|Salt & pepper John Dory & hand cut fries|
Well, it is true that Flanagans Dining Room was just a humble fish & chips shop, until Claire and her husband took control of things. With Chef Arman Uz (ex-Effendy) joining the team, the food promises beautiful Middle Eastern and Mediterranean touches and emphasizes on the ingredients' natural flavour.
Being located on the shoreline of Thirroul Beach, the view is undoubtedly splendid. It was a good day for beach too, despite the strong wind that would blow some sands into my eyes (and mouth).
|Flanagans Dining Room cards|
The place is obviously set to match the sea surroundings, and although it doesn't look spectacularly fancy, it looks welcoming and not intimidating.
Outdoor seating is available for those who are up for stronger sea breeze and occasional sand 'attack'.
The interior is lovely, to say the least. It looks simple but very chic, with brushes of ocean blue and white. Wooden furniture enhances the warm ambiance that the place has, and the ocean-related decorations are placed on perfect spots, which make them not to be overwhelming.
To start the day, we were welcomed by bright blood orange gin & tonic, which refreshed me easily.
|Blood orange gin & tonic|
Then came the beautiful bucket of bread, and I went for the brown. Really great paired with olive oil & homemade dukkah. There was a light discussion on the table about whether or not to finish the bread, and I voted yes. I always finish my bread. Do you?
|Bread, olive oil & homemade dukkah|
I'm not a wine person and never ask for a glass of it when eating out. However, this Crooked River Chardonnay was really enjoyable to go with the seafood dishes. It's light and adequately sweet for me.
FYI, all the wines are sourced from local wineries, and many are produced precisely on the south coast.
|Crooked River 2011 Estate White Blend Chardonnay Semillon Savingnon Blanc|
The entree stole my heart already. The seared scallops with sambal chilli paste was cooked perfectly, resulting in crisp outermost layer and juicy innards. The chilli paste was superb, I even considered scooping it clean with my bread.
|Seared scallops with sambal chilli paste - $22|
Oyster was a new experience for me, and I enjoyed it very much surprisingly. The Clyde River oysters with pink shallot and white balsamic presented without any disturbing fishy smell or taste, and I am enjoying the slightly-sweet tang from the balsamic.
|Clyde River oysters with pink shallot & white balsamic - $16|
I'm not sure if this item is listed on the menu, but it was one of my absolute favourite of the day. Since there is no exact name to recount from, I'm going with 'crab cakes with baba ganoush, watercress, and pomegranate'. Feel free to correct me. [EDIT 20/10/13: It's actually monkfish kofta with baba ganoush. Thanks, Vivian!]
The squeaky, tasty fish cakes really went well with the smoky and creamy baba ganoush, and the watercress & pomegranate gave interesting texture play. Love love love!
|Monkfish kofta and baba ganoush|
The main dishes consisted of four types of catch of the day, and I reckon they were as fresh as seafood can be. The fish were fried, and lightly seasoned just with salt & pepper to let the real flavour shine. It worked. All of them were beautiful with crispy skin, juicy flesh, and no fishy smell at all. Removing the small bones was quite tricky though.
My favourite was the John Dory, it was somehow sweeter and tastier than its friends. And I found myself eying for more hand-cut fries!
|Salt & pepper rock cod with hand cut fries - $28|
|Salt & pepper bream with hand cut fries - $28|
|Salt & pepper snapper with hand cut fries - $28|
|Salt & pepper John Dory with hand cut fries - $28|
If you are more of a carnivore than a fisherman, worry not, the slow cooked lamb shoulder with smoked eggplant & parsnip puree will definitely satisfy you. It had tender and juicy meat, although it still had the typical smell of lamb that I am not a good friend with.
|Slow cooked lamb shoulder, smoked eggplant & parsnip puree - $28|
After a fulfilling entree and main, I was still looking forward for the dessert. Three sweet dishes were presented to be shared.
The sun dried figs were not the most photogenic dessert ever, but they ticked the right boxes for me. They were stuffed with walnut and served with maple syrup and clotted cream.
|Sun dried figs with walnut, maple syrup & clotted cream - $9|
The creme brulee was a little bit too small to my liking (heh), but maybe that's just because it was so good with creamy, vanilla-y custard and crackable layer of burnt sugar.
|Creme brulee - $9|
My favourite dessert was the kadaifi pastry with pistachio & golden syrup. It tasted similar like baklava, only the slice was made from strands of pastry, which looked like long, fine shredded coconut. It wasn't too sweet, and the pistachio made a great appearance on every spoonful.
|Kadaifi pastry with pistachio & golden syrup - $9|
Overall, it was such a great dining experience with excellent flavours and stunning dishes presentation. Really, eating fish & chips on a seaside has never been this exciting.
Currency: $1 = IDR 10,700 (WTF, really??)
Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great food with fresh seafood selections, friendly & accommodating service, great ambiance & view, price is relatively steep but it is reflected on the quality of the food.
Irene's Getting Fat! attended lunch at Flanagans Dining Room courtesy of Flanagans Dining Room and Wasamedia. Thank you very much! However, all opinions are based on my personal taste.
FLANAGANS DINING ROOM
Thirroul Beach Reserve, Cliff Parade
Thirroul, NSW 2515
Phone: (02) 4268 1598
Web: Flanagans Dining Room
Opening hours: open for breakfast on weekends and public holidays from 8 a.m., lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. and dinner on Saturday nights.