The 'BV', as it is fondly known, was my local pub back in my late teens. It holds great memories for many locals and has stood the test of time since it was built in 1901. Located at 76 Middle Head road Mosman, facing a trio of roads that will take you to Taronga Zoo, Chowder Bay or down to Balmoral Beach, this old favourite has taken on new owners and a new leash on life.
The hotel was refurbished over a year ago leaving the front bar almost intact for loyal pub veterans. The remainder of the hotel was recently revamped, creating updated lounge and function areas. The most popular section would have to be the upper open terrace bar.
No dark wood and musty smells here, the area is bright, spacious and airy. The bar is finished in a rough sandstone fascia with timber finishes. Subtle lighting glows from hanging lampshades reflecting against a bright green tiled splash back. Plenty of comfy seating, banquettes to high bar tables, pale lime, sky blue and sunflower yellow highlight the space. The most outstanding feature would have to be, the striking high timber slat privacy screens reaching up to the open sky.
I had signed up to the pubs mailing list a while back and had seen an email regarding a chance to win an invite to their Wynns Wine dinner. I never win anything, so I was pleasantly surprised to get the email notifying me I could attend with a friend. This was a great opportunity to try out the cuisine from Head Executive Chef Ben Varela, paired with some great drops from the Wynns Coonawarra Estate.
It was an intimate dinner set for 20 guests, creating an exclusivity to the event and opportunity to converse easily. Shannon Macauley of Treasury Wines welcomed the guests and explained the Wynns Coonawarra Estate wines that we would be tasting with each course.
Firstly we were served Wynns Riesling to go with delectably light and crispy Crostinis draped with mouth watering Smoked Ocean Trout topped with a dollop of Horseradish Chantilly. The Riesling had a slight fruity floral aroma with lemon and lime flavours and a zingy acidity creating a nice palate cleansing effect, while enhancing the flavour of the Trout.
The first course was visually tantalising as well as exquisitely cooked. Glacier 51 Tooth Fish, Tomato essence with Pearl Barley Risotto. The fish was perfectly cooked, a good thick piece but so juicy and once again paired incredibly well with the nectarine and citrus flavours of the Wynns Chardonnay.
Glacier51 Tooth Fish, Tomato Essence, Pearl Barley Risotto with Wynns Chardonnay
Next up we were served a Confit Duck over Beetroot Puree with Pressed Silverbeet. This proved to be a winning combination. I really found the slight bitterness of Silverbeet balanced the sweetness of the Duck. Ben Varela had aced it in the kitchen with the Duck, it melted in your mouth and all the flavours on the plate made me omit a few 'oohs and ahs'. Once again it was perfectly paired this time with the bright red fruit and slight peppery notes of the Wynns Black Label Shiraz.
Confit Duck, Beetroot Puree, Pressed Silverbeet served with Wynns Black Label Shiraz
There is something very decadent about a Wine Dinner, you receive special attention not only from the Wine representative or in some cases the Wine makers themselves but we also on this occasion had the honour of Head Chef Ben Varela joining us. All the foodies felt rather special being able to chat with Ben, he was very approachable and generous with his time answering all our questions with interest. It was easy to understand why he was now at the helm of a string of Hotels as Head Executive Chef.
The third delicious course was the Wagyu Flat Iron, Pomme Puree, Fresh Peas and a Fennel Cream. This was probably the best meat I had tasted in a long time. Perfectly seared on the outside, so pink and tender without drowning in juices. Each mouthful mixed with some fennel cream almost made my eyes roll backwards, it was so devine. The Wynns Black Label Cabernet had a lovely bouquet of wild berries, black olives, sage and nutmeg. This intensely full bodied wine had just the right amount of acidity and a subtle velvety tannin, it didn't overshadow the Wagyu in any way.
Wagyu Flat Iron, Pomme Puree, Fresh Peas, Fennel Cream with Wynns Black Label Cabernet
Each dish was also just the right size in portions enabling us to enjoy each course and wine. The final dish of course had to be something with chocolate. I was pleased it wasn't an overly rich choice which really allowed us all to enjoy some generous servings of Wine. Traditional Chocolate Brownie and Raspberry Gel served with Wynns V & A Lane Cabernet Shiraz. A fitting Wine to finish on with a beautiful crimson colour, spicy mulberry aroma leading into tastes of berries, fig and black pepper. The crisp acidity and satin like tannin paired lovely with the chocolate brownie concluding the evening to be a success.
Head Chef Ben Varela had created the perfect menu not only perfectly cooked, but the whole experience was a visual delight. The evening was so enjoyable and a testament to his skill as a top Chef. As you can see from my photo below, we enjoyed every morsel of food and drop of wine!
My conclusion is that the Buena Vista Hotel is a pub you need to check out, not only for its charming location and decor, as it already boasts a good pub menu; you can get a $12.50 lunch special during the week. Of course they have an excellent beer selection and some signature fresh fruit cocktails on offer.
Always something on; Happy Hour runs Monday – Friday 4 - 6pm and Saturday 12-1pm. Live piano music on Friday nights from 8.30pm and some Sunday afternoons.