Deck Bar and Dining

A few weeks ago Carl and I went to dinner in Dee Why, a beachside suburb on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Deck Bar and Dining on the night of a heatwave

Deck Bar and Dining on the night of a heatwave

I first found out about Dee Why beach when I was about 14 and sitting in art class opposite a boy whose father was a policeman in Dee Why.  Mark used to tell us stories about how one of his father’s jobs was to walk up and down Dee Why beach asking all the topless sunbathers to put their tops back on and cover up.  And my friend and I would think that was hilarious and get the giggles.  And Mark would get annoyed and hotly say, ‘And you probably think dad loves this job, but he says it’s embarrassing’.

Dee Why Beach at around 7pm at night on a very hot summer's night

Dee Why Beach at around 7pm on a very hot summer’s night

As a teenager growing up on the North Shore, Dee Why was the closest beach I could get to on public transport.  Hoards of teenagers like me would walk to the station carrying our towels, surfboards and lime scented Reef Oil, catch the train and then a bus headed for Dee Why.  The beach was always stunning; Dee Why would have to be one of the prettiest beaches in Sydney, but the strip along the esplanade was lined with grotty shops owned by migrants working in non-air-conditioned premises frying food like chicko rolls  in over-used oil and selling coconut scented surf wax and Winfield Blue cigarettes marketed by Paul Hogan.

_B1I6440But Dee Why has changed.  The beach is even more beautiful and the grotty, rancid-smelling shops are long-gone and have been replaced by trendy bars and restaurants where everyone wants to be seen.

Deck Bar and Dining has recently changed ownership and with the new ownership has come a renovation with a bar downstairs where live music plays four nights a week and upstairs is a funky mix of hanging chairs, day beds, dining tables and billowing curtains.

Part of the funky interior at Deck Bar and Dining

Part of the funky interior at Deck Bar and Dining

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The bar

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The downstairs bar

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The open ‘ceiling’ between the two levels of Deck

The open ceiling between upstairs and down

Although on two levels the clever architecture combines the two

Head chef, Nicholas Baldwin, has recently returned from an extensive tour of Asia where he fell in love with the culture of street food and has brought this casual, shared-plate, modestly-priced, ‘hands-on’ style of dining to the restaurant.

We were seated in the upstairs dining room at the front table overlooking the beach where your eye could follow the water right out to the Pacific Ocean.  At 6.30pm the beach was still in full sun and there were many swimmers still enjoying the water and the incredibly warm evening.  Casting our eyes towards the horizon gave the feeling of being seated in the middle of a patch of paradise.

Our waitress was your typical-looking bronzed Aussie with the fresh face, blond hair and tanned skin – except she’s a Kiwi!  The waitresses are all dressed casually in short short with t-shirts which helps to give the restaurant the vibe of this being a great place relax.

We started the evening with a cocktail.  I glanced down the menu but there was one that grabbed my attention because it reminded me of ‘that’ episode in Seinfeld where he says, ‘it rhymes with a female body part’.  I just had to try the ‘Velvet Vulva’.  I’m not too sure how I should describe this but it was pretty, fluffy, soft and very velvety.  It was more sour than sweet and not too over-powered with alcohol which is how I prefer my cocktails.  Carl had an ‘Illegal Mexican Sazerac’ that he loved because it was laced with tequila.

An Illegal Mexican and a Velvet Vulva

An Illegal Mexican $18 and a Velvet Vulva $16

Reclining on the day bed with my 'vulva'!

Why not enjoy your ‘vulva’ on a day bed overlooking the Pacific!

We ordered some shared plates and started with the guacamole that arrived in a mortar and pestle where you bashed it yourself and added additional ingredients to suit your own taste.  This was a pleasantly surprising way to have have the guacamole served and it was greatly enjoyed with the chef’s house-made tostadas.

Guacamole with

How fresh does this look!  Guacamole with house-made tostadas

Guacamole

Bashing up my dinner!

We shared the quesadillas filled with cheese and pulled pork that had been slow-roasted for about a day.  Each mouthful of tender pork was given a little zing by the passionfruit and chervil salad that had all the flavours of summer.

