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Black Pony… What Coogee Deserves

By Rhys Kane on February 2, 2012 in Food

Photo: Grant Brooks

This is the kind of place Coogee deserves – a cool, stylish eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in one of Melbourne’s laneways. It’s a testament to Coogee that operators are looking to establish such funky venues in this perfect little beachside hub.

By day Black Pony is an espresso cafe, by night a serious a’la carte restaurant, and the vibe combines shorts-and-thongs casual with a trendier, formal atmosphere.

Positioned right in the thick of the action at the beach end of Coogee Bay Road, Black Pony’s curbside presence is understated with just a simple driftwood sign luring hungry punters, but step inside and you’ll marvel at the stylish interior. Earthy and organic, anyone into interiors will be frothing at the design of this place, with lashings of wood, bare brick walls, brass fittings, shiny white tiles and splashes of rusty corrugated iron completing the look. The bar dominates one side of the room, and a line of formica-clad tables fills the other, while the front corner of the café is occupied by a beautiful large table and bench that looks like it was made from a giant 100 year-old tree.

Black Pony’s daytime offering is a combination of classic breakfast fare – eggs benny, pancakes, muesli and fruit – and a bunch of items that make me think an excitable chef has got his hands on the menu. Try the vine-ripened tomato ragu on polenta with poached eggs, parmesan and fresh basil or the steamed asparagus with eggs and shaved parmesan. For lunch, the steak sandwich is hard to beat – a big slab of tender minute steak with roast tomato, onions, aioli and rocket. It was so good it justified being eaten with a knife and fork. The prices are a little steep for Coogee, but for this kind of quality it’s worth paying that little bit extra. They seem to use excellent quality ingredients and the best suppliers, including Sonoma bread and Allpress coffee.

From 6pm, Black Pony becomes a bit more grown-up, with a simple a’la carte menu offering five starters, five mains and five desserts, along with some interesting specials on the blackboard.

To start, try the hand-made stracci pasta with king prawns or the seared quail with endive and beetroot. Follow this with well-hung char-grilled sirloin with a classic steak garnish, lamb rump with white bean puree and crispy brussels sprouts, or crispy skin snapper with Jerusalem artichokes, fennel and roast almonds for mains. And to finish, the vanilla pannacotta with mango salad and champagne jelly is simply a must.

With starters just shy of $20 and mains in the mid-to-high $20s, it is well priced for such impeccable quality and perfect execution. The owners have plans for a drinks licence and possibly even a cocktail bar upstairs too, but currently offer BYO at just $2 per person.

Black Pony certainly means business. The owners have created a funky establishment that is sure to impress and help consolidate Coogee’s place on the culinary map.

Black Pony

Address: 252 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
Phone: (02) 9664 9440
Head Chef: Nicole McIlwaine
Seats: 50
Price: Breakfast $9.50-$17; Lunch $12.50-$29.50; Dinner $15-$29.50
Open: Sun-Tues 7am-4pm; Wed-Sat 7am-late (closed 5-6pm)
Cards: Everything except Amex and Diners
Licensed/BYO: BYO (Licence pending)