Tidal Restaurant & Wine Bar

Jackie McMillan
7th Mar 2023

Tidal Restaurant & Wine Bar in Merimbula attracts nearly all five star Google reviews, many from faceless reviewers who haven’t included a photo or reviewed anything else. Many “recommend” the place, comment on the “table service” rather than what they ate, or explain “facts” like no other venue in Merimbula offers a similar view. As a diner, what I look for are reviews from regular reviewers that focus on food and flavour, so here goes...

Set at the base of the Crown Apartments, Tidal offers an oyster lease view of Merimbula through wide open windows that let in the balmy sea breeze. The greeting is warm, from a floor team that feels more family-run than sophisticated. This has some bumps, like a server who says “I’m fifteen” when we try to place an urgent wine order after our entree arrives. The pale green pan-seared squid and green pea risotto ($23) buried the squid under the taste of crisp house-seared bacon and, while competently cooked, it lacked punch. The Garagiste Terre Maritime Chardonnay 2021 ($80) on the other hand, is a whole lot of wine for a ridiculously low markup: highly recommended.

The bread, which arrived after both our entree and our wine, was matched to a bright acidic hummus. It probably would have worked better to enliven our palates at the start of the meal. A pair of mains arrived next, but they were for another table. The correct orange roughy fillet ($46) followed shortly after. While I usually try to avoid eating this slow-growing fish, it’s popularity on menus is easy to understand. It’s mild in flavour so suited its Champagne cream and Avruga caviar treatment. There’s also a technically spot on zucchini flower stuffed with prawn mousseline, chives, carrot purée, broccolini, a green oil, and a salt cod croquette. It’s a lot, but the elements were nicely arranged on the plate.

The same roast carrot purée and green oil were the base of the Surf and Turf ($49) where chewy buffalo tenderloin slices joined a king prawn, scallop and two mussels presented on the half shell. The bivalves were charred in a brown sauce my palate struggled to unpick (or like). Salted roast cashews made odd bedfellows with broccoli and silverbeet ($10) purported to have been cooked in brown butter. Not one to waste a good nut, I picked them out and ate them separately. The crispy oven-fried potatoes ($10) with confit garlic and thyme were some of the best fried spuds I’ve eaten. There’s skill in the kitchen but the combinations didn’t quite hang together for me.