The Hold (Manly)

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I can’t think of a more beautiful way to spend the weekend than in Manly and I think the view below certainly confirms that!

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I am here in the afternoon to visit a new bar which has opened up called The Hold. It has an interesting nautical theme (very reminiscent of the nautical decorations in Harry’s Bar in Venice to extent) and the food and drink has a Spanish influence to it which makes it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Interior 

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I decide to have a drink to unwind… I need something that will just hit the spot and I settle on the….

East Indies Negroni

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The drink has Beefeater 24, Campari, Antica Formula and House-made spiced Chestnut liqueur. Its served in a little bottle with a glass of ice on the side.

The herby bitter-sweet liquid flows from the bottle to touch the ice with gentle splash. The ice does some work to reduce the strength of the cocktail and to add a little chill on this sunny day. The flavours of citrus, aromatic herbs, grapes and botanicals infuse to provide a strong drinking experience. It is almost lost in the strength of the base flavours, but yes the spice and subtle chestnut flavours of the liqueur finds its way onto the taste buds. It’s such an experience.

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Now for a light lunch….

Fish Tacos

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It is beautiful succulent jelly textured snapper cured in tequila with the bite of lime on a bed of soft creamy avocado salsa, caramelised onion jam laid on a crunchy taco shell.

The dish is deceptively simple, but I can assure the textures and flavours interact rather effortlessly. The snapper retains its natural flavours which shines through along with overlay of the tequila and lime, while the smooth avocado salsa provides some balance and the onion jam some a smoky sweetness and of course the softness of the filling is disrupted by the crunch of taco shell.

Croquettes

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The croquettes are interesting. It has little pieces of Jamon Serrano and manchego cheese encased in a crispy coating served with paprika aioli. The Jamon provides some salt and probably the main flavour to the dish, while the richness of the manchego shines through the moist fluffy croquette filling which is balanced by the crunch of the coating.

Overall

It is a lovely bar with beautiful decor/theme… well suited to the beach. The Cocktail list is creative, the service was excellent and I couldn’t really fault the food. The only gripe is there are some lovely items on the bar menu (chicken winglets, braised beef tacos etc.) which are not included on their lunch menu, and you can order off the lunch menu during the day.

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