Sydney-siders take note: Jonah’s at Whale Beach is one of the most luxurious – and relaxing – respites in New South Wales and it’s just a short drive away…
Fabulous location and views, luxury and privacy, great food and wine, stellar reputation: Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel at Whale Beach can claim it all and I was lucky enough to experience the whole offering on a relaxing Sunday night.
Jonah’s is less than an hour north of the CBD on the northern beaches of Sydney, or even faster by seaplane (about 20 minutes). You can hop on board at Rose Bay and after a scenic flight over Sydney Harbour, up past the beaches and Barrenjoey Headland, you’ll land at Pittwater before being transferred to the property.
My partner and I opted to self-drive and headed up on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, making our way through the Northern Beaches suburbs before finding Jonah’s tucked away on a quiet Whale Beach street.
Whilst checking in we couldn’t miss the wall dedicated to displaying the swathe of awards the property has won (including a number of Good Food Guide chef’s hats) and a delicious complimentary welcome drink went down a treat sitting outside on the Terrace Balcony, where we were greeted with spectacular views over Whale Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Down from the Terrace, we found a small cliff-top garden offering peaceful and shady seating options, and we settled in here to finish our champagne and enjoy the perfect Sunday weather.
Comprising only 11 Ocean Retreat Rooms, the boutique property is split into two buildings. You wouldn’t know it from the street front but next door to the main building is Jonah’s Private, a secluded featuring its own entrance, a large private balcony and a swimming pool. The rooms aren’t huge but the natural colours, timber and brass finishings with minimal décor create a feeling of spaciousness. There are a few ocean-themed accents as you might expect from a beachside retreat, like navy fabrics and rope detail throughout. The spacious bathroom includes a large shower, spa bath, heated tiles and Molton Brown amenities, and outside our (and every) room is a private balcony from which to enjoy the ocean views.
Whilst the view alone might be enough to tempt any Sydney-sider for a visit, where Jonah’s really shines is in its dining offering. Open to the public as well as guests, the restaurant at Jonah’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week , and more relaxed dining is available on the Terrace. Sunday lunch is the busiest time with lots of visitors coming up to dine only, but we found dinner to be a much quieter affair. Italian born Executive chef Matteo Zamboni has created a menu influenced by his background offering modern Italian cuisine inspired by the freshest Australian ingredients.
Opting to dine from the a la carte menu I tried the salad of Australian burrata, heirloom tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil for entrée, following it with a 250 gram Black Angus beef tagliata with Béarnaise sauce , both of which were divine. My partner dined on fresh local rock oysters shucked to order, followed by fresh tagliolini pasta with king prawn, zucchini, and mint. We were also treated to an amuse bouche pre-dessert before finishing our meal with the coconut tapioca pudding with passionfruit and coconut sorbet. This sensational dining experience was complemented by wine selected from head sommelier Neils Sluiman’s 1600-strong wine list.
Breakfast the next day was just as sumptuous – the two-course menu includes café-style dishes like ocean trout with poached eggs, and banana ricotta hot cakes.
Since its origins in 1929, Jonah’s has grown into a brilliant boutique beachside hideaway and the team behind it have mastered the art of providing a quiet and relaxing haven for guests to get away from it all and indulge in fine food, wine and those gorgeous views, and we left feeling relaxed and content. My one regret from our quick trip up was not having enough time to book in one of the in-room spa treatments, but there’s always next time…