Warrnambool is a coastal town that has many hidden gems. It’s winds and weather conditions that seem to be exclusive to this coast, can be both exhilarating and stunningly beautiful. There are three dining experiences that have the fabulous view of Lady Bay and Simon’s Waterfront restaurant is one of those lucky ones.
The building which is part of the Surf Club has been there for many years and has been a part of the Warrnambool social fabric forever. There is something to be said though, of a building that has had a new and fresh life put back into it.
Walking into the dining room l was immediately struck by the clean, spacious and welcoming feel it has. You see, there have been some new changes to the business. At the helm is Manuel Roldan, a warm and personable host, who is now managing the business.
Manny was born and bred in Columbia, has a Spanish mother and an Irish father. This eclectic fusion of culture, along with his vast experience in hospitality has allowed him to bring a wonderful twist to a menu that prevents it from being just like every other one in regional Victoria. Manny says he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel but wants to bring something alternative to Warrnambool.
I started with house-made dumplings stuffed with barramundi, accompanied by an Asian -inspired noodle and slaw salad. They were a great starter and the salad was balanced in every way. The dressing, the slaw and the noodles all were moreish. The seafood fettuccine was brimming with locally sourced seafood as all the seafood on the menu is. I also had the calamari, again served with an Asian salad, and finally, l had the trio of seafood salad which is an entree that can be shared.
Now, if you are thinking l am a glutton, l did have some help in this culinary delight from my friend Di, a long-time local, who l thought a perfect companion in this lunchtime experience. Ok, so l have to confess that normally l don’t indulge in desserts but l had to try the Dolce De Leche which is a thickish, sweet caramelised mixture of condensed milk accompanied with two crepes and vanilla ice cream. I ate the lot without a thought to the fact that l am not a sweet tooth.. haha
Warrnambool can be very thankful that even in these uncertain times, there is a new injection of culinary freshness. The menu also caters for those who simply would like a burger, a plate of pasta and or an eye fillet. There’s also a vegetarian mushroom burger, crumbed mushrooms with halloumi, house pickles, onion jam and aioli.
Personally, l can’t wait for those warmer days by the sea, having a glass of wine and enjoying all that Simon’s menu has to offer. Alternatively, sitting inside on a rough day looking out to the Southern Ocean and wistfully contemplating how lucky l am to live in Warrnambool.