There was a time when the Cottesloe Beach Hotel was the only place to be on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
After a sweaty queue, you’d grab your glass of house wine and sit on the sticky fake grass watching the hotties until the sun went down and you hit the ground.
Safe to say, that was not my weekend experience.
The iconic building underwent a massive renovation in 2013, and the backyard beach club still carries the laid-back, updated beach vibe you’ve come to expect from a coastal location anywhere in the world.
Its menu also suits the wide range of diners who can sit down – there’s a health-focused Cott Bowl filled with quinoa and lightly dried salmon for mums in the golden triangle, as well as pizza on the fire of jarrah wood to line people’s stomachs who may be having a great night out.
There were plenty on Sunday evening: the dance floor left at 8 p.m.
We didn’t have huge expectations for the food but were very pleasantly surprised. The dishes were tasty, well seasoned and some of the best pub food we’ve had in a while.
The star of the table was the Korean Fried Cauliflower ($16), crunchy bites of sweet cabbage that were delicious with spicy gochujang mayonnaise.
Also up there on the catwalk was the La Delizia stracciatella ($21), which on its own is still a winner but slathered in homemade lavosh and paired with charred sweet grapes, pickled onions and caramelized shallot, it was the kind of dish you’d be happy to eat in any bar or restaurant in Perth.
The three lamb koftas ($16) had a nice burn and were still chewy inside (I chewed a lot of medium koftas) and the sour cream and sumac went well together without being too heavy.
Of the large plates on the menu — which includes the aforementioned superfood bowl, crab pasta, fish and chips and a burger — we chose the Seared Potato Gnocchi with Duck Stew ($32).
Sometimes a heavy stew can overwhelm the rest of the dish, but this one let the plump gnocchi shine and a parmesan pangrattato added texture.
The pizza – we chose the mixed mushrooms with parmesan and creme fraiche ($22) – was also very good. There was good arctic char on the crust and a generous topping of portabello and field mushies scattered on top.
Service is friendly but not always completely efficient (in their defense, it’s a big space). We had dirty glasses, bottles and cutlery left on our table by previous people which were not collected until we asked.
The Cottesloe Beach Club may not be the place of our past, but this millennial who prefers an early dinner and wine to a 2am drive home thinks it’s much better.
Cottesloe Beach Hotel
104 Marine Parade, Cottesloe
Sun – Wednesday, noon to 10 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, noon to midnight.
Relaxed, seaside atmosphere where you can choose your own adventure – an afternoon and post-swim snack or a sit-down dinner with starters and mains.