Is Coogee the trendiest place on earth? Sunday lunch number two » KathSwinbourne

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Apr 03 2012

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Is Coogee the trendiest place on earth? Sunday lunch number two

The second instalment in the Sunday lunch project and we’re wavering already.

Plans were to go out somewhere around Dee Why because we were up that way for a 50th birthday. On the Saturday night we went out for dinner across the road from Dee Why beach. The restaurant was very good, the company was interesting, the weather was perfect, and the views were beautiful. Walking to the car along the beachfront after dinner was spectacular.

Unfortunately, we didn’t stay up that way but came back south Sunday morning. So rather than Dee Why we decided on Sunday brunch at Coogee with my oldest daughter and her boyfriend.

What a contrast!

Now I’m used to living in some very trendy places. When I was younger I lived at Taylor Square, Darlinghurst. I could walk to work in the city, walk to and from nightclubs and designer clothing shops, get a drink or a meal at any time of the day or night just around the corner, even go out and buy milk or a newspaper at 3am. In those days even though it was very trendy, Darlinghurst was also home to some very down-to-earth working class-type people. I remember walking up to the corner shop (which was on Flinders Street) to buy milk first thing in the morning while still wearing my dressing gown. It was that type of place.

And I used to hang out in Coogee quite a bit. It’s where I went to the gym and where I took my kids to the beach when they were younger. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s there was Selena’s and the Coogee Bay Hotel when it was still owned by Terry Page. Now that was an experience you don’t forget easily!

But Coogee on Sunday was a very different experience. Or maybe I’m just getting old(er) and used to living in the provinces.

I have never seen so many beautiful people in one place before.

We parked the car in the carpark at Coogee Oval, and walked along the beachfront. There were a few people on the beach, but far more walking along the promenade, in the park and on the streets.  Many of them in workout gear going to or from the gym, or running along the beachfront. And even if I went to the gym every day, I’d never look like most of these people.

And those that weren’t exercising were looking good sitting in one of the many, many cafes having brunch. Despite almost every second shop (or even more than 1 in 2) being a cafe, it was a fight to get a table somewhere.  There was no picking where we wanted to go, we had to settle for walking along the street until we found a free table somewhere. If you want to go into the food business anywhere – Coogee seems to be the place to do it!

And most of these places aren’t even facing the beach. They’re on the street that runs away from the beach so you don’t even have a view. The street is very ordinary, with no trees and lots of traffic (both pedestrian and cars).

When we arrived (about 10.30am) one side of the street was in full sun, while the other was in full shade. After much toing and froing we did find a free table outside Renata’s (on the sunny side of the street), and when that got too hot we even managed to get a table inside.

The staff were very friendly, but the food was very ordinary (maybe that’s why we didn’t have any problems getting a table there?). My daughter’s iced chocolate was warm, which made her gag when she took a sip – she hasn’t drunk warm milk since she was a baby!  Her fruit salad was mainly apple and orange (unforgivable at this time of year when melons, stone fruits and berries are still available), and cut in quite large chunks, and my pineapple juice was out of a bottle or can rather than fresh.  But the ham & cheese omelette was perfect according to my daughter’s boyfriend.

Unfortunately the sheer number of people, coupled with Doc’s bad foot, made a walk along the beach less than ideal. So after we’d eaten we drove straight home  where we veged out in front of the TV all afternoon. I did say we were at a party the night before!!

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