One of my blog goals for the years is to review more of the restaurants Puneet and I go to. It’s no secret that I love good food and with so many great options available both in Sydney and elsewhere these days it can be hard to keep track of what’s good and what isn’t. Hopefully the reviews help others in their choices + serve as reminders for us for the future.
I’ve thought a bit about how to rate each place and what categories to use and have decided on the following: A total score will be awarded out of 40.
10 points each food & drink, service, ambiance and value for money. They’re all pretty self explanatory. Value for money can be tricky when you’re comparing a $150 dinner to a $30 dinner as the former is rarely worth five times as much as the latter (diminishing returns blah blah blah) so i’ll try and use it as an indicator for evaluating a place against other places of a similar price point. There are definitely times when an expensive dinner seems totally worth it and other times when it doesn’t, similarly many times a value dinner will be incredible or just terrible.
Anyway, we have been to several places worthy of review over the past few weeks and I expect to get to the others shortly but to begin with, here’s a review of Jonahs at Whale Beach.
Jonahs at Whale Beach
Jonahs is a boutique hotel with restaurant and outside bar located high atop a cliff at Whale Beach. It is a part of the Relais Chateaux (from their website):
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of 475 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries.
Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character.
Furthermore, Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for, and a personal commitment to, ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony. To choose Relais & Châteaux is to experience an unforgettable celebration of the senses.
From the vineyards in Napa valley to the Northern beaches of Sydney, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a special place in a variety of destinations.
The Relais & Châteaux signature reflects this ambition: “ALL AROUND THE WORLD, UNIQUE IN THE WORLD.“
Jonahs was somewhere we had been wanting to go to for a long time, and we had high expectations. It didn’t disappoint. Before we even arrived and were driving up the cliff side winding roads we knew we were in for a treat of a view. The restaurant was quaint and house-esque with the decor of a modern French slash contemporary Australian beach side dwelling. We were greeted with great service and seated immediately. We elected to order our starters from the tapas menu and enjoy them on the outside deck while having a drink and enjoying the view then finish with our mains back in the main restaurant area.
Food & Drink
We started with Marinated Sicilian olives and fried Marcona almonds as well as some Garlic prawns Andalusia style. It’s hard to get olives wrong and i’m glad to say that these were up to par. The prawns were especially fantastic. They weren’t overwhelmed by garlic as is often the case and while they were doused in a good amount of oil it was very high quality and not at all over the top.
Our cocktails were very good. I had a gin martini and Puneet had a lychee martini. Again it’s hard to get those too wrong but it’s always good to know a place can do them right.
Before our mains came out I had also ordered their Half dozen Sydney rock oysters served with lemon and raspberry vinegar mignonette. I’m a big fan of natural oysters so any addition usually has to be pretty spectacular for me to like it better than the standard. The mignonette was good but a little too sweet for my personal liking. The oysters themselves were great.
For mains I had the Spring Lamb – Roasted saddle and herb crumbed cutlet with zucchini and peas trifolati, baby zucchini flowers and pea purée. Again, very good. The whole dish blended together very well with both the flavours and aromatics complementing each other. The lamb was cooked to perfection, some of the best I have ever had.
Puneet had the Bomba Rice on a creamy risotto with baby vegetables, semi dried tomatoes and Pedro Ximenez Sherry wine reduction. This was a bit thick and heavy without a tonne of flavour. The flavours that were there worked well and it was a tasty dish for sure but it wasn’t really in the same class as the other food we had.
We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir from Oregan in the US for our meal (I can’t recall the exact name, shame on me). It was excellent.
We were too stuffed to fit dessert in by the end.
Overall I give the food an 8/10.
The service was good but not phenomenal. We were greeted well and everyone was polite and helpful throughout the evening but once we had been seated we had to wait a while and try and flag down a waiter a few times before getting our order in. That slight annoyance aside, the meal went smoothly. They were very accommodating in letting us have the first part of our meal outside and even brought over a blanket when they noticed it was a bit chilly. I give the service a 7.5/10.
Ten out of ten. Perched atop a cliff looking out over the pacific ocean with waves crashing into the rocks and beach below it’s hard to give this place any less. It was quiet, secluded, special. There’s not much else to say – in terms of places with a view to eat in Sydney (better yet, the world) you would be hard pressed to find better than Jonahs. 10/10.
Value for money
Jonahs isn’t cheap but you pay for the view. It also delivers in terms of food quality and competent service. There are probably better places you can go to for a purely fine-dining experience and similarly you can get away with views close to this for much cheaper but combining the two is a rarity. Overall it delivered what it promises without disappointment. I give it an 7.5/10 in terms of value for money.
I give Jonahs at Whale Beach a 33/40. I would definitely recommend it to others and it is somewhere everyone should go to at least once. If we were to go back anytime soon I think we would sit on the outside deck and have a few drinks + tapas rather than opt for the full meal. It would be a wonderful place to chill out with a few people and take in the view.