I woke up in a cloud of confusion. And then the wave of relief hit: the two weeks of conference work travel was over. I didn’t have to madly dash into the bathroom and run a million to-do checklists in my head while brushing my teeth, or pray that there would be a taxi available at the hotel entrance. There was absolutely nothing and no one that needed my attention. I was free!
Snugged under the hotel covers, I wriggled beside the SO. The man is such a light sleeper, it’s almost impossible for him to sleep in later than me unless I try really hard not to disturb him. An eye cracked open and I ignored the inevitable morning breath as he greeted me with a soft ‘morning’ (ah, the joys of marriage).
I proposed we hit the beach before a shower and breakfast – I could just make out the lighting sky through the curtain crack and the hotel was on Coogee Beach. Keen to finally spend time with a sane woman, he readily agreed and it wasn’t long before we were swim ready and wriggling our toes in ghost white sand.
The beach and water proved not only choked with seaweed, but the water was icy! It took me at least 15 minutes to inch my way into the surf like a turtle-paced crab. Sydneysiders were much more gung-ho and dived in like dolphins – Queensland’s waters have spoilt me, though I do wish more beaches along the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast would take a leaf from Sydney and build more beach tidal pools. These manmade structures are fuelled by the ocean waves, but protect swimmers from strong currents and waves that have claimed lives.
Swimming works up an appetite, so after a shower back at the hotel, we were in the market for a good breakfast. While we walked back to the hotel, a place caught our eye – Barzura. It had been busy when we went to the beach and now walking back, we noted the buzz hadn’t waned. Looking at it from afar, it didn’t look especially special. The building and signboard looked a little tired and worn, and the furniture was fairly generic café style gear. Nonetheless, all those people couldn’t be wrong, right?
Rocking up to the entrance, the SO and I studied the menu case on the wall, while waiting to be seated and that wasn’t long. We were lucky a table of two had just been vacated – inside was buzzing with conversation from families and friends catching up over breakfast. Barzura‘s seating area spills out into an equally large al-fresco area by the on-street parking with an expansive view of the ocean and Coogee Beach.
I liked that Barzura‘s menu went beyond the traditional bacon and eggs. After 2 weeks of hotel breakfasts, different was exactly what I was looking for.
And you cannot get more different in Australia than nasi goreng for breakfast. This Malaysian/Indonesian answer to the paler pea-ridden Chinese fried rice would’ve been more aromatic, had it been served warmer. Topped with an over easy fried egg (woot!), the rice grains – already tossed through with matchstick lengths of bacon and chunky chopped onion – soaked up the rich golden lava of yolk. Now that is one heck of a way to start the day.
Their Asian omelette was right at the top of the list and I gunned for it. This fluffy half disc with generous garnishes of coriander and halved cherry tomatoes dominated the wide dinner plate. Cutting into it, there was a wealth of fresh ingredients – each one to tick the healthy box (I didn’t want to ruin the good I had done from the morning’s swim) and staples in almost every Asian kitchen. For those who are familiar with Asian cuisine, the Asian omelette also came with a sauce of dark sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) to drizzle over every mouthful for that hit of salty sweetness – almost a necessity when tackling the bright red potent slices of chilli.
The only annoyance from breakfast was the narcissistic lady at the next table we had the unfortunate luck of sitting beside. Her constant lamenting about her life and choices to her dining companion in a tone that made it impossible for us not to eavesdrop had us sitting over breakfast in awkward silence and eager to get away as soon as possible – a real shame as Barzura otherwise makes for a very relaxing breakfast stop.