Raclette night at a speakeasy
Next to a hairdresser, and surrounded by an F45, the post office and real estate agencies is an old school deli. It looks out of place because of its powder blue exterior, Cove Deli doormat and curtains concealing the interior of the shop.
You tentatively move inside this charcuterie. Ninety-nine per cent sure you’re in the right place, but with one per cent of nerves, thinking you’ll have to walk back out with a log of salami.
Inside is a kitchen stocked with hanging meats, a fruit bowl on the island bench and a slicing unit.
From what you’ve heard, the next step is to forge on through the wooden door at the back of the room, which could just as easily be a refrigerator as it is an entry to one of Manly’s hottest new venues.
As soon as you pull the door back, the sound of people revelling and The Temptations softly playing in the background washes over you.
A short descent down a stone-lined wooden staircase leads you to the underground speakeasy everyone has been talking about, The Cumberland.
We are dressed up, but with the vibe of this prohibition-inspired venue, you almost feel as though only a three-piece suit and matching fedora would do it justice. You could be forgiven for pulling out a cigar, while sitting on the leather lounge.
Anyway, my partner and I are here during the Taste of the Beaches for ‘Raclette Night’.
A first-class whisky bar, I had to first indulge in one of their house specials, the ‘Westmoreland’.
A Glenfiddich 12-yr based cocktail, which is fresh and delicious, but also allows for the quality of the scotch to shine through.
As a self-proclaimed espresso martini connoisseur, my wife opts for the ‘Dandelion Espresso Martini’, and she isn’t disappointed. The evening has been set up wonderfully, and we await the raclette eagerly.
Then out it comes, a platter generously filled with prosciutto, leg ham, baked potatoes, crispy bread and even porcini crisps.
Our waitress proceeds to scrape the melting cheese off the wheel all over the spread, which I am reliably informed is a very authentic selection.
We agree that the combination of the prosciutto and rich fromage is a showstopper.
Of course, The Cumberland also has a permanent tapas menu, which leans heavily on its charcuterie expertise.
And with Sydney rock oysters as a starting option and Cumberland Cigars (Belgian dark chocolate mousse piped in a chocolate wafer cigar) to round the meal off, it is a superb date night option!
The Cumberland, 17/19 Central Avenue, Manly, 9058 2877, cumberlandmanly.com.au.