Winter markets, mulled cider, and a cosy fireplace – Coogee Bay Hotel

Like most Hollywood stars above a certain age, Coogee Bay Hotel has undergone a gradual facelift. We visited CBH 2.0 earlier this year to sample just about everything they had to offer (check out our review here). But, with some special winter additions on the menu, we were invited back for round two. Well, if we must…!

The brassy tones and low lighting of the new decor give off an art deco pub meets whisky bar vibe at night. The sizeable yet intimate Arden Lounge – complete with a fireplace – is perfect for a cosy date night or a private event. Meanwhile, the Marra Bar & Grill offers comforting classics like fish & chips, schnitties and pizzas as well as more refined offerings like rump cap in red wine, scotch fillet, and barramundi in pumpkin puree.

Mulled cider and red wine – is there a better way to warm up on a winter’s night?

We start with mulled cider from the Winter Warmers drinks list – spice-infused Bulmers served hot with fruit juice, blueberries, and orange slices. Sweet yet acidic and complemented by cinnamon tones, it smelled and tasted like Christmas. This is not a drink to chug in large quantities – it’s a sip slowly in front of an open fire kind of affair.

If our first drink was Christmas in a glass, our second – a jug of pink gin spritz – was summer in a jug. Gordon’s Pink Gin, prosecco, lemonade, strawberries, and blueberries – a light, fruity, and refreshing palate cleanser.

For food, we opted for pork knuckle, barramundi, and a side of broccolini with cashew pesto. In hindsight, the pork – with some veggies – would have been enough for both of us (and probably a couple more people too). Served with shaved kohlrabi, this salty behemoth coated in crispy crackling was complemented beautifully by the tangy seeded mustard jus. Perfect for a pub roast on a cold winter Sunday!

Pork knuckle in seeded mustard jus

By contrast, the barramundi was light and delicate. Served with roast pumpkin puree, chimichurri, and lemon – it was a cocktail of flavours and textures. The sweetness of the pumpkin was challenged by the acidity of the lemon, and the chimichurri added another layer of flavourful texture to the mix. Alone, this wouldn’t be particularly filling and should be accompanied by sides.

Barramundi with roast pumpkin puree and chimichurri

I didn’t think I had room for dessert but boy am I glad that I was weak-willed enough to order the Chocolate Parfait! Served with peanut butter, dulce de leche and raspberry puree, the texture was a cross between ice cream and mousse on a thin crumbly base. The oft-paired flavours of raspberry and chocolate balanced perfectly and the peanut butter added saltiness into the mix which was just bloody marvellous.

Unlike the facelifts of many Hollywood stars, we’re on board with Coogee Bay Hotel’s new look. The food is reasonably priced and the menu finds a good balance between classic pub grub and restaurant dining. If you want to see CBH in all its winter glory, pop down to the Winter Fest Markets on July 22-23. Enjoy the bustling marketplace in the beer garden from 12 – 6 pm, then book a table at Marra Bar & Grill for a hot and cosy evening feed.

Coogee Bay Hotel: 253 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee, NSW 2034
Bar HoursMonday – Thursday: 11 am – 12 am, Friday: 11 am – Late
Saturday: 8 am – Late,Sunday: 8 am – 12 am

Grill HoursMonday – Friday: 11 am – 10 pm, Saturday: 8 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 9 pm

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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