Henrys, Cronulla

Scott Wallace
18th Sep 2016

Ambling away from Henrys with a full stomach, I was full of not only great food, but also regret that I didn't try any dessert. Everything else on the menu was so good that it was difficult to leave a single morsel behind, and so, sadly, there was no room for what would have surely been a wonderful dessert with the same gorgeously complex and cohesive flavours displayed across the rest of the menu.

Cronulla, like many places south of the Georges River, has a different aspect to it. It's breezy and bright. No matter where you are, you can sense the ocean only a stone's throw away, even if you can't smell it or hear it. Henrys, with its street-facing al fresco dining area adds to the impression that you're not really in Sydney, but in some more remote seaside locale. There is a freshness and crispness to the food that mirrors the coastal ambiance beautifully.

The menu is designed for sharing. The extensive selection of small plates shows a remarkable range of inventive and innovative combinations of flavours and textures. We started off with something fairly traditional in the crispy whitebait with habanero mayonnaise - with its mix of saltiness, crunchiness and creaminess, the perfect appetiser and a brilliant gateway into Henrys' deceptively simple food.

Next up, the yellowfin tuna poke (a Hawaiian fish salad, for the unacquainted) that crossed the North Pacific with an interesting fusion of Japanese flavours in the form of ponzu tapioca, emerald green nori, and fulsome sushi rice. The freshness of tuna, with some tantalising spice, blends beautifully with the more subdued flavours of the rest of the dish, bound up in the delicate nori.

Henrys seems to be defined by a mix of the unexpected and the traditional. The final small plate we tried was the Prosciutto San Daniele, which adds a twist to its more traditional friends smoked buffalo mozzarella and house-made focaccia (both superb) by adding vanilla apples and pomegranate, both bursting with flavour. The sweetness, saltiness and spiciness melded beautifully in any ratio, and there was a communal aspect to doling out the different parts of the generous serving.

The smoked baby chicken, served with sweet corn purée, sautéed corn and crisps of manchego cheese, is the most incontrovertible proof that the menu at Henrys was designed with the utmost attention to the finer points of combining flavours. With a side of crispy crushed potatoes served with creamy and fresh-tasting green mayonnaise, there was at once a rustic simplicity and an effortless elegance to the dish we chose for our main, the tender white flesh of the bird harmonising with the nutty sweetness of the corn and the delicate tang of the manchego. 

So leaving the restaurant, though I was aching to try the white chocolate mousse with chocolate shortbread and honeycomb ganache that had caught my eye, I was satisfied in the way that only great food can satisfy. Henrys' menu is very modern, but in its feel and in its presentation, it transcends trends. The inventiveness of the menu is not different for the sake of being different, but it is a means to an end, and that end is delicious food. Good food doesn't come in and out of fashion - it's timeless - and it will still be waiting for next time. 

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1 Ocean Grove Avenue
02 9527 0305

Wed – Thur 6pm – 12am

Fri – Sun 12pm – 12am