Escape to East Coast Lounge, just 30 minutes drive from Sydney. You’ll feel right at home while enjoying incredible coastal views and delicious share platters!
Check out more of my photography on my Instagram.
On what could be one of the hottest days of 2017, I pack my camera – and appetite – and venture to East Coast Lounge for a seaside lunch and break from all the sunshine. I’ve been invited to sample the menu and I’ll be meeting Aaron, a mate from uni, who runs his own web-consulting business, and assists with East Coast Lounge’s social media.
Hopping off the 244 bus from Wynyard, I wander down Clifton Gardens Road past the terraced houses overlooking Chowder Bay. Private yachts speckle the sapphire waters while snorkelers search for seahorses in the reefs below. Escaping the big smoke I’ve found paradise – right in the middle of Sydney.
It’s hard to miss East Coast Lounge’s banana yellow walls and picket fence. Tucked into the iconic Depot Building the lounge sits on the southern side of Sydney’s Middle Head Peninsula. The door is ajar and a sign reading “We’re Open,” invites diners to pop in and have a look. That’s the whole idea here. You’re free to pick from a range of gorgeous linen-covered sofas and wicker chairs in the front, or eight-seater dining tables in the back. The walls are white washed and rooms brightly lit by bay windows that frame the water landscapes like paintings. As co-owner Jennifer Barrett puts it, “We don’t do formal lunches. We are a casual space where you feel as though you are in a friends home.”
The place has an New-Hamptons vibe, not that I’ve been there, but it’s what I remember from watching shows like Revenge. It’s not too dissimilar from the pastel-hued beach homes of South Carolina in the film Safe Haven. It’s the perfect spot for functions including birthdays, weddings, hen’s parties and engagements and the entire venue can be hired to suit your needs. You can even hire the Club Room for corporate meetings which I’m told is a very popular option.
Part eatery, part homeware store, East Coast Lounge boasts an extensive collection of furnishings, cute gifts and personal care items which have all been selected by Co-Owner Christine Housego. She sources unique products from all over the world and specialise in artisan and handmade goods. Laden across a beechwood table by the bar are floral bowls, salad plates and napery while on a bookshelf above the fireplace sit copies of Flavours of Urban Sydney – a guide to the trendiest food that Sydney has to offer – in which they feature. One of their favourite items is the new soy WoodWick candle called ‘Ocean.’ Hand-poured in Sydney and featuring the scents of wild jasmine and green bamboo, the design reflects the ocean and sand surrounding East Coast Lounge.
Housego’s sister and business partner Jennifer takes control of the food and sources fresh produce from a variety of Australian and International stockists. Fresh crusty bread, pickles, olives and deli meats feature heavily throughout the menu which is a fusion of Spanish Tapas and Italian Antipasto styles. As you can imagine they are largely based around sharing platters.
The friendly Bruno offers Aaron and I a smile and a creamy Allpress Espresso Latte while we wait for our food to arrive. I can’t help but admire the view from our table overlooking the jetty as I relax in this haven.
We also try a fragrant Rose and Elderberry Ice Tea brewed fresh using a blend made by Organic Merchant in Sydney. It’s a gorgeous cranberry colour and is served unsweetened just like in the U.S. I actually prefer this as I know I have enough added sugar in my diet as it is. It’s cooling and definitely refreshes the senses on such a hot Sydney summer’s day! Other blends come from Storm & India in Tasmania.
If you’re in the mood for a friendly tipple try the popular Tar and Roses Pinot Grigio (Heathcote, VIC) and First Creek Chardonnay (Hunter Valley, NSW). East Coast Lounge even stocks Laurent Perrier Champagne (Epernay, France) which is perfect for special occasions like birthdays or engagement parties.
The Avo Smash ($19) is first. A Sydney staple and favourite of the local brunch scene. East Coast Lounge’s version features toasted sourdough layered with feta and Za’atar – a Middle Eastern spice blend consisting of wild thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. The Lebanese believe it gives strength and clear the mind. It is creamy and the lemony sumac flavour compliments the sharp feta well.
Next we tuck into the Ploughman’s Lunch ($26). It’ part of a selection of platters and shared plates which has made East Coast Lounge a household name among the locals. This one features thick slices of award-winning Bangalow Leg Ham and Maffra Cheddar Cheese. The rose-coloured ham pieces are sliced to order and are plump and well-seasoned and cheese is divine. These include sweet pickled onions, gherkins (Brooklyn Brine Co., New York), tomato relish, fresh tomatoes and crusty baguette. Today there’s a bonus – Pork Terrine – marbled with herbs and creamy green pistachios. The rich buttery flavour of the pistachio provides a nutty bite against the tender pork. It’s a standout item so be sure to ask if it’s on the menu!
I couldn’t resist the plate of green Hand-Stuffed Olives ($9) filled with crunchy almonds and tender roast chillies. The chillies impart a subtle smokiness to the green-olive flesh and lemony dressing.
We finish with the local favourite, the Toastie ($17), with more Bangalow Leg Ham, Gruyère and Rocket. I can see why it’s so popular. Buttery, crusty bread sandwich thick slices of ham and oozy cheese. The veg to protein ratio is kept to a minimum but I’m not complaining. It’s served with wasabi spiked dijon mustard which is sweet and tangy rather than spicy as you would expect with the wasabi.
I was honestly too stuffed to even contemplate dessert – I know, who am I and what have I done with Brendon. It was one situation where I buried my, “There’s always room for dessert,” philosophy beneath the delicious breads, smallgoods and sides. If you can’t resist something sweet then East Coast Lounge serve a daily Selection of Cakes and Brownies ($5.5), Affogato ($10) with French Vanilla Ice Cream and a shot of coffee, or a weekly rotating flavoured Ice Cream Tub ($7).
I feel right at home at Easy Lane and want to say a big thank you to Christine, Jennifer and their team for such wonderful service and hospitality. The journey to East Coast Lounge from Western Sydney is a long one but definitely worth the trip thanks to the incredible food, wonderful service and stunning location.
- Address: Building 7, Chowder Bay Road, Mosman NSW 2088 Australia
- Drive: Paid parking is available onsite
- Bus: Take Sydney Buses 244 to Chowder Bay from Wynyard Station
- Water Taxi: Make a grand entrance prior to your visit. See the East Coast Lounge website for more info.
🎂🍇🍋🎬 VIDEO: I was really excited to share my Lemon and Blackberry Naked Cake with my foodie friends at #easylanewindsor on the weekend! Here's your exclusive chance to check out how I made it. Great catching up with @eatventures_ @mister_eats @arvinisstarvin @westernsydneyfoodblog and @_bill.desu and thanks Bill for the photo! 📷 🍋🍇🎂
Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,