Named for Cronulla’s first copper, Henry Tugwell, a man set with the unenviable task of patrolling the beach on horseback in a woollen suit and helmet, Henrys is somewhere you can get stuck into some serious libation.
Just a block or so back from the famous beach you’ll find a surprisingly interesting list of wines, that goes all the way up to a 2005 Penfolds Grange Shiraz ($780/bottle), coupled with well-considered cocktails.
Even at its everyday end, this succinct wine list delivers, with a 2014 Paul Jaboulet Parallele 45 Rosé ($11/glass) coming up with the savoury goods to complement a Chicken Liver Parfait ($23). This well-proportioned share plate presents a quenelle of smooth, unoxidised parfait with toast and house-pickled vegetables, under a feathery cloud of shaved foie gras. It feels both decadent and delicious; particularly against the salmon pink Rosé.
It's the Kingfish Crudo ($20) that really makes me sit up and pay attention. This masterful combination of raw kingfish, horseradish, oyster emulsion, avruga caviar and colourful fine ribbons of heirloom vegetables is at once briny and delicate enough to showcase the beautiful fish. It is testament to the talent of Brazilian Head Chef Rafael Tonon, who you might know from his time at Barrio Chino.
Look to the pale pink La Dolce Bitter ($20) for a foil to this menu highlight. Combining gin, Campari, Aperol, amaro, lemon and grapefruit juices into a bitter-sweet, recognisably Italianate cocktail, it's got Spring in Sydney written all over it.
This Bondi-based chef is definitely in touch with beach culture, producing a solid array of cold dishes that are lean on starches. His pretty Scallop & Prawn ‘Fettuccine’ ($21) is created by cooking prawn and scallop meat sous vide, then flattening it and cutting it into pasta-like ribbons.
And while the Wagyu Bresaola ($24) sits under enough shaved truffled Parmesan to make it slightly more naughty, it’s fleshed out with a 63-degree (runny) egg and Jerusalem artichoke rather than served on bread.
Sitting back and pondering my meal over a clever rum-based espresso martini update, Rumbunctious ($18), you can colour me impressed. If this spot demonstrates the standard of the Publica Group (who also own Clubhouse Rosebery and Goldfish Bar & Kitchen in the Hunter Valley) this area is in for a real treat when their redevelopment of the waterfront Pavilion Gunnamatta is completed next year. I'm quite looking forward to it myself.
1 Ocean Grove Avenue, Cronulla