Catalina is a guilty pleasure of the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney; with spectacular views of the harbour and an atmosphere of quality and richness.
Coming in for Sunday brunch, it feels like Sydney’s elite are sitting back and enjoying each other’s company on a beautiful sunny Sydney day and being in their presence will somehow make you feel, if only for a little bit, part of that group.
The staff are however highly contrasted with the laid back patrons, as they walk around with straight backs and are never short of a ‘miss’, ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’: you will be taken care of and your wish is their command.
Settling in, with the beautiful ocean view to my right, I am handed the menu. Not being a fish eater, I must admit that my choices are very limited as this is primarily a seafood restaurant, however there are a small variety of choices of meats as well as vegetarian options.
Once the food is ordered, a waiter comes around and offers some freshly baked bread, which can be dipped in oil, balsamic vinegar and flaky salt. More slices of bread can be requested as the waiter does her rounds.
Next comes my starter – prawns in butter sauce. Assumingly influenced by the French, this is a spectacular dish as the prawns are big and cooked to perfection, whilst the butter is velvety and plentiful. Bowls are provided for the shells so don’t be afraid to eat this finger licking entrée without the cutlery.
For the main, I opted for the vegetarian meal and ordered the gnocchi in tomato sauce with a side of broad beans. Whilst the gnocchi was soft and the sauce was tasty, I’m not sure if there is a way to really make this dish extraordinary so compared to what fish eaters ordered, my main was slightly underwhelming. It was however large enough to keep me entertained as I people watched, and the broad beans, which came with flakes of almonds, broke the monotony of the meal as well as added an alternative texture.
Overall the experience was pleasant as the restaurant had a laid back, yet lively restaurant and the meals were sufficient. I would recommend a visit here, if only for the bar menu, a few drinks and the view however make sure that the wallet is fully stocked for the occasion. This is not a cheap delight: entrée’s are in the 30’s, main in the 50’s and desserts in the 20’s, on average, whilst the wine list could set you back anything from $30 to $300. Also be careful around ordering the water: I had the still mineral water ($12) however sometime during the meal it seemed to have been used for another table, as the bottles are located to the side, and my glass was consequently refilled with (free) tap water.
Click below to watch a clip of the view.