Coastal poster child for adults.
MUST ORDER Seafood (especially crustaceans and molluscs)
AMBIANCE Beach and white linen; lingering wedding vibes
WOULD I GO BACK? Anytime I can be bothered to drive to Whale Beach
As I’ve written many times before, the ‘extras’ are often the most impressive experiences I have at restaurants. They’re usually only included with set chef’s menus. Here, on our first visit, my partner ordered two courses ($88) and I ordered three ($115) so that we could share dessert.
The snacks were a highlight. Three snacks each were brought out. Pumpkin arancini coated in activated charcoal, black olive parmesan biscuits, and puffed farfalle were all interesting and tasty. You know a restaurant is good when you keep thinking about it afterwards. I still think about that foccacia, which is the best I’ve ever had (still true in 2019!), served with whipped ricotta. It was my birthday, so I also got a special meringue tart which was spectacular. To take home, they also gave me a box of chocolates. Exceptional treats.
Situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking Whale Beach, it was a perfect, clear day to appreciate an Earl Grey cocktail. Jonah’s is the place for a view, and we had the best seat in the house, at the corner by the window.
I loved the presentation of the crystal crab with ricotta, beach greens and celeriac, although the grandeur of the big pot (see pic) wasn’t matched with big flavour. It was simple and largely let the crab speak for itself. Likewise, the flat iron beef with parsley, organic garlic and burnt hay butter was soft and rich, but not a stand out.
Squid ink linguine black sesame carbonara with salmon roe was super smooth and ticked the technical boxes. As always, the squid ink flavour is gobsmacking. I was glad they were so generous with the cheese because the dish needed that extra flavour. I loved the pasta, but I think they should rename it. For a carbonara, it should have had more sauce (or something creamy).
Torello veal battuta with black garlic, mushrooms and smoked egg yolk was my favourite. It was texturally interesting, with the hard jelly sheet on top (which didn’t add flavour). The mushroom purée and enoki on the side didn’t necessarily enhance the dish but I was glad it was there because it was interesting to try by itself.
Burnt butter and sage with white chocolate and sage gelato, native plum, burnt butter was definitely one of the freshest, lightest ice creams I’ve had. The white chocolate flavour could have been stronger, but I was glad the sage was the hero.
It is very difficult for me to run you through the finer details of the SEAFOOD TOWER for two, which I ordered on my second visit. Boy, it is outstanding value. This is also called Jonah’s ‘Frutti di Mare’ for two. It’s $260 in total, and includes snacks, bread, petit fours at the end, and a gift of beautiful chocolates to take home. I loved every single part of the tower except the octopus, which was soggy and boring in a tomato-based sauce, and the sashimi, which was cut roughly (as though with a blunt knife) and wasn’t very tasty (not fresh?). The potatoes deserve a special mention, as they are the BEST I HAVE EVER EATEN. In general, the side dishes and accompaniments (everything non-central to the tower) were the highlights. Please take that seriously.
I would definitely, definitely go back for a special occasion. I would recommend coming for lunch over dinner, because of that view. Although Bert’s is the big new player on the Northern Beaches, I think Jonah’s remains the Whale that will beach you.
Visit date: April 9 2018, October 21 2018
Jonah’s is located at 69 Bynya Road, Whale Beach. There’s plenty of parking, and you’ll want to get there by car.