Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clubhouse Rosebery: From Turf Club to Surf Club

Did you know it was actually illegal to enter the ocean during daylight hours in Australia during the early 1900s? This law was challenged and the law was repealed but as more and more people entered the waters, more people drowned due to the inability to handle the surf conditions. Volunteers came to the rescue and in 1906 the Bondi Beach Surf Bathing Association was formed. Later on, through an amalgamation of a series of clubs, Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSAA) was formed in 1922. So why am I telling you this? Well, there is a fairly new dining establishment in the heart of Rosebery in Sydney’s inner city suburbs located on the ground floor of the Surf Life Saving Australia club headquarters.

Interestingly, Rosebery was once the site of Rosebery Racecourse, which first opened as a pony track in 1906, which was as popular as Randwick Racecourse. The track became an army camp during World War II, and thereafter it became a training track used by the Sydney Turf Club.

Whilst Rosebery turf days are over, Clubhouse brings the beach charm to inner city, without the surf and beach. The restaurant and bar is styled with warm coastal colour palates, surf and beach artifacts and memorabilia, leaving the feeling of a beach metropolis to your own imagination. The casualness of the good old Australian beach life is felt here in the establishment, albeit you are some 30 minutes drive away and without the beach crowd in bikinis and flip flops you would ordinarily see at the crowded Sydney beaches like Bondi and Coogee on a weekend.

I was greeted by Julian Damjano, General Manager of Clubhouse (ex-Hugos, Goldfish) who talks me through the establishment and the menu. “There’s still more to be done” to the establishment, Julian says to me, which I took it as more fine tuning as the establishment was pretty charming and comfortable to me already. But I think the menu is pretty good with shared plates and a good wholesome variety, with dishes that reflect the taste of summer.

Whilst waiting for the food, Julian shows me the underground section, like a cave, of the establishment where functions can be held and catered for. “We actually have a hen’s night booked in with strippers and all” Julian tells me. It’s a great area of the establishment that allows for special and louder groups without disturbing other diners upstairs.

Now the food…

Can I please show you dessert first? A stampede of the senses, the tickling of the mind, the surrender to guilty pleasures. Yes #OMG, the highlight of my day. This is the 'Clubhouse Gaytime' with toffee parfait, honeycomb, caramel sauce, in honour of the Mardis Gras 2015. And for those of you who grew up on the ice cream confectionary 'Gaytime', Clubhouse's versions of Gaytime is a true reflection of the original. This dessert was so exquisite. Big applause.

Now back to the savoury shared plates. This is the Crispy Pork San Choi Bau with pork belly, Asian marmalade, sesame. A classic in Chinese restaurants but this has a more modern twist to the Asian San Choi Bau as I know it.

Cauliflower salad with goats curd, macadamia, roasted honey cumin vinaigrette. The roasted flavours of cauliflower and macadamia nuts with the fresh pop of pomegranate seeds made this a memorable and refreshing salad, like a summer holiday salad. The sweet and sour combinations of this dish is delicious, which seems to capture of the flavours of the Middle East.

Swordfish hard shell tacos with ceviche, celeriac remoulade, tomato, corn. One of the most popular dishes at Clubhouse. Why? Eating these, I can imagine devouring on my crispy tacos as I lie in a hammock with only few barefoot steps away from the waters on the shores of Mexico...I'll keep dreaming...

Fish of the day which was Ocean Trout with saffron infused potato fondant, zucchini, carrot purée. The Ocean Trout had lovely colour, flavours and I loved everything that went with it.

Truffled polenta chips, parmesan, aioli. When I did my first Instagram post on Clubhouse, a fellow food blogger who dined there before said "This is my favourite". Cheese and truffles are wonderful flavour combinations for these polenta chips.

The dessert Clubhouse Gaytime, toffee parfait, honeycomb, caramel sauce I've already covered, but here it is one more time from a different angle. The ice cream started to melt as I was still starring at it.

So if you haven't tried Clubhouse yet in Rosebery, give it ago. A great venue, food and drinks with relaxed surroundings. I managed to find parking right at the front with no dramas too which is always a bonus in Sydney.

789 Botany Rd, Rosebery NSW 2018
Tel: 02 9669 2828

Clubhouse on Urbanspoon

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