Azure at The Twelve Apostles

You could say the Azure is the *ultimate* restaurant for ladies who lunch, especially when lunch is on a blustery Wednesday when everyone else is at work and the restaurant is completely empty (cue one of those “Thank God I booked!” moments).

You arrive in an Uber like a VIP (because Wednesday lunch), and are escorted into a splendid but unfortunately freezing cold dining room, where the friendly staff inform you that neither of the two huge fireplaces are in operation this afternoon due to stuff. We’ll hang onto our coats for now then, thanks.

It’s an early celebration of Lady J’s birthday, which she knows and so does the restaurant, but they were supposed to keep it a secret until a special dessert later. So the waiter’s first question of whose birthday it is, and immediate revelation that there is a surprise in store is perhaps not the best start.

But then we order a glass of bubbly, which turns into a whole bottle on the house — it’s not like anyone else was going to drink it anyway — and all is forgiven.

We’re also here to sample a winter “lunch by the sea” special, which involves two courses and a glass of wine. First up, an off-menu amuse bouche of something involving fish and a welcome dose of umami (miso?).

Then, because ladies need strength, a bit of bread with butter (normal and biltong-spiked), and some annoyingly lovely salmon paté. We agree that the “health” bread with fruits and nuts is also annoyingly good.

We start with a calamari risotto with sultanas which is weird but delicious in a Sicilian way. Next up, roast chicken, which is proper comfort food in a fancy blue plate with a good view. It is too much, but complaining about a kitchen eager to please bigger appetites than ours seems an exercise in silliness.

We have now had enough wine, food, and bubbly to have entered the fantasy that we are not sitting alone in a cold dining room, but at the receiving end of an exclusive dining experience engineered only for our satisfaction.

Then, the “surprise”:

It was just a silly little cupcake, but sometimes a silly little cupcake is all you need (especially when you really don’t need any more food).

So we took the rest of our bubbly onto the blustery balcony outside the upstairs bar where there was a seagull called Percy (because we said so) and reminisced about how one of us had been wooed in the same spot many moons (x12) ago.

And then we left the coldest, emptiest restaurant in town feeling full and warm.

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Originally published at on August 21, 2016.