Watson’s Beach Club | Watson’s Bay

Ask me whether I’ve been to Watson’s Bay before and I’d easily say no – I don’t live there and it’s out of the way. In fact, I would probably use those same excuses to justify why I’ve never been.

With that said, there are two things that can motivate me to get off my lazy bum and take a trip. One – great scenery; the other? Food, of course!

Being a Bay and all, I’m sure Watson’s Bay delivers on the former, but how does it do with the latter? That dear reader, is the right question. Watson’s Beach Club attempts to answer it. Read on.

Date Last Visited: 9/2/14
Address: 1 Military Rd Sydney, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): seafood platter/roast pumpkin salad

As my visit to Beach Club was on the house, the Usual Disclaimer applies.

The restaurant of choice – Beach Club – belongs to the Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel. This ain’t some hi-rise, it’s a neat little building that fulfils the “boutique” role quite well. The restaurant on the other hand is your classic waterfront “fast food-style” joint. I say fast food, but it’s a little fancier than that. You get to be when you do seafood platters that go into the hundreds

Watson's Bay Beach Club

Prepare yourself, there’s a crowd in there

It’s a beautiful place, that’s for sure. Given its location at the tip of Watson’s Bay (almost), the restaurant occupies a distinctly special location. As a result, attracting customers is all too easy a task. Can’t underestimate the harbourside advantage.

Watson's Bay Beach Club

I haven’t been to a place like this in ages. AGES. Perfect day for it too.

Just an observation – but boy, was the demographic 99% caucasian. I’m not used to that, but I should remind that Asians still actually make up only less than 10% of Australia’s population demographic. No insinuations here, just curious inquiry.

Watson's Bay Beach Club

Start with some Rekorderlig, will you?

After taking in some of the sights, we ask to be seated and were told that our table had to be prepared. Given how busy it was, this was completely acceptable. Instead, we made our way to the bar and got some complimentary Rekorderlig. Man, seems like the cider just follows me around. Not complaining.

Watson's Bay Beach Club

Seated, and ready to order

I asked staff if Beach Club is usually this busy, and the reply was “this is a relaxed day for us”.

Uhhhhhh ok, kind of makes me question why bloggers need to be invited…given that business seems to be through the roof. But hey, a tab’s a tab.

Watson's Bay Beach Club

Well, we got pretty close to the edge I suppose.

Our seat isn’t the best, but it’s pretty darn close I must say.

The ordering system is that you decide what you want to get, but order at the bar and pick up at the kitchen. An interesting system, and I suppose it works in that it doesn’t not work…did that make any sense? Anyways, we put our orders in, and this is what we got.

Watson's Bay Beach Club mussels

Steamed mussels pot w/spicy arabbiata sauce served w/ciabatta bread ($26)

Seafood restaurant, by the sea, pot of steamed mussels w/ciabatta. It just makes sense doesn’t it?

These are quite good – the mussels were soft and chewy, the sauce flavoursome. It wasn’t really all that spicy, but that’s likely my Asian palate talking. Biggest regret? Not being able to soak up more of that sauce with the bread. This is a fairly safe dish to get – presuming you enjoy mussels.

A pot of mussels is always a bit cheat though – it seems like a lot, but you really only get a little bit of meat. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately.

Watson's Bay Beach Club linguini

Yabbie & crab linguine – fresh yabbie & crab sauteed w/lemon, parsley, chilli, bottarga & egg linguini ($29)

The yabbie & crab linguine is a rather weak dish. Flavours weren’t really there, there wasn’t enough meat and the pasta tasted raw-ish. In other words, most aspects that could go wrong with this dish, did go wrong.

Dang, because it looks so delectable. But don’t let my pretty photographs deceive you – the proof is in the…pasta.

Watson's Bay Beach Club snapper

Whole baby snapper roasted w/gremolata, caperberries & pepperonata ($32)

Things picked up somewhat with the whole baby snapper, but this dish was not without its fair share of flaws. For one – scales. Is it still the norm that restaurants cook whole fish but without descaling it? I don’t think so. Even dodgy Chinese restaurants try these days. Beach Club did not do this – certainly not to an acceptable extent. Almost every bite involved complex tongue calisthenics to get the scales separated from the fish.

Watson's Bay Beach Club snapper

*SNAP*

Oh, and the fish was really, really oily. Not good, and somewhat surprising given it’s a “roast”. The fish itself was decent enough, but also had the flavour deficit problem shared by the linguine. Only the texture was really alright. Ahhhh, how to not cook a fish.

Watson's Bay Beach Club salad

Salad of roast pumpkin, beetroot, sweet potato w/ persian fetta & pecans ($20)

My world turns upside down as I type the sentence that the salad of roast pumpkin is actually one of the better dishes of our meal. That’s not to say that the other dishes are so terrible that a salad stands out – rather, the salad is pretty good in isolation. It’s a surprisingly flavourful combination of pumpkin and sweet potato that brings a mild sweetness that’s counterbalanced by salty feta. It’s a classic combo, one that works nicely. We were somewhat lamentful that we finished the salad so quickly.

Watson's Bay Beach Club seafood platter

Chilled seafood platter – tiger prawns, pacific oysters, moreton bay bugs, blue swimmer crab, marinated calamari & dipping sauces ($85)

For the lack of a more apt description, the chilled seafood platter is the kraken of the party. This actually isn’t even the most deluxe dish – that one’s $185 and includes way more stuff. This one’s good enough, given the other dishes we’ve had.

It’s beautiful, really. Seafood platters always look oh so delightful. Eat this one with your eyes and your camera first!

Watson's Bay Beach Club seafood platter

Beauty :’)

As far as quality goes, it’s your standard seafood platter. Everything’s chilled, so if you prefer your seafood hot well…you failed.

It was generally quite enjoyable – the Moreton Bay Bugs were highlights, while the oysters were a (severe) disappointment. Can’t get everything right I suppose.

I’m glad they provided plenty of prawns – given the tartare dipping sauces, the ultimate protein snack is within plentiful reach. Much noms were had.

Watson's Bay Beach Club crab racing

I….wish I stayed for this

Yeah, seriously. Well, apparently. Someone fill me in on this one.

Watson's Bay

A 5min walk from beautiful views

After our rather large meal, we walked around for a bit, and you can find some truly astounding views.

Watson's Bay

Stunning

Watson’s place is worth visiting for that alone. As for the restaurant? I don’t know if you can do better, but the bar isn’t set too high to begin with. Try a picnic, see how you go.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀

Awesome:

  • Location, location, location

Not so Awesome:

  • Most of the food – concerning when a salad is the standout dish

5/10 Caesars

Watsons Beach Club on Urbanspoon

6 comments on “Watson’s Beach Club | Watson’s Bay”

  1. Padaek Reply

    Love Watson’s Bay – truly an awesome location! The hotel’s a great place to celebrate and have drinks. The food looks amazing! Crab racing sounds like fun. 🙂

  2. ChopinandMysaucepan Reply

    Dear Michael,

    We used to come here whenever we visit my friend who used to live down the road from the restaurant. We found the food to be average and the queues during weekends are horrendous.

    • Michael Shen Reply

      Chopin,

      It would appear that you and I are on the same page regarding the state of Beach Club. Location sells more than anything – a lesson yet again well-learned.

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