There seems to be an ongoing debate in Perth whether you can have both good views and good food at the same establishment. The theory is that customers are so dazzled by a beautiful waterfront or city view, you can serve them substandard food and they won't notice.
Pork belly, one of many share dishes available all day
Soda Sunlounge on West Coast Highway has a million dollar view of the Indian Ocean. Located on the first floor, you can gaze through the glass balcony and not even notice the two lane road beneath, and even on an overcast and muggy day like the one I visited, I was still distracted by the ocean, zoning out occasionally and not being a very good conversationalist.
The view would be even more desirable if they put the power underground
The menu is quite large, with a selection of share plates, mains, pizzas, salads, burgers and desserts. It even has a teeny weeny kids section and the menu (other than weekend brunch) is the same regardless of whether you are visiting for lunch or dinner.
The sun deck has large wooden tables but is otherwise quite bare
Pizzas are all $22 and the 'solo' section ($26 to $34) is where you will find your more substantial meals such as risotto, pasta, fish and steak.
We were interested in the share plates though, and with a choice of twelve options, we had difficulties making a decision. When we asked the waitress how many dishes we would need for the two of us, taking into account we wanted dessert, she suggested four. Since it was lunch, we had estimated only two but we settled on three. In hindsight, two would have been ample especially if we had chosen a larger dessert. The serving sizes are quite generous.
Crispy pork, pineapple salsa and turtle beans ($16) came as four decently sized cubes of pork belly, crispy and fatty and tender. The pineapple salsa was a perfect foil for the salty meat, but I found the small, hard turtle beans a bit incongruous.
We had debated between the sweet corn and manchego frittas with red pepper jam ($12) and the zucchini frittas with marinated fetta and mint ($14). In the end we went with the zucchini ones because we're a fan of mint and fetta, although the quantity of both of those ingredients was disappointing. The dish itself was tasty and filling, with four largeish frittas under a mound of fresh rocket leaves. I think the mint might have been in the frittas themselves but it wasn't very noticeable.
Our final dish was caramelised duck tacos with Sichuan pepper ($16). Four hand pressed taco shells, with a light airy texture, came with a bowl of duck, red capsicum and bean shoots. I'm not a fan of either capsicum or bean shoots and probably wouldn't have ordered this dish had they been mentioned on the menu, but I realise you can't list every ingredient in a dish or else menus would look more like phone books.
Other share plates include classics such as chorizo and fresh lime ($9), pickled octopus and avocado ($14) and crispy calamari ($16). You can also find beef shin empanadas ($16) and the curious sounding snapper and kale 'la lot' ($16).
The desserts all sound delicious from the tiny Portuguese tarts ($6) which were perfectly made and small enough to complement rather than overwhelm the meal. More substantial offerings include churros with Belgian chocolate sauce ($15) or the decadent sounding rocky road icecream with hot brownie sundae ($12).
Service was friendly and attentive, and the dishes came out quickly.
Plenty of space inside to gather and observe the view
There are two, quite different spaces to enjoy – one being the rather sparse outdoor balcony. Although semi-protected with shade-cloth sails it can be quite glare-y, although the view is nice. Inside, the room is darkly sophisticated and not at all beachy with a recurring swirly motif, low black leather couches, large wooden communal tables and deep red booths.
It is neither soda-ish nor sunlounge-y, but it would be a lovely space to enjoy evening drinks and tapas as the sun sinks below the horizon.