Coogee Pavilion, Coogee Beach

We take a first look at the ground floor of the newly-opened Coogee Pavilion.

When Merivale announced it was acquiring Coogee’s Beach Palace Hotel, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation from locals and residents – like ourselves – who have long regarded the area as a dining and drinking vacuum. The beachside suburb has in recent years been catering to its backpacker population but that was soon to change.

Coogee Pavilion was to come along with the premise of a family-friendly venue and on Thursday 24 July, the doors opened to the ground floor – and how.

Photography © by Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

If you’re familiar with the old, dark and dilapidated Beach Palace Hotel, stepping into the ground floor of Coogee Pavilion is a breath of fresh sea air. Bright interiors, white washed surfaces, distressed walls and accents of blue are at one with the beachside location. You’re welcomed by a florist near the entrance, a Love Juice stand sells cold pressed juices, smoothies and raw chocolates and Will & Co coffee cart is serving up their locally brewed blend with a takeaway option.

The venue is heaving with patrons of all ages. There’s standing room only at the U-shaped bar with busy staff pumping out cold ales and wines. At the rear of the venue, the kids’ space is alive with ping pong tables, a Scrabble board, a mini library set against a colourful mural with a sand pit. A soon-to-open Barber Shop sits near the amenities and a trio of vintage men’s swimwear adorns a bare wall.

The open plan kitchen runs to one side with the mini lobster rolls being the most popular item served. The kitchen is headed by Jordan Toft (Executive Chef) and Zac Sykes (Head Chef) with a menu that is produce-driven, seasonal and at one with its coastal location. A weekend breakfast menu designed by Danielle Alvarez ex Chez Panisse in San Francisco and The French Laundry will start on 2nd August from 7am with dishes such as smoked Ocean Trout board with rye bread and herbed willowbrae goats curd; and blueberry pancakes with warm maple syrup.

There’s an enticing raw bar with a selection of freshly-shucked oysters, prawns, crabs, Balmain bugs and oysters with a sushi station nearby. The wood-fired pizza oven by Vinnie’s Pizzeria is running hot with orders, the deliveries leaving a trail of tantalising aromas behind. A small bar offers a solid selection of cocktails and mixed drinks. Food will have to wait as there is standing room only yet a waitress manages to locate a spot in which to enjoy a couple of cold ales and welcome Coogee Pavilion to the neighbourhood.

The vibe at Coogee Pavilion is one that is at harmony with its locality. Look around, and you’ll see everyone from infants to the elderly, from couples to friends and families enjoying the offerings and hospitality – a snapshot of the local beach-loving community.

Coogee Pavilion
169 Dolphin St
Coogee, NSW, 2034

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.