Ripples is one of those Sydney institutions that is well renowned for providing quality food at reasonable prices, topped off with an amazing view. So needless to say I was happy to receive a Ripples gift voucher for Christmas last year!
Located at Middle Head at the end of Chowder Bay Road, Ripples Chowder Bay is one of two Ripples restaurants owned and run by the Sydney Restaurant Group, which boasts a strong portfolio of restaurants including Aqua Dining, Ormeggio at the Spit, LuMi Bar & Dining, and Ripples Milsons Point. As with many of its other venues, the Chowder Bay restaurant is right on the water and provides a stunning backdrop for your meal.
The Chowder Bay menu is ever so slightly more refined than the Milsons Point one (in my opnion, anyway), and I was pretty excited to see plenty of seafood options (but let's be honest, I'd already looked at the menu online waaay in advance!). I never have any reservations about choosing seafood for both entree and main, and so I went with the Sardines on Toasted Brioche ($21) for my entree and the Barramundi with Quinoa Salad for main, while Mrs T chose the Yamba Prawns ($22) and Beef Tenderloins with Porcini Puree ($35).
I'm a sucker for fresh sardines (particularly given that they're rarely found on Australian menus), and these ones didn't disappoint. Lightly grilled, they were paired well with the tomato and onion salsa and crispy brioche. I would have preferred the sardine-to-brioche ratio to be more in favour of the protein - but I suppose it partly comes down to the size of the fish and fillet! The Yamba Prawns were juicy and the confit baby calamari was soft and buttery.
As an aside - despite being the most heavily fished species in Australia, sardines are a very sustainable source of fish as they reproduce quickly. However, less than 5% of the sardines caught here are actually eaten by humans, with the remainder being used as feed for larger fish. So next time you see fresh sardines on the menu or at the fishmonger's - give them a go! (Don't worry... I'm not a fan of tinned sardines either!)
The barramundi with quinoa salad isn't something I'd usually order (salad for dinner? as a main meal? no thanks!), but given it was a warm summer's evening and that quinoa is pretty filling, I thought I'd give it a go. The dish looked beautiful and the barramundi was cooked nicely - although the skin could have been little bit more crispy. The salad and cilantro pesto were quite refreshing, with the black olives providing a welcome salty note.
For dessert we chose the Chocolate Marquise with pistachio cream, chocolate crumbs and red wine gel ($15). The marquise was soft and creamy, with some slight bitterness coming through at the end and the red wine gel providing some acidity.
Ripples Chowder Bay is a great spot to have a family celebration, catch up with friends, or have a romantic dinner. If you're going on a warm evening, I'd definitely recommend asking for an outside table when you book (although bring sunglasses for when the sun is reflecting off the water!). Service was friendly and unobstrusive, and the food was refined without being over the top.
Building 7, Deck C, Chowder Bay Road, Mosman
(02) 9960 3000