Its very Manly.
If you love a bit of seaside chic to dine in, the old 18 Footers Sailing Club housed in a former weatherboard on the breakwall on Trafalgar St has reemerged as the Manly Boathouse. It's the kind of place you almost expect to find by the water. Think Hamptons meets Noosa but with even more white. It an influencers dream backdrop for their Instagram. Did we mention it's very very white?
Braden White (I kid you not) is the man on the pans, and has a solid pedigree in Noosa, Brisbane and Broadbeach (Ricky's, Stokehouse Q, Miss Moneypenny's Broadbeach) and is a great talent. His own Insta is beautifully curated with dishes he has created and his lovely family.
There is a good selection of snacks, from whipped hummus to truffle and fontina croquettes, but we bypassed those and headed to small plates of Tassie scallops ( we asked why when there are scallops on the doorstep...), a sashimi of kingfish and some flash fried squid. All were good without being spectacular. To be honest, I wanted something a bit more exciting.
Share plates are all meat - a lamb shoulder, an organic short rib or a Black Onyx tomahawk. The Grill menu offers up more meat and seafood offerings of a fish of the day with red curry, barramundi and a seafood pie, along with three steaks, duck breast, fried cauliflower, and a sand crab linguine. I don't know whether it was the setting, the view across Manly Harbour and Moreton Bay or whether my expectations were up the rubbish but I wanted more seafood, more imagination and more flair.
There has been a stack of money thrown at this venue, its stunning to look at but it didn't quite measure up for us. The wine list was also a bit lacking, with very little imagination, with wines we could have anywhere else, and with some particularly hefty mark ups. A $25 everywhere bottle shop French Rose for $83?? Sorry, but no. Its a real opportunity gone begging and it bothers me a lot.
While what we ate was perfectly good, we expected great. What we drank we know was marked up to the gods, knowing we could go to Dan Murphy and buy 80% of the wines. If you are going to mark them up, make sure the wines are on premise only, small label or hard to find at least. The service was also fine without being anything notable. The only notable thing about the experience is the amount of money we spent and the amount of $$ spent on the fit out.
It will suit some - and maybe we have particular taste but we know we can find better value within a short drive. This one, sadly, is a miss rather than a hit.
Manly Boathouse is at 4 Trafalgar Street, Manly.
Open 7am - late 7 days a week