So I don’t have gestational diabetes (yay), and I am not anaemic (double yay), but I am iron deficient (boo hiss). It’s not exactly a massive surprise – despite eating plenty of iron-rich foods, I am really tired again, tired like the ‘sleeping disease’ style exhaustion that overtook me in the first 8 or so weeks of the first trimester. And because I don’t fancy eating liver – not now, not ever, no sir – it looks like iron supplements for me. Judging from everything I’ve heard, iron supplements might also be known as constipation capsules, so that’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? Oh well – I suppose all that prospective pushing and straining is good practice…
Now, to the food tour… the Babymoon was all about continuing our recent milkshake revival, and it gives me great pleasure to award Best Babymoon Milkshake to the Boat House, Palm Beach. We fancy ourselves milkshake connoisseurs, and theirs is truly exceptional, thanks in part to the availability of a key ingredient of my ideal milkshake that’s harder and harder to come by – malt – and the vessels in which these milky treats are served: tall, frosty glass beakers. They are excellent milkshakes. Indeed, the Boat House was probably our overall favourite, because it was casual and simple but beautifully done, and reasonable enough that we went once, twice, and again during our stay. Llew opted for the bucket of prawns both times we went for lunch, whereas I had a burger first (not such a success: they were out of buns and the bread replacement went soggy and fell apart) and fish and chips on our final day (the fish was great, piping hot, moist, encased in a firm, light, golden batter, but next time I may as well just order the fish half of the equation, because unless they’re shoestring fries, I don’t want ‘em). Our brunch sampling was an all-round winner: I went the field mushrooms and haloumi, and Llew’s house-baked beans with chorizo were delish. The coffee was also good, but, really, it was all about the milkshakes and the spot: the Boat House has absolutely stunning Pittwater views.
Just up the grassy knoll from the Boat House is Dunes, which we’d always poo-poohed at length because its position is so perverse, hidden as it is from any sort of view other than that of the car park. Given it sits right on the isthmus between Pittwater and the Pacific, this failure of situation verges on poor form. However, Llew’s parents love it, and so does their neighbour, and Palm Beach locals are a notoriously tough crowd. So off to Dunes we went, and… well, our food was lovely. It was one of those weird meals where we’d missed brunch and so had to order from the lunch menu even though we both ordered coffee the second we sat down, but once we sorted out this discombobulating food and beverage disjunction, we had a very nice meal. Both of us were suddenly ravenous for pasta, so after sharing a light citrusy Blue Swimmer Crab entrée (highly recommended – oh look, there’s a photo of it on their home page!), Llew went with chilli calamari and Moreton Bay bugs, mixed with tagliatelle & lobster butter sauce, while I devoured a linguini with roasted pumpkin, chilli, rocket, Pecorino cheese and lemon salsa verde: both unfussy, both flavourful and both deliciously fresh.
Our last Sunday, we headed to Beach Road for live jazz and a late lunch; it’s on the main road, but the restaurant is housed in a classic beach shack that still oozes plenty of charm and character. It was a mixed experience on the food front: the shared mezze plate in particular was uneven in both quality and interest. I also took a risk and ordered the risotto – something I rarely do out because a bad one is more depressing than a headful of lice – but was pleasantly surprised by a zingy springtime dish lousy with scampi pieces and lemony tang. Llew’s ocean trout was competent but lack lustre, but we were still very happy listening to the jazz and watching the wild weather alternately break and clear from the comfort of the old verandah.
I had no qualms eating at the Boat House and Dunes in my swimmers and a sarong, and Beach Road is pretty laid-backed too, but the area also has a couple of ‘posh nosh’ joints to its name. Barrenjoey House exudes a kind of ‘colonial chic’ vibe, and is a very atmospheric place for a romantic dinner. We had a terrific waiter the night we went, such an obliging, pleasant young man, and we both had nothing but praise for our food, despite what we’d heard from the previously mentioned harsh critics, who’d all warned us off the place. We shared a scallop entrée, then I went for the fabulous fish stew for my main, and Llew’s grain-fed rib eye made for a very happy date on the other side of the table. The chocolate fondant for dessert also met with his approval, and I did my best to assist. Definitely a thumbs up, and we’ll have to persuade the critics to give it another shot.
The big splurge, our foodie finale, was indisputably our loooong lunch at equally historic Jonah’s, which overlooks Whale Beach in spectacular fashion. Point-blank views of the Pacific are so wide-screen that you imagine you can actually make out the tilt of the Earth at the horizon; it is glorious. It’s no wonder many a nervous man has brought his lady love here to propose – it’s a very special backdrop for popping the question. We settled in and made the most of the excellent offerings on all fronts – Jonah’s is a hard place to fault, so I won’t even try.
Dr F was pretty alarmed this morning when I told him what the scales were saying as a result of all this chowing down, but I say it was all worthwhile.