Showing posts with label Australian food and drink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian food and drink. Show all posts

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sydney, Australia: A taste of Watsons Bay

One of our favorite things to do each of the six days we stayed at Sydney’s Circular Quay was to hop one of those fantastic ferries headquartered there and head out to explore other small hamlets that dotted the coastline.
Sydney, Australia's Circular Quay

Watsons Bay, a suburb of Sydney, just 11 miles away, was our Sunday lunch destination because a few months ago we’d read a murder mystery novel, The Bat, by Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. One of its scenes was set in Doyles, a restaurant operated since 1885 on Watsons Bay beach. It sounded worth a visit if we had the opportunity during our stay.

[Travel Tip: We have visited some interesting places in our travels and many of them we’ve learned about by reading novels set in those destinations. We follow up with a bit of research before the trip and then figure out how to include them in the itinerary. We don’t rely solely on travel guides.]


Our decision to go there, however, on that Sunday was rather spur of the moment. After arriving at the restaurant, we realized that we were lucky to get in to this in this beachfront, family-owned and operated (for five generations) eatery even though it has expansive indoor and outdoor seating areas.  

Doyles was one happening spot on Sunday

It seemed most of the passengers on the ferry were headed to the same place that we were – Doyles is ‘the place’ to go on a Sunday, not just for tourists like ourselves but for Sydney-ites as well. Those in the know were able to go straight to the ‘with reservations’ line whle we joined a short line of others in the ‘without’ line.

We each ordered a bowl of their seafood chowder and we knew we were in for a treat when the waiter came and set up the tools for each of us to use when consuming it. “We put seafood in our chowder. You will need to eat it,” he explained.


Soon after, he brought the bottled water we’d ordered as well as a finger bowl with lemon-scented water in which to rinse our fingers as we ate our chowder and another large bowl for the emptied shells. These were bowls – not dainty dishes.


The bowl of chowder at $18.50AUD,(then about the same in US$$) was not inexpensive, although it was one of the least expensive items on the menu. But, was indeed full of seafood including mussels, lobster, scallops, shrimp and crab.


The small loaf of sour dough bread (pictured below) that came as a side, and cost an additional $7.50AUD.


It was a delicious and filling lunch in a beautiful setting ( from some areas of the restaurant you could see the Sydney skyline off in the distance – tables in those areas had been reserved, by the way).

So we agreed that while paying $44.50 was more than we would normally pay for an alcohol-free lunch, it had been worth it.  You can image our surprise when the bill arrived at the table and we found that an additional $5 per person had been added as the ‘adult weekend surcharge’ bringing our bill to $54.50. 

Hmmm. . .that ‘ding’ left just a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Have you ever paid a restaurant 'weekend surcharge?

If You Go:

Ferries regularly depart Sydney’s Circular Quay for Watsons Bay. It is also accessible by water taxi or bus.

Map picture
Doyles Restaurant is located at:
11 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay, Sydney
phone: (02) 9337 2007 Web:  
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, closed Christmas Day.

The restaurant’s website offers a link to Alice Doyles’ recipes; recipes like:

 Do Drop in Salmon Spread
Fry sliced onions gently in a little butter until soft, mix in sugar.
Drain salmon, reserving liquid in case needed. Mash salmon, add onions and all other ingredients together. Make the spread very moist -if it seems too dry, add some of the juice from the salmon.
Serve with potato crisps or savoury biscuits. Makes about 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 large brown onions, fine sliced
  • butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large can red salmon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch basil
  • few drops Tabasco
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
We’ll be adding this post to the Foodie Tuesday linkup over at Inside Journeys, so head that direction then and be sure to come back here for Travel Tip Tuesday when we have more money saving updates for you!.


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