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Published August 22nd 2016
Be Green with Envy
The Greens North Sydney is a fairy recent establishment but it is a popular weekend gathering spot with great emphasis on a good food, casual drink with families and friends on the lower North Shore.
The Greens is basically a replication of The Grounds of Alexandria but with million dollar views of Sydney Harbour. This café/restaurant/bar/BBQ garden has an open air, breezy feel to it, courtesy of the expansive lawn garden grounds.
When it was opened in November 2014, The Greens transformed the existing North Sydney Bowling clubhouse to take full advantage of the harbour views and create a hub for food, fun, family and friends. It quickly gained a ridiculous amount of momentum and it is now a a much-loved neighbourhood eatery, bar, café, garden and bowling green with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour.
There are exciting grounds for the adults and the kids, there is an open BBQ area for the blokes, champagne bar for the ladies and a fun petting zoo for the kids. It is possibly the most family friendly venue I have ever been.
It was jam packed with people when we arrived at 12pm. It was easy to see why this place was popular with families with young children.
For lunch, we started off with something light. Our first entree we ordered was the Fraser Island Crab. From the limited description, I expected crumbed crab cakes with fried zucchini flowers but instead we received this pretty-looking dish. Fresh shredded crab meat artfully wrapped within cucumber ribbons. It was topped with pearly salmon roe to enhance the fresh seafood taste.
It was restaurant quality food in a pub and it was impressive. However, it was quite expensive for the portion presented.
Next came the lemon balm infused confit salmon topped with seaweed crisps.I have to say, I didn't really get any lemon flavour from the salmon fillet and there was a bit of seasoning missing in general. Having said that, the salmon was super moist and tender. It's an aesthetically striking dish and very healthy too.
The grilled halloumi was neatly presented with olive-fennel tapenade served with freshly shaved radish & apple salad. It perfectly balanced the sweet and salty flavours and it was my friend's favourite.
We paired our entrees and mains with a shared side dish of hot chips with a rich, smooth garlic aioli dipping sauce. The chips were really crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It was a good bucket of chips, but it was a tad expensive for the smallish serving portion.
My favourite dish of the day was this House Smoked Ocean Trout Salad. This entire plate screamed summer to me. It was fabulously fresh with plentiful tender juicy smoked fish pieces, pickled heritage cauliflower, watermelon radish and plenty of fresh kale in lovely seeded mustard dressing. Each part went together very well, and the tangy dressing with citrus cured salmon added a refreshing touch.
The salad was flavoursome, wholesome and well-balanced and something like this puts it a cut above many cafe brunch offerings.
Even though I was quite full, I was tempted to try the Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse. When it was presented to us, the presentation reminded me of Peter Gilmore's Snow Egg, except this looked more like an ominous Dark Egg. The chocolate-coated Marsala egg was delicious and a couple of bites of the generous wine-infused ice cream had me full to the brim.
The grounds of The Greens are beautiful and combined with the kid's playground & petting zoo nearby, it really takes away the stress out of dining with young children. They can play while you finish your meal in a leisurely manner.
Overall, this is just a lovely child-friendly cafe with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. It is not surprising to see The Greens is one of the most exciting weekend spots for families who live on the lower north shore.