Blacksmith, Mona Vale – Cafe, Restaurant and Cocktail Bar

A few weeks ago I was meeting a friend of mine for lunch in Mona Vale.  We had an Asian noodle bar in mind but as Lou was walking through Pittwater Place she noticed Blacksmith.  And with its bold fit-out, it certainly makes a statement.  Considering it used to be a shoe shop, this is definitely a space where a lot of thought, planning and skill has gone into producing a great looking cafe.



One half of the restaurant is within the Pittwater Place Shopping Centre and the other half opens onto Park Street.  With its dark and netal exterior, it’s certainly a visual force on the shopping centre that is architecturally bland.  The fit-out of the restaurant is very eye-catching and to me, apart from the fact you can’t sit up at the bar, looks very New York.

The bar

The bar

The ‘blacksmith’ theme is very evident with a polished concrete floor, lots of metal twisting around doors and lampshades and dark wooden walls and a blackened ceiling making your feel like you are stepping inside a blacksmith’s workshop.

Indoor and outdoor seating

Indoor and outdoor seating

With the cafe spilling out onto a paved courtyard with plenty of seating, I can imagine this will be a very good place to meet with friends at the end of the day to enjoy a few cocktails.  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there’s a happy hour from 5-7pm and on occasions there’s also live music.

Love the scales weighing the newspapers

Love the scales weighing the newspapers

Despite only being open for a week, the cafe was bustling.  The interior is quite dark and the lighting low which also gave it a New York feel.  In terms of seating, there seems to be an eclectic mix.  The booths looked the most comfortable but they were occupied so we found a table for two towards the back of the restaurant near the kitchen.  The table was very small and difficult to put your legs under and we had to sit on stools and there was no where to put your bag.  It was quite uncomfortable but never mind, the atmosphere was great.



The menu appeared quickly and it is like a clipboard folder with metal backing and a leather front.  I was hoping the menu would be as exciting and as interesting as the interior but alas, the lunch menu was pretty much just a selection of ‘gourmet baguettes’.  There is an ‘all day’ breakfast menu that you can order from until 3pm however we wanted lunch.

Leather menu

Leather menu

I ordered the steak sandwich which came with pickles and a spicy chutney.  I asked for the steak to be rare and it was but the steak was a little tough.

Steak Sandwich:  $17.00

Steak Sandwich: $17.00

I thought the steak sandwich might have come with some fries but when it arrived on its own I asked for a serve of hot chips.  I didn’t realise the fries would cost $8.00 taking the price of my lunch to $25.00 that I thought was quite expensive.

Chips with aioli:  $8.00

Chips with aioli: $8.00

Lou ordered the Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken baguette and thought it was lacking in Vietnamese lemongrass flavours and that there was very little chicken but at least she likes green leaves.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken baguette:  $12.50

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken baguette: $12.50

Afterwards we thought we’d like something sweet and so I went up to the counter and selected two cupcakes.  Mine was jaffa and Lou had the chocolate.  While they were lovely in presentation, unfortunately they were both stale with the icing tasting a little rancid.  I asked if they were made on-site and was told they’re outsourced.

Cupcakes:  $3.50

Cupcakes: $3.50

Overall, I found the menu to be lacking in excitement and the food to be rather just so-so.  However, when we were there Blacksmith had only been open for seven days and so I’m quite sure some of the issues we experienced were due to opening dramas.  I believe Blacksmith is a fantastic addition to Mona Vale’s dining and cocktail scene and with it’s impressive fit-out, I’d love to visit again in a couple of months to see how things have settled down since opening.

Metal doors on the unisex bathroom

Metal doors on the unisex bathroom

Verdict:  Brilliant vibe, menu needs to improve.


Takeaway coffee

Takeaway coffee

Blacksmith:  10 Park Street, Pittwater Place, Mona Vale NSW 2103

Ph:  02 9997 5483

Interior full of metal and wood

Interior full of metal and wood



  1. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says:

    This place looks gorgeous – the doors, the walls and even the menu seems to be presented well – guess not judging a book by its cover holds true for this place! Gah – sorry to hear the food was so “meh” – I sure hope you were able to get yalls money back on those stale cupcakes at least!

