Manta Restaurant and Bar – Woolloomoolloo (Sydney)

Manta at Woolloomooloo wharf has revealed a new fit out, new menu, and new sommelier. Like a lot of other restaurants near the water, the focus is on seafood, but at Manta there’s a Mediterranean slant. Head chef Daniel Hughes is bringing back simplicity and provenance. It’s all about fresh produce that you can trace right back to the source. Origins of the seafood and meats are listed on the menus, so that diners can be more aware about where their food comes from.

Interior - Day - Outwards

The refurbishment was completed in only nine days, and was driven by interior designer Sally Taylor from Sydney’s S.T.UDIO. There’s an emphasis on lighter tones and a beachier feel. “The palette provides a gentle nod to the Hamptons, adapted for this iconic Sydneyside setting,” explains Sally.

Interior - Day - Back

We’re lucky enough to be at the relaunch dinner, which started with a glass of Veuve Clicquot and a round of canapés. Plates of Princess Charlotte Bay bug wrapped with pancetta and green peas makes the rounds, plus some deliciously charred asparagus with buffalo mozzarella and spiced red pepper dressing.

Freshly Shucked Oysters (Natural)

After we get acquainted, we sit down to enjoy a menu that’s very similar to the Manta tasting banquet. First up is a raw course. A plate of oysters emerge – tonight’s selection are Pacific oysters from Clyde River and Sydney Rock oysters from Hastings and Merimbula ($4.50 each). A raw tasting platter ($24) is also served: a half shell Harvey Bay scallop is adorned with black pepper vinaigrette, pomegranate and sorrel; Princess Charlotte Bay bug meat is served as a two-minute ceviche with finger limes, horseradish and fennel; and lastly ocean trout belly is dotted with hazelnut cream, capers, parsley, and pickled French shallots. Complementing the raw course is a glass of tropical and fruity 2015 Bird in Hand Sauvignon Blanc from Adelaide Hills.

raw course

On the entrees menu the lasagne hits all the right highs. It’s made with blue swimmer crab from St Vincent & Spencer Gulf in South Australia, Princess Charlotte Bay bug, and crab bisque sauce is poured at the table ($27). The lasagne is served in a perfect circle, boasting flavour and paired wonderfully with a vibrant 2015 McLeish Verdelho from Hunter Valley.

Baked spanner crab lasagne

The baked half shell scallop from Harvey Bay in Queensland with Jerusalem artichoke & buttermilk cream, spring pea salad, crackling crumb ($22) is a great spring dish. The crackling crumb is brilliant, adding crunch and a savory kick.


Most of the dishes we’ve been sharing, but the hapuka from Chatham Island with white onion cream, baby globe artichokes, white wine, and lemon thyme ($48) is served individually. While I would have liked the hapuka to have a crisper skin, the overall dish is still solid in terms of flavors. I especially dig the sweetness from the white onion cream. The fish course is served with a glass of 2013 Cape Mentelle Charonnay, which is my least favourite of the night (disclaimer: I’ve never been a chardy fan).

petite eye fillet

I’m not even much of a meat eater but I thoroughly enjoy the main event: petite eye fillet and 24-hour braised short rib ($46). The beef is farmed from the family property of Manta’s owner Rob Rubis in Texas, Queensland. The short rib just falls apart and packs a punch. Two thumbs up.


I’m a bit of a hot chip connoisseur, and I can confirm that the Manta angle chips with truffle and parmesan ($18) are excellent. It’s not real truffle you’re getting on there (but that makes sense – it’s not truffle season after all). There’s a generous scattering of parmesan and most importantly the chips are perfectly crispy. This last savoury course is coupled with a 2013 Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run GSM from Clare Valley.


The dessert sharing plate ($39) ends our meal on a high note. The pavlova ($18) is served deconstructed, and modernised with different elements like lemon curd, passionfruit, Chantilly cream, mango purée and a refreshing quenelle of strawberry sorbet.

Potentially my favorite of the three (though it’s pretty hard to choose – they were all devoured with glee) is the cherry bavarois ($18). The bavarois block is topped with pistachio and teamed off with cherry gel and a white chocolate ice cream. Berries and white chocolate are two of my favourite things, so it’s no surprise this was a winner in my eyes.

Lastly, the Amedei dark chocolate & raspberry tart with salted macadamia praline, and raspberry sorbet ($18) brings it home with a rich chocolate finish. Chocoholics will undoubtedly get a kick out of this one.

The desserts were matched with a lovely 2003 Broken River Chenin Blanc from Goulburn Valley.

Dessert wines are always my favourite, and this semi-sweet chenin blanc is the perfect ending to a great meal.

Tip: The tasting banquet for $79 per person is excellent value if you’re dining at Manta on a weekday.

Manta Restaurant
6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Sydney
Monday-Sunday: Lunch 12pm-3pm, Dinner 6pm-10pm

Manta Bar & Lounge
Daily from 12pm til close
Bar menu available


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