St Alma: the answer to Freshie’s prayers
Stepping through the doors of Freshwater’s St Alma, its hard to believe this vibrant, bright, and airy restaurant is technically the new kid on the block.
It’s clear this is not local restauranteurs Jack Leary and Tim Christensen’s first go at such a venue, with the success of sister venue Alma felt in the stunning beachy layout and experimental Aus-Mex cuisine.
We’re swiftly led to a booth seat near the open plan kitchen, and I am instantly thrilled. As a poor chef but an avid foodie, I am enthralled by the cooking process and will take any opportunity for a good gawk at the masters.
Our server takes our drinks order and starts us off with a classic favourite – the chips and guac.
There is something so moreish about homemade guacamole, and this rendition with fresh pico de gallo and toasted pepitas makes it difficult for us to not fill up on the starter.
Next come the sashimi tacos – a mixture of fresh salmon, avocado, pico de gallo, jalapeno, limes, and sesame seeds in a crispy wanton taco. It’s Japanese/Mexican fusion at its finest, with the rich, smooth taste of the salmon perfectly offset by the crunch of the wanton taco shell.
This is followed by the crab tostadas with guacamole, crispy bacon, and truffle oil. A rich mix of earthy, salty, and smoky flavours, it is unsurprising this delightful dish was a standout for both me and my partner.
We finish our entradas with two distinct flavour explosions – the charred sweet corn with chipotle aioli, parmesan cheese and Valentina sauce and the agave grilled halloumi with thyme and crushed nut salsa.
Both these popular dishes are favourites of mine and having tried versions at other restaurants I can certainly testify that St Alma’s are exceptionally good.
The piece de resistance of the meal then emerges in the form of a whole baby snapper with achiote paste, guachile, pickled red onions and oregano wrapped and cooked in banana leaf.
Cooking the fish in the leaf keeps the meat incredibly moist and tender, ideal for pairing with the tart and spicy flavours of the green apple and baby spinach salad, with walnuts, pickled radish, avocado, pico de gallo and jalapeno honey dressing.
Washed down with two of the venue’s signature margaritas, this incredible meal shows that like its Avalon based big sister, St Alma is right at home on the Northern Beaches.