60 Hitchcock Avenue Barwon Heads
We were lucky to just stroll into Barwon Orange and get some seating on our first night at Barwon Heads. Even though it was a Sunday night, during summer and holiday season, we snuck in at about 6:30pm right before the onslaught of diners embarked within the next half hour. We were surprised at just how many ‘reserved’ signs were scattered throughout the tables of the restaurant, and it made us appreciate our good timing that night.
The waitress was very friendly and seated us happily despite our lack of a reservation. After we ordered I had a good look around the place. We had been seated inside right by the counter and coffee-making machine, however the fold-out doors were open making us feel like we were outside, as we had a great view of the outdoor diners and even the people passing by on the street. Along with the ocean pictures and sun horizons adorning the walls, their open doors gave it a great beachy vibe, though at the same time black shades enclosed fancy chandeliers hanging above us, and urban furniture inside the restaurant gave it yet another feel. There was a combining of themes happening here, and yet it all worked and gave the atmosphere an interesting and welcoming feel.
I think the welcoming and homely feel was also attributed to the number of people coming in and ordering/picking-up pizzas to-go. I think I could safely say a decent majority, if not all of them were locals, or regular holiday locals. This made the atmosphere more relaxed, with the amount of delivery boxes heading out the doors that we saw that night.
For dinner I ordered:
Linguini seafood pasta
With a glass of 2013 Montevecchio Moscato. The moscato was light and fresh, with definite fruit notes. A great compliment at the end of a warm summer’s day.
Scotch fillet with broccolini and potatoes
With his usual beer.
My dish was the classic seafood dish you’d come to expect at restaurants that are positioned seaside. There was a definite and clear seafood flavour in the dish with pieces of tomato throughout, and I was happy to see there was plenty of seafood alongside the pasta. I enjoyed the bits of fish, prawns and mussels I found in there, however I didn’t quite enjoy the calamari, and that’s just because I’m pretty fussy and don’t enjoy it much at all. You may say that I’m not a proper seafood enthusiast – whatever. This was a tad chewy, and I don’t think it’s meant to be so. I don’t expect much from calamari as it is, so I didn’t mind so much.
I left a little behind on my plate, only because we’d had a late lunch, followed by coffee and cake at Annie’s, so I was feeling REALLY full. I would have had it all if I could, I just wanted to leave a little room for dessert too.
Hubbie enjoyed his scotch fillet. It was a real hearty, simple meal that catered to his palate. The piece of scotch fillet was huge, so the slice was thin, and Hubbie said had the piece been smaller and the slice thicker, it would have retained more of the juices, especially with his medium request. (You butcher, you 😉 ) Still, he enjoyed the meal, despite like me, still being full from the earlier meals of the day.
Because we were both struggling with finishing our meals, we knew that having either a coffee each or a big dessert would quite frankly be a waste of money, and something we just wouldn’t enjoy as much as if we were actually craving it. So we met in the middle and decided to share this:
There’s not much to actually making a good affogato. All you need is decent coffee, decent ice cream, and the key, the ABSOLUTE key:
Placing the damn coffee on the side so you can pour the quantity yourself over the ice cream.
Very, very simple. And yet some places totally f$%k this up.
Happily, Barwon Orange complied. We both tasted the coffee first to see just how strong it was, to discover, yep, it was freaking strong. So we quickly poured it over the ice cream, and ahhh. Much better.
Combining ice cream and coffee is truly a magical, wondrous mix.
They also had placed a straw on the side. When the coffee and what was left of the ice cream melted together into a caramel-gold liquid, we sucked it up and… wow. What a coffee hit. It was so much stronger through the straw than eating it from a spoon. Maybe because the coffee remains from the bottom of the cup hit us right on the palate in concentrated form? Interesting.
Coffee: 7/10. This score, the coffee on its own.
Ambience: Although relaxed and outdoorsy with the fold-out doors, the crowd was still a bit fancy-schmancy, even with the families around. Baby girl was having fun squealing out loud and being especially vocal both before, during and after her dinner, and so we had to contend with a few looks and moments of silence as her vocals silenced the other diners, and made the chef in the kitchen look over a few times. Look, I don’t blame them. The place had a bit of a noisy vibe to it, but still, not enough to make me feel like I could relax and not worry about upsetting the other diners while baby girl experimented with her voice. It wasn’t a huge space to be drowned out by the general noise, both inside and outside, so you could hear what was happening on the next table a lot better, especially if there was a toddler shrieking (intermittently I add, in her defence 🙂 )
Staff: Very friendly and very smiley. Didn’t grimace when we walked up without a reservation despite how busy they got (and knew they were gonna get with all those ‘reserved’ signs).
People: Fancy-schmancy families, and locals who are just going about their business.
Price: On the upside, but totally acceptable for this type of restaurant with the style, food and presentation on offer.
Advice: This may have been a once off, but as of now, we are ALWAYS getting our bill at the table. As I went to pay (Hubbie was walking an impatient baby girl up and down the side of the restaurant) I asked the
waitress if the bill came to the table or if I should go up to the counter. She said I could do either, so I decided to just pack up our things and walk up.
When I pointed our table out to the girl behind the counter, she tallied up our two mains, two drinks and affogato to $132. I was surprised but I didn’t think quick enough to remember all we had ordered, and so paid, not wanting to cause a scene, all the while trying to remember and second-guessing the number of drinks we’d had, feeling like something was amiss.
I told Hubbie and when he too confirmed that that didn’t sound right, I immediately went back and asked for our bill to be checked. Turns out the previous bill hadn’t been cleared, and the amount of $47 had been added onto our bill. $47 extra! Imagine if I’d gone without checking. That’s about the amount we paid for lunch that day. The girl was very sorry and I know these things can happen, so I don’t hold it against her, however like I said, bills to the table from now on!
In a nutshell: Great presentation of food, a great vibe and interesting surroundings, as well as a good variety of meals on offer to suit many palates makes this a great place to eat. The staff were friendly and very welcoming. I would definitely go back, this time with toys for baby girl so that we don’t upset the people holidaying.