A dining gem hidden in plain sight

There were smiles all round when Steve and Anita were finally able to re-open Beach Bistro’s doors after a break of nearly two years. The café has earned its place amongst Browns Bay’s “most loved” not only for its food but also its welcoming environment, which regularly features the works of local artists and photographers.

However, lovers of great coffee and nourishing brunches may not be aware that Beach is also open for evening dining. On Friday and Saturday evenings the venue is transformed into a white linen and candles-on-the-table à la carte restaurant, and at the end of a frantic working week, four of us took the excellent decision to visit.

The menu changes monthly and is consciously limited to four entrées, three mains and three desserts. There are also pizza and pasta options. We decided to share two starters between the four of us: Prawn Quinto ($16 – juicy king prawns with spiced Japanese mayo) and Chicken & Cheese ($12 – Brazilian chicken bites and deep fried brie). Both were beautifully presented and extremely tasty.

Each of us selected a different main course: sesame crusted seared tuna loin served on a kumara purée ($30), honey glazed beef short rib ($30), Hong Kong style pork ($30) and a vegetarian pasta du jour ($24). These were accompanied by a fine 2015 Cottier Estate chardonnay ($75).

The tuna was perfectly seared and melt-in-the-mouth tender. The kumara was a great match and there was a nice zing from a little sprinkle of salmon caviar. The pork is a chef ‘s special, inspired by Anita’s childhood in Hong Kong. It was sweet and delicious with a distinctly Asian flair. The short rib was a fantastic fusion of sweet and savoury, and jusfell apart. The fresh spaghetti came with a creamy but light tomato sauce, packed full of mushrooms, sugar snaps, broccoli and cauliflower. It was substantial without being heavy.

Feeling thoroughly satisfied, we had not expected that the pièce de résistance was yet to come. But then Steve brought out his flambé trolley and prepared crêpes suzette at our table. There were other dessert treats too, including tarte tatin and a selection of house-made ice creams. The black sesame ice cream was a particular winner.

With its cosy ambience, Beach Bistro’s à la carte evenings would be a lovely choice for a date night or for a small group of friends wanting to enjoy a conversation over dinner. When considering the quality of the food being served, we felt that the pricing was more than fair.

(First published and permission to post by ShoreLines Magazine)