Cheese with Passionfruit Sauce

Quesadillas with pulled pork and cilantro mayonnaise with fresh passionfruit and chervil salad $9

On such a hot night it was lovely to have something cold and we enjoyed the Vietnamese Spring Rolls that were full of deliciously fresh and crunchy vegetables, mint and one of my most favourite herbs, Thai basil.

Vietnamese Rolls

Vietnamese Rolls $18

The Chinese Potstickers arrived next and they were crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth on the inside.  ‘Sensational’, said Carl, as he dipped his second one into the chilli dipping sauce.

Potstickers

Chinese Potstickers $15

We shared the Malaysian Satay Skewers and found this to be a very generous portion.  The chargrilled chicken was full of flavour and very tender however I felt the peanuts in the satay sauce were a little too roasted.  Carl thought they were perfect!

Chicken Satay Skewers

Malaysian Satay Skewers $18

The next dish to arrive was the salt and pepper squid.  Carl said it was the most tender calamari he had ever had.  He hunted down the chef to ask him how he made it so tender.  He said it was in the scoring and then you cook it only briefly.  The tang and crunch from the green mango salad was a perfect accompaniment to the saltiness of the squid.

Salt and Pepper Squid with Green Mango Salad

Salt and Pepper Squid with Green Mango Salad

On such a hot night, why not have another drink!  I ordered the Angel Cove Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Carl had a Mexican beer.

Angel Cove Sauvignon Blanc and Bohemia Mexican Beer

Angel Cove Sauvignon Blanc $7  Bohemia Mexican Beer

For dessert we really wanted to try the ‘adults only sorbets’ that come in a range of alcoholic flavours however, these were all sold out.  Popular!  We ordered the picarones that arrived on a board and these donuts were made with sweet potato and pumpkin and drenched in a fruit syrup.  The donuts were beautifully spiced and the fresh berries helped to balance the sweetness of the fruit syrup.  This was a very generously plated dish and was definitely enough for more than one.

Sweet Potato Donuts

Picarones $12

But…we didn’t stop there and also ordered the Chocolate Soup with fresh berries, house made marshmallows and honeycomb.  Unfortunately, due to the extreme heat, the chef had been unable to make the honeycomb – it doesn’t fair well in hot, humid conditions.  I’ll have to come back in winter.  But the chocolate soup was smooth and velvety with dark cocoa flavours that were beautifully balanced by the fresh fruit and marshmallows.  This is another dish perfect for sharing.

Chocolate Soup with fresh berries and house-made marshmallows

Chocolate Soup $16

Chocolate Soup - a dessert for two!

‘Oh go on…have just one more dip’!

You’d be winning the lotto if you found a park outside the restaurant or anywhere in the street so bring shoes you can walk in and park in the beach car park a few minutes away.  If you are looking for a relaxed and casual dining experience with that ever-popular shared-plate experience, I can thoroughly recommend Deck Bar and Dining.  They throw in an incredible view for free!

Pretty young things having a swing and looking out to sea

Pretty young things having a swing and looking out to the Pacific

Hotly Spiced dined as a guest of Deck Bar and Dining.

Deck Bar and Dining:

Deck 2/23 The Strand
Dee Why NSW 2099
EMAIL: info@deck23.com.au
CALL: (02) 99710744

 

 

Comments

  1. Lovely memories of your childhood. What a lovely break to take with your hubby. Great drinks, great food … good times. :)

  2. This is my style of eating!

  3. What a restaurant! It sounds like a wonderful place to relax – that photo of you kicked back on the day bed says it all. I liked the memories from your childhood too, and it’s great that the casual beach vibe has been retained whilst the grottiness is gone. It sounds like a great part of Sydney.

  4. The food all looks fantastic! Mouth wateringly fresh and delicious! What a wonderful way of eating!

  5. What an interesting mix of food and drinks, with even more interesting names! Looks like you had a great time there! Being from Melbourne, the first time I’ve heard of Dee Why was as a team on It’s A Knockout!, and it used to make me think that there are some strangely named places up north lol!

