Manly Restaurant Review - Northern Beaches Restaurant Reviews Our Manly
Miss Marley's Review -Dining and Drinks Reviewed
A few flickering candles behind a delicate white drapery beckon discerning hipsters and sophisticated and casual diners alike to a discreet Belgrave Street dining destination.
where: Number 32 Belgrave St, Manly NSW 2095
when: Drinks and Dinner
why: transcending tapas and tequila
phone: (02) 8065 4805
Reviewer - Danny 'Taste-Bud' Gray
Hip, with thoughtfully crafted menus and cocktail and tequila choices, narrow walls, high ceilings and unique furniture Miss Marley's in Manly could just as easily be found in one of Sydney's trendy inner city burrows.
Complete with comfy couches and tables Miss Marley's caters to the hip, the famished and the parched in fine style with thoughtfully crafted menus and cocktail and tequila choices.
Fine Tequilas Will Change Your Attitude
Squash those bad tequila memories. Try tequila again!
If you're like me tequila conjures up some fairly bad memories. But I urge you, give it another chance! Tequila is an interesting spirit but has built up a bad reputation due to cheap and poorly made products.
Real tequila needs to be made from 100% pure Agave (preferably Blue Agave). If your tequila has this then you're off to a good start. Not only does authentic tequila allegedly not give you a hangover, it is the only alcohol that acts a stimulant and not a depressant. Still not convinced? That's ok because the selection of alternative spirits on offer are extensive to say the least. This carries over into the cocktail list where as you would expect there are a number of tequila-based tipples but also plenty of rum, vodka and gin based concoctions.
After a number of minutes coming to terms with the extensive drinks list we were recommended a tequila to kick things off, a Partida Anejo which was served in an oversized shot glass, though I recommend savouring the taste and not shooting this at the table.
The taste of a fine tequila can be compared in the same way as a fine whiskey or rum. The flavour has depth and character and it works as a great pre-dinner drink and even compliments food well. It's a must to sample the cocktails at Miss Marley's. There's a great variety of new and old style drinks with a strong South American influence.
I sampled the El Presidente which was a sweet and well balanced recipe including Havana Club 7 Year Old and Pomegranate syrup served straight up. The highlight cocktail of the night was the Pina Piña, like a Bellini on steroids it is a luxurious combination of vodka, caramelised pineapple charged with champagne, bravo!
For those who aren't into the hard stuff the wine list features a good blend of South American and Australian wines and beers.
There is nothing quite like a nice glass of Malbec to warm you through in the winter months.
Talk About the Food!
Ok so we've covered the beverages, lets move on to the food. I tend to avoid tapas places since I find that the food can be plain, repetitive and unimaginative (an unfair generalisation I admit).
This concern however was quashed once I got to read the menu, there are some really exciting dishes here. The only negative aspect was I wasn't able to try them all, boy did I try though. First up was the Tunapica, basically like a Tuna Tartare Bruscetta, a mixture of diced raw tuna, olives, currants and almonds bathed in a sherry and lime vinaigrette set a top a tortilla chip.
The flavours were fresh and exciting and a lovely balance of sweet and savoury, a perfect starter. Next were the Grilled King Prawns and Morcilla. The presentation was great with the prawn perched atop the morcilla in a manner befitting a king with the throne being a wedge of grilled corn on the cob.
The flavours were tied together with a lime aioli which helped to cut through the salty flavours of the morcilla (which is an Argentinian sausage). Overall the dish was well executed and looked great. The flavours are quite strong which was a big departure from the delicate flavours of the Tunapica, not the strongest dish on the menu but tasty nonetheless.
So the cocktails and tequila were going down well as we awaited the next course. The ambience inside is a very chilled out lounge vibe but the dim lighting makes the menu hard to read. But that's the way it should be, all class and character. A plate of empanadas found its way to our adjacent table, the smell was incredible, for a moment I was tempted to order them but I realised there was so much food already on the way.
The pork belly arrived next. Yes, Sydney is having a pork belly renaissance of sorts. It seems to be on the menu everywhere these days, some good some bad. This was a good one, adorned with an apple, passionfruit, chilli and coriander salsa. The flavours were exciting and worked really well. The sweetness of the passionfruit cut right through the richness and fat flavours of the pork. This isn't the first time I've eaten pork belly with fruit but still I'm amazed at just how well it works.
The pork itself is well cooked and each slice has beautifully crisp crackling across the top. A highly recommended dish although the serving size is reasonably small with only 5 or so small slices. The Black Angus Rib-eye is a more substantial option, served on the bone and accompanied with a chimmichurri sauce. The meat is tender and charred. Apply a good squirt of lemon if you want as it really lifts the dish.
At this point of the meal we were at a crossroads, pretty well satisfied but keen to try another dish purely out of curiosity.
The ceviché came highly recommended so that's what it had to be, not to mention it was served with 2 miniature pisco sours. I am a sucker for pairing drinks and food and I love that Miss Marley's have made it compulsory. It arrived on our table promptly and didn’t disappoint, a combination of tuna and Kingfish served with grapes and tortillas. Like all the preceding dishes this one has an interesting twist and it works.
Other enticing menu options include the Jerk-Spiced Single Baby-Back Ribs, Pan Seared Breast of Duck with an orange reduction, Peruvian Curry served with wild rice and black beans, Lamb Shoulder for 2 and Spiced Baked Squid with jamon and kipfler salad.
Don't forget the empanadas, damn it they smelled good! The menu is jam-packed with awesome dishes so my advice is take a few friends, even if you don't like them that much at least you'll get to try a few more dishes.
Miss Marley's Desserts Reviewed
So I've worked the kitchen staff overtime with my heroic intake of food, but I'm not done yet, oh no not with the desserts on offer here: Banoffee Pie with whipped cream and chocolate flakes, Key Lime Pie with a burnt pineapple and vanilla reduction and a Double Chocolate Brownie with a warm chocolate-tequila sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. So you see my dilemma, another tough decision but I really can't pass up a brownie.
It arrived promptly and well presented, the ice cream slowly oozed over the warm brownie, nobody likes melted ice cream the only solution was to eat as much as I can as quickly as possible.
Problem solved, some might say it's better than sex. I'd like to think I have a better sex life than that but it doesn't change the fact that the brownie with its delightful whole walnuts and the divine chocolate-tequila sauce is particularly excellent.
As if it weren't getting hot enough in here my Coffifi cocktail arrived, which is their take on an Espresso Martini served warm and strong, it's a great winter warmer and dessert option for those who like booze after dinner, at a cool $21 though it is a little steep.
Miss Marley's Offers New Experiences and New Taste Sensations
It's safe to say Miss Marley's has come a long way since I last dined here a year or two ago.
The menu has been contemporized with a focus on exciting aromas and flavours that challenge your preconceptions about flavour.
For me that is what dining is all about: new experiences and new taste sensations. The South American influence is there but Miss Marley's transcends the simple tapas bar and is offering something far more rewarding.
So rejoice you Northern Beaches foodies, you no longer have to cross the bridge. Miss Marley's is churning out food and drink that can challenge even the trendiest sodden back alley hipster venue. Just don't go telling everyone because I don't want to be left waiting in the cold when I go back for the empanadas!
The Good – Exciting and flavourful menu with drinks to match. Cool and sexy vibe without pretension. Warm and attentive service. The Bad – Prices are rather high especially for some of the cocktails. Limited restaurant seating.
Read more about Miss Marley's? Check out:
Restaurant Manly - Miss Marley's
Miss Marley's Bar Manly - Launch Party Photos