  2. Isn’t it a shame when something like that happens, restaurant looks fantastic but food is a let down – hopefully it is just teething issues and next time you will be blown away by it all – Have a happy weekend (well when it arrives lol)

  3. I think ( for the time being) their allocated money for fancy cupcakes and lemongrass chicken has been spent on metal doors. Love to get your cocktail hour revue before I venture in .

  4. Great looking place! Shame about the food but I’ve heard that happens when places first open. I hate a stale cupcake – but I hate stake banana bread even more!! I always ask for it fresh because I think some places toast it so you can’t tell… ;£

  5. It really is all about the food. It looks charming but that is about all it has going for it. Will be closed in less than 6 months. Sorry but the truth is that competition is fierce in F and B.

  6. Oh what a shame, it sounds like the meal was quite disappointing but the decor was nice.

  7. I would have preferred a so-so looking place and surprisingly fantastic food.

  8. Hopefully things will improve and people will give the a second chance to make a good ‘first impression’. Otherwise, they’ll have to close their doors.

  9. Dear Charlie,

    Shame about the steak sandwich. Whenever I’m in the northern beaches, I feel like having fish and chips though.

  10. Looks like a nice place to eat! Well, of course the food needs work, but the atmosphere looks inviting. Let’s hope they get up to speed on food quality and prep! Good review — thanks.

  11. What a cool looking space! I hope they get their act together and improve on the food!

  12. Looks like a cool spot. Hopefully they’ll get their act together soon!

  13. I love the rustic look of the restaurant! Hopefully they’ll iron out the kinks and make some better additions to their menu over the next couple of months. Those pickles on your plate looked terrible! 🙁

  14. Hopefully they’ll get their act together soon Charlie. Shame it was such a let down this time 🙁

  15. It is too bad that the food was not good…to be a good restaurant you will need more than look…
    Enjoy the rest of your week Charlie 😀

  16. nothing more disappointing than a cupcake that looks the business and then tastes really average.
    I think a revisit in a few months time sounds like a good idea.

  17. Its a shame the food was not up to standards, I hope they improve very soon!
    Great honest review!

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. What a pity the food doesn’t match the surroundings.

  19. it looks great but unisex bathroom!? no no no no!

  20. I hope they lift their game because it’s obvious people are giving them a good chance at making it a success.

  21. What a shame about the food (and seating) – the venue looks lovely and I like the recognition of where the store originated. If they could improve the food it would be a lovely spot to visit!

  22. It sounds a little disappointing, but as you say, it’s early days.

  23. That chicken sandwich is honestly one of the most unappetizing ones that I’ve seen in a while…still, hope they realize where they are lacking and improve. I like the ambiance though.

  24. They sure have a comfy rustic atmosphere! Hopefully they can iron out the kinks and serve some good food! Bummer on the cupcakes. Now that is disappointing!!

  25. It’s a cosy-looking place, though! $25 is expensive. Thanks for sharing!

    Gourmet Getaways

  26. Love the decor but BOO to the boring menu!

  27. It does have a great look! Hopefully the food issues will improve with time. Good thinking to give them another chance at a later date.

  28. That Vietnamese lemongrass chicken sandwich looks like having a lot of leaves! I wonder if it was not much in it, you could taste the marinade or seasonings more… maybe not. I’d be happy to eat that if it has nice lemongrass flavor. And french fries should not be a separate menu if you’re eating burgers! NO!? 😀

  29. Sounds aweful Charlie. Shame they wasted so much money on a bad food concept

  30. Never could understand why restaurants open before they have the food perfected, but then maybe they never will. The prices sounds quite high and I agree – a $17 sandwich definitely should have come with chips. At least it has a good atmosphere. Maybe next time, the food will be better.

  31. It is a little pricey for what you got, but then sometimes I’m guilty of paying entirely too much simply because I really enjoy a place. There’s a youthfulness about this place that I think could really catch on. And maybe the menu will improve. Send them your review and tell them it goes international–they need to step it up!

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