Mountains of flavour against a bushy backdrop.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS Pea soup
AMBIANCE Park your plane and soak in the water
SERVICE Difficult to catch but worth the wait
WOULD I GO BACK? For any special summer lunch
Cottage Point Inn is probably the most underrated restaurant in Sydney. It seems people arrive more for the adventure than for the food. It’s more of a landing strip for sea planes than a restaurant and deserves more notice.
Free bread. Any economics professor will tell you “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. But, as usual, I mean free in the sense that it’s not on the menu, but its served as a gracious surprise – a prerequisite to any good set menu. This new but not improved rendition is good, but more dense and whiter than the puffy rye served on my previous visit.
Instead of the three-course menu, this visit we ordered the full degustation for $145 per person.
Of course, a mini tartare tostada, herbed scroll and cheese puff couldn’t go amiss as the (also free) snacks to whet ye olde appétit.
The dish of the day was up first: cold pea soup. Unexpected and green are its two best descriptors. The soup drowned stretched curds – essentially stracciatella – with toasted hazelnuts and kombu vinegar.
A smaller version of the grilled quail I’d ordered last time remained delightful on repeat. Caramelised XO sauce was sandwiched between toasted oats, daikon and fermented mushrooms, laying on a pumpkin purée bed.
Their ‘nduja (spicy, spreadable sausage) broth speckled with dill oil was proudly ugly-delicious. Fennel shavings were a fresh complement to two barbequed prawns curled inside a tipi of radish discs. The only complaints: it needed more crunch and more prawns.
With no sign of restraint on sauce-to-protein ratios, which I am generally approving of, I think this beef dish needed half the shallots, barbequed beans and wasabi cream. The taste and texture of the beef hiding underneath remained a mystery.
Dessert was aesthetically unusual for a hazelnut chocolate mousse. A generous quenelle of silky ginger ice cream shone among the very sweet candied apricots and (effectively) mini Maltesers.
Friands to finish. Showing off their baking skills (as impressive and difficult to perfect as the madeleine), the only disappointment was the thirty minutes it took to get the bill. Sitting at a table on their beautiful, sunny deck (tip: wear sunscreen) is an extremely pleasant way to spend an afternoon. It seems to be better enjoyed, however, to the tune of the three-course menu once you know what to order.