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Going to try something new.

Sunday gone, we hit up the new Coogee Pavilion down in, you guessed it, Coogee. Sweet Jesus, it was grand.

It’s a huge open space filled with glamorous diners feasting on seafood and thin, delicious looking wood fired pizzas. There’s an organic juice cart as well but it was closed when we got there. Apparently, it serves breakfast and organic smoothies as well as juices and handmade organic chocolates. We got given a free chocolate but it was a bit dry (probably as a result of sitting in my boyfriend’s back pocket all night). I refuse to believe it was dry to begin with, that would be straight up sacrilege.

There are many little nooks and crannies to wedge oneself into and get out of the fray. The giant whale light fitting gives off a gorgeous soft glow and, as one would expect with a Merivale venue, no detail (or expense) is spared. The bar was busy but not ridiculously so and the staff were friendly although, full disclosure, we knew the general manager and many of the bar staff as my partner used to work at Merivale and many of the staff from his old venue moved across to this one. Still, we didn’t know our waitress when we sat down to eat and she was lovely.

We got the small sashimi platter (12 tasty slivers of ocean trout, tuna, kingfish and snapper accompanied with the usual partners in crime), the kingfish and chilli combo, the picked spanner crab (lots of mayo) and the pan fried mulloway (simply served with lemon, salt and mayo – quite tasty). While the split prawns were tasty, they were quite high on cost, low on prawn (I think we only got four prawn halves). We also got the lobster rolls but I’ve had these in the US and perhaps had my expectations set too high. They’re served cold with mayo on a brioche roll that I found a bit hard. That being said, everyone else loved them so perhaps I just prefer the hot, gooey, buttery kind! Later in the night, we had some pizza and here I can confirm my initial impression: thin and delicious. However, the definite highlight was dessert; a rhubarb sundae served with rhubarb swirl ice cream, cream and stewed rhubarb and the *gasp* salted caramel custard pot (the pot of which was pretty much licked clean by the time we were done with it). Perhaps too much cream but I only say this because, greedy thing that I am, I felt the cream was taking up valuable custard space!

We had a few cocktails. Mine was a Carol Channing, which is a favourite cocktail of mine, so I was happy. Someone else sent back their cocktail (a tequila one, can’t remember the name) as it wasn’t “balanced properly” (the joys of dining out with hospitality workers!). I’m not sure that it came back much better. We also had a nice pinot gris. Bottles of wine come served in a little plastic carry bag complete with ice. A cute touch, I thought, and good if you want to mosey on over to the GAMES SECTION after dinner.

Say what, now? Oh yes, did I forget to mention the GAMES SECTION? Silly me, this is quite possibly the highlight of the venue (once the kids have left). They have giant magnetic wall Scrabble complete with a ladder to reach the higher parts of the board. There’s giant Jenga (though sadly not as giant as the one at the Australian Museum’s Jurassic Lounge), quoits, pinochle/boules, shuffleboard (with the metal ‘shuffle pieces’ carefully hidden away from the children – apparently they’re prone to throwing them, quelle surprise!), three ping pong tables and – perhaps contender for the greatest game of all in close competition with the giant Scrabble board – giant Connect Four. There’s also a mini private cinema loaded up with Apple TV and access to football games, etc. should you wish to request it for your next private viewing session of whatever the fuck you want.

As a lover of all games (board and otherwise), I cannot fully explain the childlike glee I was filled with when contemplating which game to play while drinking my G+T. Ping pong was fun but I don’t excel at hand eye coordination after a few drinks so I soon switched to Scrabble, quoits (another bad choice) and then Connect Four. Hours of entertainment and evil strategising right there.

Verdict: a definite must even if it’s just to elbow some kid out of the way so you can be next in line at giant Connect Four and/or giant Scrabble.

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