Fine fare at Jonah's - Luxury Travel Magazine


Jonah’s is a small retreat-resort overlooking Whale Beach on the northern edge of Sydney. With eleven rooms and one “residence”, it is a private club-style getaway perfect for overseas visitors.

Locals too, looking for an intimate overnight, have a discreet private retreat available forty minutes north of the city. Apparently the restaurant onsite is the second oldest in Australia, Doyle’s at Watsons Bay having greater antiquity. But it is the new team in the kitchen and cellar that is sure to interest diners.

Food and wine have always been of high standard at Jonah’s, but Chef Alfonso Ales – recently arrived from Billson’s where he was Chef de Cuisine (and previously a stint at El Bulli) – has brought a very European sensibility and created an authentically modern menu. The robust flavours of his Iberian heritage are evident in dishes such as the “confit of cod with piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade and garlic veloute”. Finesse is also evident in dishes like the “Chaud-Froid” of Hirimasa Kingfish and seared scallop with citrus dressing and caviars. The dish has at once complex, long flavours and a simplicity and lightness.

Though this may seem to be over-reaching for such a small establishment, there is a doggedly loyal clientele which supports the restaurant. This brings me to the new sommelier Christian Baeppler, who recently took over the cellar. He complemented the Kingfish perfectly with a 2008 Trimbach Riesling from Alsace. The wine captured all of the flavours, complementing some and highlighting others.

It’s said that the sommelier has become almost as much a star as the chef in many restaurants; yin to chefs’ yang. M Baeppler seems to achieve just this. His continental experience is obvious, matching cuisine with fine European wines but just as impressive is his selection of beautiful, rare and unusual Australian wines. The Peking-Aylesbury Duck “Apicus” served with root vegetables, citrus fruits, honey-braised pears and Bigarrade sauce was served with a 2008 Caillard Mataro, Barossa valley; an exquisite food combination paired perfectly with a complex and unusual wine. One more standout wine that really grabbed my attention was the 2007 Domaine L’Arjolle “Lyre” Muscat a Petit Grains, Cotes de Thonge France - a dessert wine with a gorgeous contained sweetness, refined acid and a long, long finish.

Jonah’s is a wonderful getaway for when you want privacy, fine dining and a spectacular view. Combine it with a little romance and the world is your oyster; better make it a dozen. But do seek the advice of M Baeppler in selecting your Champagne, or the wine to match your meal – and stay for breakfast with that view, oh what a view.

Jonah’s, Whale Beach
69 Bynya Road
Whale Beach, NSW
Australia 2108
Ph: +61 2 9974 5599
F: +61 2 9974 1212