By Franz Scheurer
Proudly sitting atop Cockle Bay, jutting out like the bow of a Viking ship pointing towards Darling Harbour, is the refurbished Coast with its bright colours and ship-like windows.
Steve Manfredi has taken over in the kitchen and reshaped the menu and the feel of the food. What was once stylish yet rather staid fare is now simple but tasty Italian food, well prepared, attractive and good value for money.
One of the few lunch spots in the CBD that works, it’s full of suits and there are more mobile phones and electronic gadgets on display than at Harvey Norman’s. The service is fast and professional even though it can be hard to get someone’s attention once they’re in full flight.
I’m impressed with the ‘salumi’ selection of Pino Tomini-Foresti’s cold cuts. It might however take a little while to educate the Australian dining public that it’s OK just to serve a few slices of salami on a plate as an entrée.
The ‘spinach crab and ricotta gnocchi with burnt butter and parmesan’ taste sublime, once you manage to disregard the presentation. Another pasta dish, ‘Tagliatelle with corn-fed chicken pieces, spinach and peas’ is perfectly al dente, presents beautifully and is a fabulous summer entrée. For mains we try the ‘Roast crumbed veal fillet, Savoy cabbage and cherry tomato salad’, which turns out to be a ‘schnitzel’, nicely crisp-fried and satisfying. The ‘Grilled whole Rabbit “Peter Robb” with lemon and roast eschalots’ is sensational. This might be a confronting dish for some as the whole animal is spread over the width of the plate (finger bowl and bib supplied). The rabbit is wonderfully juicy, gorgeously tender and probably the best I have ever tasted. But I’d suggest serving the food onto hot, rather than cold, plates.
The wine list is extensive with an excellent selection of wines by the glass, however I feel it lacks passion. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s appropriate, but a touch ‘safe’.
Coast is a great place for a quick but memorable business lunch and sparkles at night with all the lights from Sydney’s working harbour.
For more information or bookings:
Rooftop, Cockle Bay Wharf
201 Sussex Street
Tel.: 02 9267 6700