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Sunday 24 July 2016

The best place in Sydney for a quiet drink?

Have you ever pondered where to take a visitor to Sydney for a late afternoon drink? 

Somewhere to watch the sunset and have a quiet glass of wine, or some nibbles?

Regatta at Rose Bay, where veteran chef Damien Pignolet (ex Claude's and Bistro Moncur) oversees the food, is the perfect spot. It's not over-run by tourists or thirsty after-work imbibers and offers fabulous views of the harbor and its ferries.

The vistas from the deck and window seats are enough to make any visitor swoon; luxury yachts and motor cruisers abound at Rose Bay - a little flashy, but hey this is Sydney. 

And did I mention the Negronis are pretty special, made from Bombay gin with Campari and Oscar .697 sweet vermouth? 

I found myself at Regatta twice recently over a 24-hour period and even as a long-time former Sydney resident I was impressed by the style and the modern European/bistro feel.

Regatta has been through several previous incarnations. It was Pier, and then, briefly, Sailor's Club. It sits on a pier that’s now part of the spectacular Rose Bay Marina. It dates back to the 1920s and was run as a fish and chip shop in the 1950s by the Doyle family.

Today, it is rather more upmarket with a dining room, bar and café. Unlike some of Sydney's snootier establishments, guests at Regatta are welcome to just sit back and enjoy a drink and a snack. 

The bar menu includes little treats like tuna tartare cones, snapper and ham hock croquettes, shelled prawns with mayonnaise, and, appropriately given its history; both oysters with eschalot vinegar and good old fish and chips.

They can be matched with a bellini (pretend you are in Venice), or maybe a glass of Jansz Premium Cuvée, Dennis Pommier Chablis, an Antinori Chianti Classico, or perhaps a glass of Provencal rosé. 

The ambience is smart casual and fun - the staff not only know their stuff but seem to have fun while working. Which all helps the vibe of being at a party at a friend's luxury beach house. 

If you want to stay for dinner, dishes like crab omelette with sorrel sauce, carpaccio of Hiramasu kingfish, veal cutlet with a cep sauce and spatchcock with coriander seed and chicken jus vinaigrette just might sway you. 

The wines by the bottle have also been deftly selected with a good balance between Australian classics and good imports.

And prices are quite realistic by Sydney standards. Very impressive.

Regatta Restaurant and Bar, 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, 2029. (02) 9327 6561.

# The writer was a guest of Regatta Restaurant and Bar. 



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