Sometimes I really have to pinch myself to confirm that I am not indeed dreaming. Sydney with its gorgeous harbour appears to me otherworldly at times – how can a city have so many wonderful waterfront areas, so many peaceful bays, stunning vistas, quiet corners? How come that people live in beautiful mansions, just a couple of steps away from their yachts?
Yet all of this is possible to find in Sydney, and when I visited the newly revived Foy’s in affluent Kirribilli with a friend the other day, we both found ourselves marvelling at the stunning beauty of this rather secluded location, just a couple of minutes from busy Milsons Point railway station.
I was following an invitation to sample the new menu at Foy’s – and I was indeed very much looking forward to a lunch with panoramic water views, something Foy’s can easily deliver since they are occupying the club house of the Sydney Flying Squadron, the famous skiff sailing club that has been around for more than a century.
It was the owners’ mission to revive these time-honoured premises to create a welcoming, bright and family-friendly restaurant that will not only serve the club members but also the locals that are living and working in the area. It is easy to see that this goal has been gracefully accomplished – the light just floods the friendly and bright dining area, and outside the broad deck offers the most stunning views of the harbour and the sailing boats.
But you don’t have to be a member of the club or a local to visit this restaurant, let me show you that it is indeed not a bad idea at all to travel to Foy’s for some outstanding fare.
We were warmly welcomed for our visit, and after some deliberation with the manager we agreed to sample a number of dishes off the new menu, starters as well as mains that sounded incredibly promising and exciting. So don’t think that portions were small or that we were insatiable guests – we were just given a number of dishes to get a better picture of the menu’s themes.
We started with a selection of cured meats and cheeses, which was exactly what you would expect, but with the added bonus of some slices of pickled apple, which was definitely our surprise find of the day. Beautifully presented, this platter will be a great start to any bigger lunch event, where guests share their food while waiting for their mains.
Another great starter, as it turned out, were the grilled prawns with garlic lemon on parsley. Nice and fresh, big in size and well seasoned, these prawns were a finger-licking treat that you might want to share with your friends but you might actually want to keep all to yourself.
Absolutely wonderful also, and I expect nothing less from a sailing club’s house restaurant, was the plate of Tasmanian salmon. Cured in tequila, lime and cumin, there were a number of really fine flavours going on with that seafood starter, in particular when you enjoy it with the wafers and the little, delicate droplets of creme fraîche. Light and fresh flavours that you cannot help but be extremely excited about.
On to the mains –
We loved both of our mains, but let me explain while the Squardron seafood platter in particular is a great plate that you will just love to share with your friends. There were grilled prawns, just like the ones I mentioned earlier which came out as a starter, but then there was also grilled octopus which I just loved due to the intense BBQ flavours, the subtle lemon and thyme seasoning and the soft texture.
Equally palatable, the fried calamari pieces which I was absolutely unwilling to share with my poor friend who eventually had to settle for a bigger share of the market-fresh fish which is also part of the platter. Our fish of the day was Barramundi with a lovely crisp skin, beautifully prepared and flawless in any way.
And while you really cannot go wrong with seafood and fish dishes at Foy’s you may actually prefer a meat option. In that case let me assure you that the slow-roasted lamb shoulder served with rosemary aioli won’t disappoint either. Cooked to perfection, we found the meat to be juicy, flavoursome and succulent, perfect for a hearty meal if you are not so much into seafood options.
As a stand-alone dish or maybe as an accompaniment to share, the beetroot salad is a great option. Roasted beetroot, Bulgarian feta, roast pumpkin seeds – this is a very classic offering that complemented wonderfully both the seafood platter as well as the lamb shoulder.
And don’t you think that Foy’s will let you go without tempting you to try a sweet treat after your mains – there are three desserts to choose from at Foy’s, and even though the boozy affogato sounded great, we opted for the banoffee dish since bananas and caramel make a divine couple that you need to invite over to your table ever so often.
And here it was: a caramelised banana, cut lengthwise and sprinkled with crumbled sweet pastry and drops of mascarpone. Delicately sweet, yet not too sweet or too rich, and definitely a dessert I would order over and over again.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable experience.
We loved the straightforward, light and flavoursome dishes, that do fit in so perfectly with the clean and bright interiors of the restaurant.
Ideally, if you can, secure a space on the deck for those winning harbour views – so romantic!
Foy’s Kirribilli, 76 McDougall Street, Kirribilli. http://www.foyskirribilli.com
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