Regatta Restaurant At Rose Bay

Rebecca Varidel
28th Jun 2015

A special of the day, and it could be the dish of my life. You know the one. That question. That one when you're asked what you'd have as the last dish of your life, you say this! Add an historic harbour-side setting, and who could ask for more?

Sydney-siders you most probably already know the site.

"A local favourite for many years, the original pier that we reside on dates back to the 1870s. In the 1920s a small shop operated with a boat-shed hiring out row boats. In the 1950s the Doyle Family were the first to establish a restaurant on the site which in more recent times had a very successful run as Pier Restaurant under chef Greg Doyle. The Rose Bay Marina was redeveloped in 2011 into 49 floating berths and 70 swing moorings – providing an even more dramatic back-drop for the restaurant and a great place to boat watch."

So what was that dish? Some seemingly simple ingredients. Flour. Water. Egg. Sardines. Magic. Regatta egg yolk raviolo with Western Australian sardines. Yes it is THE dish. I told Chef so. The humble Morales just turned the corners of his mouth up, and tried to hide a small smile.

Chilean born Chef Claudio Morales has somehow flown pretty much under the radar despite his journey from kitchen-hand to pursuing the Michelin with acclaimed Aussie (expat) Shane Osborne at Pied à Terre, with the Gordon Ramsay group, and with mentor Eugenio Riva (Ristorante Riva, Lucio's and Uccello). His food strikes that perfect balance for an iconic venue such as Regatta. First and foremost it is all - as it should be - about flavour.

Morales understands how to treat produce and has a particular interest in seafood sustainability, again a perfect fit for a restaurant on a Sydney harbour pier. With foundations in the classic Italian, French and Spanish cuisines, Chef Morales presents a menu of seemingly classic dishes: Snapper, Roasted blue eye trevalla, Seared ocean trout, Pan roasted barramundi, Tuna tartare, Oysters. But here's the rub. Although his food is classic rather than modernist, it is very much still contemporary and bears his mark. The snapper comes with cleverly cooked crispy scales, lentils, chorizo and seared scallops. The trevalla is served with the winter heritage of Brussels sprouts and onions, and the everything old is new again grain, pearl barley. With the ocean trout, Morales dishes up school prawns, chilli, apple eggplant and tom yum jus. Classic? Yes. Contemporary? That too. Pan roasted barraundi is listed with baby cos, parsnip, bitter orange. Oysters - come as I like them - natural. The tuna tartare has some unexpected additions: creme fraiche, white asparagus and searrano ham powder. Then there is the bomb! You can order a single oyster with oscietra caviar for only $10 each. We started with oysters on a platter with the most beautiful and fresh sashimi I've had in a very long time. Just stunning. With it came top quality wasabi and pickled ginger. These things count.

From the menu entrees I chose a soup, although it was a sunny day. It read simply: Mushroom soup, Moreton Bay bug, king brown, pork belly buttered toast. Oh my. What a luscious treat. Everything was deep and rich and expansive. The Moreton Bay bug was tender and sweet. But the toast. Well, it was pure unctuous decadence.

My test is always fish and chips, and here the batter is airy and light, the hand cut chips are three times cooked, cuddly-soft and fluffy yet coated in crisp, the tartare is brimming with the tasty bits and again best-of-breed. Muslin over the lemon directs the squeeze. It's these kind of little touches that make a difference. I'd like to see more of this kind of care.

And of course, there was THAT dish. Pasta perfection containing the secret. The raviolo perfect with bite. The egg yolk rich and unctuous and just warmed through. The fresh sardines, flaky and flavoursome, and in harmony with the egg yolk. Mop. You know you want to. And go. You know you want that too.

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594 New South Head Road
Rose Bay
+61 2 9327 6561

Wed 6pm – late

Thu – Sat midday – 3pm; 6pm – late

Sun midday – 3pm