Located on the top level of the Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, The Avalon on the Beach should be at the top of your list of new beachside eateries to spend a lazy weekend. Made over by the Trippas White Group (the group behind iconic dining locations in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Tower and Centennial and Queens Parks), the relaxed space is bright and simple, characterised by light woods with colour hits of avocado and sea foam, and the rhythmic sound of rolling waves serves to mask the brunch crowd chatter. The restaurant is almost entirely glass, so no matter where you're seated you can enjoy the view — a view so amazing, it makes you feel like you're a featured extra in a double page spread for Tourism Australia.
The seasonal menu is an interesting mix of beachside classics like burgers and seafood and more adventurous pasta dishes — a quiet nod to the head chef Athos Galassi's Italian heritage. The entrees are predominantly ocean themed, which seems fitting given The Avalon is basically hovering over the ocean. Our favourite was the South Coast tuna sashimi ($19) served on an ocean blue plate. The generous slabs of tuna were lightly coated in a ginger soy dressing and topped with crisp straws of fresh celery and green apple. The only way you could get fresher seafood would be to jump down into the sea, and take a bite out of an unsuspecting fish on his way home from work.
If you prefer something a little cosier, the handmade gnocchi with rich oxtail ragu ($19) possessed a similar melt-in-the-mouth quality. The gnocchi was buttery and cheesy, yet remained light enough to be a good entree.
The mains are refreshingly substantial, with the dishes showcasing local and sustainable produce. The spinach and ricotta rotolo ($24) with sage and porcini mushrooms served with tumble of chestnuts was proper comfort food but lacked an acidic element to cut through the earthiness of cooked chestnuts. The whole barramundi fish with vine ripened tomatoes and salsa verde ($35) was definitely the highlight. Perfectly succulent and buttery, with acidic bursts of bright tomatoes, the dish was a well-balanced tip of the hat to the sea and all its friends.
It is the duty of any trendy beachside eatery worth its weight in Himalayan pink rock salt to be making some high-quality chips, and these ones don't disappoint. Crisp and lightly coated in salt and rosemary, these chips ($9) are so moreish you'll regret not ordering a helping each. If you require less calories in your side, the side of beans with almonds ($9) come lightly tossed in butter and serve to brighten the heavier meat mains.
As for desserts, the Avalon choc top ($12) — a classic wafer cone filled with chocolate mousse, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with uncrackable chocolate and dusted with freeze dried raspberries — sounded like a perfect meal ender but proved a little underwhelming. The chocolate was far too thick, and the ice cream was rock hard, which made it particularly challenging to eat. The cone was puzzlingly served in a glass tumbler. You'd be better off running down to the beach for a classic Mr Whippy soft serve.
The passionfruit panna cotta ($14), on the other hand, was amazing. Light, creamy panna cotta topped with a passionfruit jelly, almond crumble and generous scoop of mandarin sorbet — it's everything you want in your mouth and more while you take in the breathtaking vista.
The Avalon on the Beach includes a kiosk for casual takeaways.