The first thing to say about Jet Bar 1985, the new kid on the culinary block in St Ives, is the chef trained under Peter Gilmore at Bennelong.
That gives you a fair indication of the quality of the food, best described as Modern Australian. It’s all so pretty, decorated with delicate microherbs and edible flowers, little blobs of coloured sauces and neatly arranged hero ingredients with other elements dancing around them. Does it deliver on flavour?
As ever with four women dining out everyone is careful not to overindulge but my friends graciously agree to work the menu as much as possible to get a wide range of taste experiences.
We start with the Tomato and Almond Salad, which sounds unremarkable but is actually a marvellous concoction of Balsamic soaked cherry tomatoes sprinkled with amaranth seeds atop creamy Italian stracciatella cheese, which is a wonderful change from ho-hum mozzarella. This is a great contrast of favours.
The other entree was six beautifully cooked scallops with little soupcons of alternating pea puree and orange puree dotted around the plate, as well as sugar snap pea, artfully split open. Again bang on with flavour, presentation and balance, the orange a welcome addition to a popular classic.
Onto the mains. A word here about the menu: while we all chosen proteins for our mains, one diner would have opted for the vegetarian option had it been a hot dish. The choice of a quinoa and couscous salad as a main on a cold wintery evening means they need to rethink that option.
My Duck Breast with Caramelised Apple with silverbeet was moist and unctuous, generous in size and delicious. The Salmon Fillet across the table was cooked just right and accompanied by kale and asparagus, and a tandoori curry sauce which my dining companion felt unnecessary competition though the rest of us loved it.
The other main was a Pork Cutlet which my friend helpfully chose “as I know how difficult it is to cook pork cutlets well,” she remarked.
She wasn’t disappointed – the sizeable chop was just cooked through, its flesh rendered to a pale brown and finished in a pan, sitting atop a creamy swirl of carrot puree and red wine vinegar reduction. Again a triumph and described by Jane as “a good balance of flavours.”
The side of chips were crunchy and well done, a necessary addition to all this protein. The second side of just-cooked asparagus was al dente.
The desserts were not commensurate with the flair of the entrees and mains. We shared a plain cheesecake and a brownie – both adequate but not exciting. Some thought could go into the desserts to bring them up to scratch with the rest of the menu.
But it’s early days yet and this charming cafe/restaurant is still finding its way. During the day it’s producing breakfasts including Protein Power (egg whites, spinach, avocado and salmon) as well as eggs many ways, bacon and all the other usual brekky goodies including pastries and croissants. The lunch menu features salads (like the Pumpkin and Haloumi salad), pastas (Prawn and Mascarpone Linguine), burgers and paninis, making it a great place to grab a friend and a bottle and while away a few hours.
They also do a mean cocktail if you’re feeling indulgent and willing to get an Uber home.
Chef is 29 year-old Sang Kwon, who worked at Bennelong in the Opera House for seven years, as well as Quay after studying French cuisine in his homeland Korea. His move to St Ives, is because “I love peace and quiet,” he says. “The city was good for my training but I moved here as I wanted a more peaceful lifestyle.”
What counts in its favour is that Jet Bar 1985 is the only restaurant in St Ives and possibly further afield serving modern Australian. There are a plethora of Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian and Chinese restaurants, so this could be its point of difference.
Jet Bar 1985 is the fourth restaurant to open in this North St Ives enclave on the Mona Vale Road, making this corner of St Ives a burgeoning foodie destination. Once it has found its feet by possibly differentiating its day-time persona from its night-time one by adding softer lighting, tablecloths and candles to soften this large space, it could well prove the sensibly-priced welcome addition to the North Shore culinary experience. Who needs to head to the city for great food when you have restaurants like this?
Jet Bar 1985
Open: Mon-Wed: 6am – 5pm
Thur: 6am – late
Fri: 6am – late
Sat: 7am – late
Sun: 7am – 5pm
Both BYO and fully licensed.
Shop 3/351 Mona Vale Rd, St. Ives NSW 2075
Tel: 9440 3977