  6. Beautiful beach and tempting food. Wow, you sure do get around, food-wise – your food adventures sound such fun.

  7. Seems so delicious; seems so enjoyable; seems like a dream… I loved this bed at the windows… You are so nice too. Thank you dear Charlie, have a nice week, love, nia

  8. My kind of dining place. That’s such a nice varied variety of dishes you ordered. Beautiful scenery, a walk on the beach after the meal would be the perfect ending to a gorgeous outing.

  9. This restaurant and the food look sensational. Love the bright and airy atmosphere and the variety of foods. But that looks like a lot to eat in one sitting.

  10. That sounds like a restaurant worth flying across an ocean to enjoy:D It’s only early morning here, but I’d have this for breakfast if I could!

  11. Looks wonderful. Satay and potstickers are favorites of mine.

    But what I was really struck by was the trees on the beach. Those are such interesting looking trees!

  12. Wow, that meal looks fantastic. And you reminded me how much I love vietnames spring rolls- i need to make some soon!

  13. The day bed seating looks like a great way to relax! I love getting shared plates. I never feel too full and I get to try more things than I otherwise would. This sounds like it was a great date night. I’d love to check out Dee Why one of these days. :)

  14. I love the decor! So organic and relaxing, they’d have to kick me out haha.
    And I’m just dreaming of summer, looking at your photos.

  15. Looks beautiful. And sounds fantastic. What a great date night! I’m curious about what is in a “Velvet Vulva”.

  16. I need those swings in my life. Although “chocolate soup” makes me go “ugh”, I must admit! I’d actually rather the savouries :)

  17. I feel overwhelmed by all the delicious dishes you ate my friend, brilliant post :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Loved this post and your review of Deck. Made me homesick, my mum lives up the road and we’ve had some lovely meals here. Gonna phone my mum!

  19. Oh that place looks amazing, I love the swings and the day bed!!! Relaxing whilst eating is the way to go. Every morsel of your meal looked unbelievable and very good value! I have no idea how you made it through all that food though, Wowwy, oh and lol Velvet vulva ;)

  20. I love the day bed idea for a restaurant!

  21. Did they ever reveal the girls name on that episode? I try and recall names with word association too, so found that really funny:)
    I like the style of this place- nice, fresh and relaxed. I do like the guacamole, but can just imagine a burly boyfriend bashing enthusiastically and his carefully coiffed girlfriend splattered with avocado head to foot :) I’d pay extra to see that!

  22. I am impressed of the various cuisines offered here. I wasn’t sure where exactly in the world I was :P

  23. What a great & airy looking place !! This restaurant would be so totally something for me! The food dishes look amazing & are having Pacific views! Awesome!

    Thanks for the grand & tasty tour! :) xxx

  24. What a great night out and what an incredible find. Usually, our beach-side restaurants tend to be, putting it mildly, they tend to be dumps cooking up only the greasiest disgusting burgers, fries and hot dogs. This place looks great, serves delicious foods and has an incredible view. Glad it worked out so well.

  25. What a great way to serve guacamole. I’ve never seen that done before. It would be easier for them to do and so much more exciting for the guest!
    Looks like a great place. I’ll have to tell Will you used another Seinfeld reference. He was even more disappointed he missed out on drinks at the coast when I told him you love Seinfeld.

  26. I haven’t been to Dee Why in years. When we had the boat in Brooklyn we went down there to a bbq store and got one and just up the street we bought a new tender when someone stole ours. I remarked then that surely they could have a place that served decent food since the beach was so lovely.

    Great post and I’d love to eat there!

  27. Slurp, I’m sure I have been there but not in the present incarnation, and must try it. I feel full just reading the post. Lovely photos… I think I might start off the meal with that chocolate soup!

  28. I’m not sure about preparing ny own meal but that daybed definitely has my approval. That feast looked wonderful. If I am ever over that way…

  29. I really want that guacamole. I think it’s a shame when quaint little places go trendy, but I’m glad it was delicious!

  30. The food looks delicious and the little story was even more delicious, lol!! Lovely post!!

  31. It has been SO long since I visited Dee Why but it’s good to know that there are now some great options to dine at! I remember that there was a great Indian grocery store there. I wonder if it is still around?

