By Franz Scheurer
Another Michael McCann masterpiece of interior design, Whitewater sits pretty across the beach in Manly, luring an incredibly mixed crowd into its whiter than white interior. Whitewashed, raw plank ceilings meet white walls and white floors. White leather chairs and banquettes stand out against the copper-coloured raw-wood columns, exposed rock walls and the macramé and shell covered light fittings on the southern wall. A white bar takes up half of one side with a comfortable seating area in front.
A good selection of aperitifs and cocktails will help you while away the time if you have to wait for a table. Once seated you’ll notice that tableware and flatware is better than average and the menu and wine list are a good read; but you’ll also notice that the music is EQ’d for bass only and that’s all you hear. Boom, boom, boom… it’s very annoying indeed and gets more and more irritating as the evening progresses.
We chose a couple of entrées, a ‘prawn cocktail with horseradish tomato mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, egg and fresh sturgeon caviar’ and ‘wild hervey bay scallops in the half shell with sea urchin butter and seaweed’. The prawn cocktail looked terrific but was just as terrifically bland. No recognisable trace of horseradish could be detected and the meagre amount of caviar doesn’t deserve a mention in the description. The scallops were similarly bland and under-seasoned and the dish lacked any kind of balance.
For mains we selected ‘something vegetarian – steamed eggplant, silken tofu and black bean sambal; salt and pepper tofu with candle nut and sweet potato curry; and an asian slaw’ and ‘thirlmere free range chicken, crispy skinned with schezwan (sic) salt, lemon, soy and petite salad’. Both these dishes rocked! The vegetarian plate looked spectacular and was a tasty, textural feast. The chicken succulent, crisp, spicy and moreish and the ‘schezwan salt’ a proper prickly ash.
Finishing our meal with the ‘indulgent plate’ a dessert sampler showing off a very good ‘melting bitter chocolate cake and caramel parfait’, an absolutely stunning ‘rhubarb and hazelnut torte with pandan and ginger ice cream’, an unctuous ‘baked apple and brioche pudding with butter scotch sauce’ and an excellent ‘peach and crème brulee millefeuille with green tea anglaise and peach juice’.
As you can read not everything works and the entrées need serious input, however the mains and desserts are terrific. Service is generally good and wine service is excellent. Timing however is not! The wine list is above average with a good choice of styles and prices. The selection of digestives, fortifieds, single malts and ports is above average. Value for money is good, however we object to the ‘Sunday Surcharge’. Add an extra 50c or so onto every main course and be done with it. An extra $22 surcharge, before tip, leaves a bad taste.
For more information or bookings:
35 South Steyne
02 9977 0322