Admission: when I started this job, I wasn’t keen on beer.
Normally I’d side step the issue by drinking something like the lovely Ginger Kegs ($10), made by The Sunshine Coast Brewery using Buderim Ginger, and incidentally a great match for the Pork Koftas in Tomato Ragout ($12).
However, the silver-tongued (and nicely tattooed) owner Dan Hampton convinced me to try a 4 Pines Pale Ale ($7.50). With a whiff of pine on the nose, this is one fabulous locally made beer. Dan’s a great advocate for the Manly-based brewer, who “eats here all the time, he’s a legend.” He has a sense of humour too, if his barcode’s anything to go by.
Dan and his wife Emma take over this café-by-day five nights of the week in a ‘pop-up’ type arrangement. Using lamps and a music selection that favours the acoustic guitar, they turn it into a laidback beachside drinking space where unique and boutique beers (and wines) sing against simple sharing boards. Chef Tim Dengate’s known for Salt and Pepper Squid ($12/$20), so insanely tender it’s almost too soft!
I’m more excited by his crisp Ale Battered Catch of the Day ($15/$25). It was Silver Dory on the day I dined; served with spicy hand-cut wedges and burnt lemon.
My evening included more drinks and dishes, like the Seared Sirloin Sliced and Served with Chimichurri ($18) above, but I've already given you my highlights.
After all, who goes to a dining spot for the beans or the side salad? Even if they do come as Blanched Green Beans with Chilli and Poppy Seed Dressing ($6) and a slightly overdressed Rocket and Parmesan Salad with Roasted Pepitas ($7)!
Go for the beers, the food's exactly what it should be to show them off a treat!
Coogee Café… After Dark
221 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
Ph: (02) 9665 5779