Catalina at Rose Bay

There aren’t a many great place in Sydney one can sit with connoisseur concocted cocktails, watching the sea planes splash about in the shallows just off shore.

That is, until you arrive at Catalina in Rose Bay, a stone’s throw from Sydney’s CBD and are swiftly introduced to just how picturesque a scene as this you may find awaiting you.

A gleaming and fittingly white established perched so precariously on stilts just above the waterline at the bluff on Rose Bay’s picturesque waterside, the Catalina has in a few short years – after being established in 1994 – cemented its position as one of Sydney’s finest restaurants.

Adjacent to a cute an unassuming inner-city jetty prodding the water’s edge from a run-of-the-mill walkway, the general consensus for the clientele of the Catalina is one of genuine refinement and inherent poise.

Bedecked in crisp white, soothing wooded floors and with views that are well enough equipped to make you momentarily weak at the knees, Catalina is a slice of hospitality heaven. Proprietors and firm gems of the Sydney hospitality firmament Jude and Mike McMahon have found something wonderful.

Since their development of the building into the stunning venue it is today, Catalina has rose through the ranks to offer the quality and quantity of food and drink that makes Sydney the renowned gastronomic city that it is.

Mango cocktails, implemented by the bar’s masterful barmen, a wonderful selection of Australian and foreign whit and red wines and a generous, perfectly crafted espresso martini – for the inner Melburnian in everyone – the array of drinks on offer is, it felt, seconded to none.

Food-wise, the Catalina specialises in fish and seafood; makes sense for a restaurant literally on the water. Their tasteful and elegant array of both meat and seafood dishes sing praises to the fishing season and really hone-in on quality Australian flavours.

Playing with the ‘nouveau dining’ extremities of restaurants these days, the Catalina merely dances around it, offering substantial quantities that don’t leave guests wanting.

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 3-1

Thanks to entrees of perfectly cooked crispy skin pork belly with seared scallops, lemon emulsion, chorizo, cuttlefish and piquillo pepper coulis coupled with char grilled Fremantle octopus, kipfler potato, saffron aioli, kiss peppers and olive stepenade, lunch can quite easily drift well into the afternoon; and for my lunch guest and I, it did just that!

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 2-1

With our main courses, the sommeliers at Catalina – all of which are trained staff – know their food and wine pairing at its best. To accompany the main courses of pan fried snapper, potato and garlic mash and lemon caper butter as well as herb and parmesan encrusted lamb rack with mint yoghurt, soy beans, preserved lemon and olive crumbs, white Australian pinot grigio was on the menu as well as a deep Australian shiraz. Perfect for each meal respectively.

Each dish was expertly crafted. Dashed around the plate to create as much of a visual feast as a palatable one, the snapper was a simply displayed, but elegant mouthful of ocean freshness complemented by the rich and earthy flavours of the lemon and butter.

The lamb rack was a picture perfect green encrusted, medium-rare dish that worked perfectly with the garnishes of soy beans and lemon preserves to cut through the right meaty flavours.

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 6-1

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 4-3


Followed by desserts of a wholly strawberry pavlova and generous live of in-house creme brûlée, both of which looked almost too good to eat, lunch as finally over. You can tell the amount of time, expertise and professionalism both the chefs in the kitchen and the wait staff on the floor of the Catalina put into their daily tasks.

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 7-1

Catalina Rose Bay THE F 5-3

The proof is in the pudding, they say, and with the Catalina, nothing falls short of exquisite.

James signature








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