Courtyard – Coogee’s Alfresco Gem
Situated at the beach end of Coogee Bay Road, in the enclave formerly home to Café Bohemia and made popular more recently by Beach Burrito Company, a new café/restaurant recently opened its doors. Trading under the name Courtyard Café for the past year or so, this al fresco gem was taken over last month by Dave Martin, formerly of Sauce Bar and Grill, who has given it a new lease of life and the simpler moniker, Courtyard.
Stepping in off the busy street, the large courtyard is adorned with modern tables and chairs, new bench seating, gas heaters and a clever retractable roof that allows for comfort in Sydney’s ever changing weather. Even sat on the same table you can choose sun or shade thanks to this clever design.
Courtyard has a beach resort ambiance with lots of natural light and a contemporary feel, and although it is currently a little stark with no defined style, there is massive potential and Dave has big plans that include timber planter boxes, big murals on the walls and large chalkboards illustrating all the goodies on offer.
There is plenty of space for families to spread out too, with highchairs available for the bubs. And with Beach Burrito Company just next door, the funky Mexican vibe definitely spills over. Courtyard has a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that is enhanced by Dave’s enthusiasm for the place.
Courtyard’s daytime cafe function has been given a pleasant overhaul. It’s open seven days with a fresh and vibrant menu, consisting of the usual breakfast and lunch classics with a few twists. For breakfast, the ploughman’s is a hearty plate of egg, mushroom, ricotta and fresh tomato, the baked eggs are packed with flavour and served in a smart little terracotta bowl served with toast soldiers, and the omelette is generous in size and filled with tasty morsels of chorizo, onion and gruyere. The lunch menu, served from midday, offers much in the way of temptation including burgers, sandwiches and salads, and it’s all very reasonably priced.
Courtyard’s coffee comes from Mecca Espresso, popular in the CBD but little known in the east. It’s a smooth brew good enough to tempt you in for your next caffeine fix.
Evenings at Courtyard are currently open from Thursday to Saturday, with a stylish menu featuring a small selection of tapas-style plates for grazing, along with mains including scotch fillet of beef with wild mushrooms, braised lamb shoulder with chickpeas and garlic mash, and pan-fried salmon with braised pumpkin and bok-choy. It’s a well-balanced menu and while I’m yet to have the opportunity to sample from it, it sounds delicious.
Courtyard is yet to secure a license, so take advantage of the $3 corkage and bring along your favourite tipple. When they do get their license, Courtyard is bound to become a great alternative to the local beer garden. It’s the perfect al fresco place to kick back and chill out with a crisp glass of wine.
It’s clear that Courtyard is a friendly, unpretentious eatery and it deserves to be popular. Dave has grand plans for the place and his passion is sure to bring success, so leave behind any prejudices you may have for the old Courtyard Cafe and give the new owner a go.
Address: 1/260 Coogee Bay Road
Phone: (02) 9664 3411
Owner: Dave Martin
Prices: Breakfast $5-$16; Lunch $6-$17; Dinner $15-$27
Open: Sunday to Wed 7.30am to 5pm; Thursday to Saturday 7.30am to 10pm
Cards: EFTPOS and some cards
Licensed/BYO: BYO only