Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Summer days indeed

Sydney sure knows how to do summer. Think 30-something degree day followed by rain and storms to cool it all down and provide some relief for the wiltering garden. Some of us lucky ones headed down to Coogee Beach early in the day and tried in as many ways imaginable to not get ourselves fried or roasted. It was hard work. The crisply cool water provided momentary relief for those who dared to take on the waves.

I've always seen Barzura up on the hill when I'm in the water and it just looks the perfect stylish, little beachside cafe restaurant. And on a day like this, any excuse will do to get indoors after a few hours in the sun, sand and surf, and it turns out that Barzura is quite a bit more than just 'any excuse'.

It's an ideal beach-goers respite. Think of the things that you want after a beach session and it's more than likely they have it at Barzura. It's a late lunch for us this day but we're not the only ones, with quite a few big tables with bottles of champagne and wine abounds. It feels a touch too early to be drinking and we're after a bit of healthy nutrition - fruit smoothies fit the bill.

Mango smoothie and mixed berry smoothie from Barzura (Carr St, Coogee)

The smoothies look summer fresh in their bright colours and yoghurt-y flavour, though I'm not sure fresh mango is used. The smoothies are thick but I wished they were a little colder. The pasta section of the menu entices us with its promise of carbohydrates and Italian charisma, and it's not long before two massive, carb-loaded plates are deposited before us.

Risotto with artichokes, olives, semi dried tomatoes,
baby spinach and ricotta

The risotto, as initially spied from the table next to us, is a huge serving with mouthwatering looks to match. In a tomato base it's dotted with olives, pieces of artichoke and sun dried tomatoes and topped with ricotta cheese. The rice is soft, but firmly so and tastes a little on the creamy side. The dish is heavily seasoned with herbs, which is ideal for a leaf lover like me but could be a little strong for others not so inlcined.

Rigatoni putanesca with olives, capers, anchovies, tomato, chilli and basil

My pasta dish is similarly huge. To start with my pile of pasta tubes look just the thing, but half way in I begin to realise that the eyes are often more greedy than the stomach and struggle my way to the end. I take the option of parmesan cheese, which is freshly grated by the waitress at the table, and I dig in. The first flavour hit is undoubtedly that of anchovies. By no means subtle, these little fishies pretty much play the lead role in the dish, opposite the sodium-rich capers and ably supported by olives and mild chilli.

Garden salad

We also share what is close to the perfect garden salad: fresh mixed leaves in a light vinaigrette with a few pieces of halved tomato and cucumber slices. Easily divine. The total bills turns out to be very, very reasonable and I may well have found a new favourite regular haunt. With a perfect view of the beach, delightful staff and spades of great ambience, Barzura itself is a reason to visit Coogee Beach.

As the clouds begin to head further east we count ourselves lucky, and full-bellied, to have had our earlier time in the sun. I'm looking forward to hitting the beach later in the week or maybe next week, but looking forward to visiting Barzura again even more.

Barzura on Urbanspoon

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