As you may have guessed I an absolute fan of Sydney, especially when there is a view involved. If that view contains water I think I’m in heaven because this really is the most delightful, graceful, photogenic city with its rivers and bays and harbour and beaches.
I feel even more supremely lucky if I can combine its icons – those icons – the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, the harbour itself and the city skyline, with my day or evening out. Add to this some good food…….. and I need not elaborate.
The thing is, if you are on the city side it is not at all easy to see all these landmarks from one place. To capture them you really must be on the north side of the harbour. It’s then you realize what an absolute coup the original owners of Luna Park made when they snaffled some of the most prime real estate in Sydney and built a fun park on it!
Everyone knows the jolly gaping smile of the Luna Park entrance as it beams over the foreshore and water towards the CBD. Nearby residents don’t find the place so funny, complaining about the squeals of people riding the Big Dipper. They should have known there would be hilarity as this place has entertained generations of Sydney-siders ever since it opened in October, 1935.
All this is leading up to my great joy the other night to dine at The Deck, a new restaurant opened right on the harbourside boardwalk that skirts Luna Park. Although the restaurant faces the harbour and perhaps one of the world’s best views, you could just as easily nip out the back for a ride on Luna Park’s carousel between courses. It is that close. You should definitely plan a romantic Ferris Wheel trip after dinner to enjoy the lights and water traffic from another angle.
But back to the food. My experience of tourist-spot dining has not always been good, so I was a little suspicious of what we might find.
I needn’t have worried. Executive chef Michael Roper, newly arrived from M on The Bund in Shanghai seems to have brought a pocketful of great recipes with him. The food was light, innovative and – well, just perfect for the surroundings. Think, salad of greens with baby beets topped with candied walnuts, pomegranate seeds and goats curd for starters.
My main course of crumbed and fried beef cheeks, parsley potatoes, sweet pea sprouts with sauce gribiche was heaven on a plate. I lied, it wasn’t so light, but the night was stormy and chilly – and it was so delicious I didn’t care. No one was allowed to share any of it, although the menu is devised with just that in mind, and shareable dishes are really the way to go here, I’m sure.
The Deck has outdoor dining and a wall of glass so no one misses out on all that harbour action: yachts, ferries, commuter boats. While the room is not overly pretentious, you know it doesn’t need to be. The designers planned it that way, to provide a comfortable backdrop for relaxed drinking and dining, allowing the outlook to complete the décor.
At the ‘prow’ of the restaurant – sorry, but you do get the feeling from time to time that you could simply slip the mooring rope and join all the other craft on the harbour – there are deep comfortable lounges for those who simply want a cocktail from the sleek bar, or to relax with a drink before dinner.
The Deck opened just before Christmas 2007 and I reckon it’s added another dimension to what has already been the fun end of town for over seventy years.
The Deck Sydney, The Boardwalk, 1 Olympic Drive, Milsons Point, NSW, 02 9033 7670, www.thedecksydney.com.au Open 8am-1am Wednesday-Saturday. 8am-midnight Sundays.