OUR weekend break in Rottnest didn’t go to plan when my wife’s team Geelong got thumped in the grand final.
We watched the game in the local cinema – a hall with deckchairs bolted to the floor and BYO – and by the final siren it was like a scene from Planet of the Apes.
To cheer my wife up the next day, I took her and the kids to Thomsons Rottnest for lunch.
Overlooking Thomson Bay beside the ferry terminal, the restaurant has gorgeous views of the turquoise and aquamarine waters that make Rotto so special.
Fishing nets have been cleverly used to shield you from the irritating seagulls, so you can have an alfresco lunch and enjoy the beautiful vista.
The contemporary menu was split into small and large plates with an emphasis on seafood dishes including battered Spanish mackerel, local mussels, grilled snapper and fish tacos.
There were also some pasta dishes, burgers, a couple of desserts, and a kids menu.
The spacious restaurant felt relaxed and modern with a cool ocean colour scheme and some stylish touches like pendant lights.
Beside the kitchen area was a swish bar stocked with an extensive range of spirits, wines and beers.
The bar staff were friendly and had a good knowledge of all the different cocktails and craft beers.
After ordering at the counter, it wasn’t long before the smiley waitress was at our table with my prawn spaghetti ($31).
I normally don’t get pasta for lunch because it’s too heavy, but this was a light, fragrant dish that didn’t leave you feeling like Mussolini after a Domino’s.
The capers, thinly sliced olives and parsley combined to create a beautiful summer dish.
I really enjoyed the fresh, perfectly cooked prawns, which were cut into dainty segments and enhanced by the slices of garlic and wedge of lemon. Rounding things off was some fine, al dente spaghetti, which again kept the dish light and breezy. One of the best lunchtime pasta dishes I’ve had in ages. Delicious.
Across the table, my wife was staring forlornly at a photo of Gary Ablett on her phone.
Every so often she would nibble her salt and pepper squid ($19).
“The batter is super light and crunchy and the squid is beautifully cooked,” she said.
“I’m enjoying the fresh salad and chips and it’s the perfect light dish to have while sitting right beside the ocean.”
Meanwhile, the kids wolfed down their fish and chips ($10) without any complaints.
I normally don’t go to restaurants with great views, because the food is invariably poor.
But Thomsons’ cuisine lived up to its amazing views, with affordable simple dishes that were well executed.
Colebatch Avenue, Rottnest Island
by STEPHEN POLLOCK