Coogee Bay Hotel’s Marra Bar & Grill gears up for autumn with new seasonal menu additions

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I feel right at home at Coogee Bay Hotel. Although it’s less glamorous than some of its local competitors, it’s got a welcoming, down-to-earth vibe that you just can’t knock. From the classic Aussie pub section to the lively beer garden with big sports screens, you could settle in with a big group for several hours. And, if you need a good old feed, the Marra Bar & Grill has plenty to offer.

Nestled between the pub and the beer garden, Marra bridges the gap between pub grub and a restaurant experience. With tunnel-like architecture, copper tones, and twinkly lights at night, it’s got a cosy yet slightly elevated feel that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a large place like this. It’s actually quite impressive how Marra maintains its casual yet distinct restaurant atmosphere despite its proximity to the other sections.

Evening diners at Marra Bar & Grill are in for a cosy and relaxed vibe.

But enough about the setting… Let’s talk food!

Marra Bar & Grill changes parts of its menu every few months. So, although you’ll always find classics like burgers, pizzas, and salads, you can also indulge in seasonal dishes. Some new additions to the menu for autumn and winter include Bangers & Mash and Shepherd’s Pie. We don’t opt for these this time, but we’ve earmarked them for a cold and rainy hangover day!

We start with cocktails (duh). The Lychee Dream (gin, lychee liqueur, lemon juice, egg white, and rose syrup) is sweet, gentle, frothy on top, and easy to drink. Maybe a little too easy…

Meanwhile, the Smooth Operator (pink gin, dry vermouth, mango puree, lime juice, and Earl Grey syrup) is fruity and delightful. We’re not sure if the garnish is edible but our plus one tucks in anyway. To their sheer delight (and dumb luck), it is – and it’s all sugary mango goodness.

Choosing just two cocktails from the list is tough but we’re pretty happy with Smooth Operator and Lychee Dream!

Next up – the Josper-Roasted Corn Ribs (think corn on the cob sliced into rib-like sticks). Served with butter, seeds, fresh lime, and a light chipotle sauce with a flavoursome yet not too spicy kick, they are absolutely delicious. The charred sweetcorn tips, the slight nutty crunch of the seeds, and the smokiness of the dip all blend perfectly. It’s definitely not first date material (unless you want to spend the evening covertly picking your teeth with your tongue) but otherwise, it’s an excellent dish to share.

The Josper-Roasted Corn Ribs is an excellent share plate to get you started.

We move on to wine with mains. A David Hook Pinot Grigio from the Hunter Valley for my plus one and a Mesh Riesling from Eden Valley for yours truly. These accompany two new additions to the Marra menu – the Casarecce Pasta and the Sweet Potato. 

The Casarecce Pasta with prawns and cherry tomatoes in a lobster stock is a sizeable dish. The lobster adds a significant but not overpowering flavour. It’s simple yet creamy, rich, and almost a little smokey (we’re not sure how!). This is our plus one’s choice and they’re pretty darn chuffed with it.

Meanwhile, we tuck into the sweet potato. Served as a whole with charred skin, this is another sizeable beast. The potato is garnished with crumbled pistachio and olive pesto and served with rocket, mushrooms, and pine nuts on the side. The combination of flavours and textures worked well, with only a gentle hint of olive bringing it all together. Alone, this might be too much potato for me. But, as we have a ‘what’s mine is yours’ attitude, we balance it with some pasta and prawns.

The Casarecce Pasta is a new and very welcomed addition to the Marra menu.

With both mains offering decent portion sizes, we are pretty stuffed. But, as we firmly believe there’s a different stomach for desserts, we keep trucking and attack the short but sweet dessert menu (no pun intended). The Puffed Pizza Sticks with Nutella sounds like an excellent feast for another time. But, today we opt for the other two desserts on the menu – the Caramel Tiramisu and the Lemon Curd. 

The tiramisu is everything you could want and expect from this famous dessert – moist and strong on the inside, coffee-drenched layers and beautifully balanced with creamy goodness and a dollop of caramel on the side. It’s another hefty portion that’s perfect for sharing. Meanwhile, the lemon curd is zesty, thick yet light (a cross between a mousse and thick custard), and served with a generous helping of raspberry sorbet. The contrast between the sharpness of the raspberry and the citrusy yet slightly sweet tones of the curd is divine. Both desserts – accompanied by a glass of Moscato – are the perfect way to finish off our hearty meal.

The Lemon Curd is a shareable and tangy delight – perfect for when you’ve only got a little bit of room left for dessert!

Marra Bar & Grill doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it does offer tasty pub food with an elevated twist. It has a relaxed atmosphere and there’s enough variety on the menu to suit a range of tastes. The wine list isn’t huge but there’s a decent range of options to suit all sorts of palates and food pairings. Plus there’s an array of cocktails you can explore if you want something with a bit more pizzazz. 

Marra Bar & Grill, Coogee Bay Hotel, 253 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee NSW
Bar Hours: Mon – Thurs: 7am – 12am, Fri: 7am – Late, Sat: 7am – Late, Sun: 7am – 12am
Grill Hours: Mon- Fri: 11am – 10pm, Sat: 8am – 10pm, Sun: 8am – 9pm

About the author

Originally from Wales, Siri is a native Welsh speaker and bilingual writer living in Sydney. With a background in film and television production, particularly comedy, she loves to make people laugh - usually at her own expense. Siri writes about all sorts from film and restaurant reviews to marathon running and adventure travel. She loves pale ale and shiraz and is yet to meet a chocolate mousse she can’t devour in seconds. An intrepid adventurer trapped inside the body of a couch potato, there’s nothing Siri won’t try - but she can’t promise to be even remotely graceful while doing it.


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