Yes, it’s in a club. Now we have that out of the way, this deceptively exciting restaurant affords you chance to sit in a gorgeous glass box overlooking Coogee Beach. With a mile-wide smile and seductively rolling R’s, Manager Vinni Dias is an excellent guide (and enthusiast) for the traditional end of this Brazilian-influenced Australian menu. He starts me off with excellent house-made Pão de Queijo ($8) cheese bread and setting-appropriate Sydney Rock Oysters ($18/6), which remarkably hold their own against pimenta biquinho (flavoursome ‘kiss peppers’ that aren’t spicy), lime, Spanish onion, coriander and palmito. The latter ingredient is a total revelation in Baked Palm Heart, Tomato, Chutney, Pimento & Gorgonzola ($16) too. Escondidinho de Cogumelos ($15) is a traditional Brazilian “surprise” dish. While the surprise can vary, this version delivers four types of mushrooms sautéed in garlic and butter, buried under cassava and cheese. It’s a delicious surprise, but their biggest hit is Moqueca ($34) a red, coconut-enriched fish and prawn stew, featuring four perfectly cooked fishes – barramundi, blue eye cod, swordfish and salmon – on the day I dined. In case you’re still not convinced, recall what being in a club means in terms of drink pricing – affordable bottles of wine and watching night fall on water over eight-buck Mojitos – priceless.
Coogee Legion Ex-Service Club, 200 Arden Street, Coogee
Ph: (02) 9665 8230 coogeelegionclub.com.au/elmos-restaurant/
Brazilian/Modern Australian $$-$$$