen and Italian lighting to offer sophisticated notes.
After spending long minutes taking in the view our attention finally turns to the menu and we order three courses – sharing starters and dessert while enjoying our own mains – with citrus-cured trout, crispy calamari, fresh green beans, crispy pork belly, and passion fruit crème brulee some of the flavours arriving from the kitchen.
“The restaurant reflects casual fine food,’’ the Public Dining Room’s website explains.
“Our passion is to source selected produce from small farmers throughout Australia, while seeking out hard to find ingredients, sustainable fish and heirloom varieties of vegetables, our menu is constantly evolving to excite the diner.
“Enjoy a casual selection of small eats from our tapas-inspired menu or choose a more traditional style of dining from our a la carte menu (and) our brand is modern, open and engaging, nostalgic and handcrafted.”
After lunch there’s time for a stroll along the sand to peek at million-dollar houses flanking Balmoral Beach and then it’s back to Mossman Bay for me and the return journey across Sydney Harbour which is a wonderful way to end a lovely afternoon at the Public Dining Room.