A little at sea by the lake

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It sounds so Sydney: “I’m going to the yacht club for lunch”. Well, you can say that in Canberra, too – at the Lotus Bay Restaurant, Southern Cross Yacht Club, Yarralumla.

We grabbed a table in the sun on the patio at water level, down the stairs from the large, well-protected outdoor balcony. There is no staff service on the patio, so you need a buzzer that goes off when your food is ready – more on this later.

The extensive lunch menu has something for everyone with entrees starting at around $9 and topping at $27.50 for a dozen oysters Kilpatrick, and mains from $16.50 for risotto Parmagiano to just over $29 for “surf ‘n turf”.

The beer-battered flathead with chips ($19.20) hit the spot – a generous serve and the batter not too heavy.

The pan-seared Tasmanian salmon fillet ($26) was okay, although I wasn’t asked how I would like the salmon cooked and ended up with it being slightly overdone for my liking (not too dry, though). It came with a red capsicum couli, which proudly held its own with flavour.

The Southern Cross Club operates the restaurant so I expected, and got, club systems. But I found these chaotic and couldn’t determine if it was the way the place is set up or how staff where handling matters on our visit, or a bit of both.

You order meals at a cash register and then go to the bar for drinks. Sounds straightforward. I ordered our food and was given a number. Then I saw that another customer from the patio had a buzzer in his hand so I asked the cashier if I should have one, too. The response was a sigh and she informed me she “forgot to ask” where I was sitting. Since all orders are automatically sent into the kitchen, the cashier now had a problem. Why did I feel it was my fault?

Once the matter was resolved, I toddled over to the bar where I wasn’t served for an uncomfortable length of time. Eventually, I was able to order a bottle of wine and I asked for two glasses. Got the bottle, but no glasses. Another wait. Then I asked for water with two glasses. Got the glasses, but not the water.

Do I need to go on? No I don’t. Would I go back? Yes, but primarily for the view.

Lotus Bay Restaurant, open for lunch from noon to 2pm, dinner 6pm to 9pm and breakfast 9am to 11am. Call 6273 1784.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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