  32. What a treat! All that guacamole, satay, mexican beer and hello to the chocolate dipping!

  33. Are there still lots of topless people on the beach?

    What a delicious meal. The velvet vulva sounds like quite the drink :P

  34. Ooh, I also want to go there – fabulous!
    :-) Mandy xo

  35. What a fabulous way to spend the day! Gorgeous views, obvious great company, fabulous food and some really good people watching. :) One of the things I found interesting was that there were no stools at the bar. In the US all bars are surrounded by people, right in the bartenders’ faces. Nice story about how things have changes since you were a teenager.

  36. Nice! Food and drinks look great! Beach looks pretty awesome too. It was a nice date night for you and Carl!

  37. Doesn’t the food look good! Especially the DIY guacamole!! And the view is just stunning, it’s been decades since I’ve been to Dee Why..sigh.. x

  38. There is life beyond Surry Hills!!!. Funny I have a few friends that live out that way. No wonder they dont come back into the city after dark anymore. You must have been exploding after all that generously proportioned food

  39. I’ve got to get my hands on that green mango salad =)

  40. It all looks wonderful! The guacamole is a really good idea. It’s always best fresh, and it saves the chefs a bit of work! ;)

  41. I love this place (by looking at all of your pictures!) and food looks fantastic. Lots of food that I’d order too. I am even jealous of your heat…as I get older, cold weather (okay but California winter is not really “winter”) is too harsh on my body… LOL. I wish I can just jump in to this post and enjoy meal with you!

  42. Looks like a cute place with a great view! I love that you can make your own guacamole too hehe. I actually grew up in the next suburb over (Freshwater) and went to high school around the corner (at manly high) hehe.

  43. Am laughing: one of the smaller businesses we owned way back when [and I mean that!] was the Dee Why Sufrider Motel: I guess that has long passed its use-by-date? Right on the beach with rooftop dining on a somewhat less sophisticated style :D !

  44. Everything looks amazing and delicious, especially those spring rolls. I am particularly fond of those. I have to admit that I scoured the beach photograph, looking for one of those topless sunbathers, but as you say, the place appears to have really cleaned up!

  45. Such and fun place…I love all the different food that you had over there…they all look so good…and nothing nicer than be by the water.
    Have a wonderful week Charlie!

  46. Have you ever thought about doing magazine writing? I found some Australian magazines looking for short story submissions– be happy to send them your way!

  47. This looks like a fantastic dining place from both a food and location perspective. Love that you got to “make” your own guacamole. Such a beautiful beach!

  48. What a great spot and location to spend a warm Summer’s night. Good drinks, tasty food, and a view of the ocean. What more could you want? And going “shared plate” was definitely the right idea. You get to sample more dishes and no one overeats. I’d say you guys had quite a night.

  49. Awww how sweet that you and your hubby got some ‘alone’ time :) You have super long legs!!! Loved that picture of you relaxing you really deserve it!

    And OMG That chocolate SOUP!!! :D

  50. What a great place! I love hearing about places I haven’t been (and in this case, am unlikely to get to). And thanks for introducing us to the Velvet Vulva. It sounds delectable. Fun post – thanks.

  51. Oh, I would kill for summer, a cocktail and a day bed right now!

  52. Beautiful memories of you childhood. The Deck bar right now is all I need!!!!!! summer please!….Amusing meals and cocktails! You are very lucky! :) enjoy it!

  53. I loved the looks of the beach! And the bar looks so fresh and cool! I especially liked the idea to serve tha avocado slices in a mortar so you can mash it yourself to the desired texture.

  54. What a beautiful beach! I love the look of the restaurants, and with this post I really tapped into how similar our environments are, except for the opposite seasons. LOL! In another few months this will be very much like my view of the Pacific Ocean. Isn’t it fun that we share such a beautiful body of water. Can you possibly tell me what kind trees those are in the second photo. I’m not familiar! What a lovely day you had. :-)

  55. Bash-your-own-guacamole sounds like great fun, not to mention ultra fresh. I’m enjoying your dinner outing (vicariously) very much and yes, I do remember that episode. :)

  56. I seriously LOVE that place but I can never even get close to the Daybed you lucky duck! xx

  57. Nice memories to share with us of your childhood.

    What a relaxing day. Everything about it looks lovely.

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