Thursday, 31 July 2014

SoCal, Neutral Bay- California here I come!

I need a holiday.

I've been wanting a US trip for a while now but am lacking time and money.
But alas,  no time and budget calls for another alternative.

A relatively close alternative is to visit an Californian inspired restaurant with some tasty good eats. why?

1. I needed to eat (drink) my heart's sorrow away
2. Pretend I was on holidays

That is how I found myself at SoCal Neutral bay.

The brains behind SoCal are Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll from Applejack Hospitality, SoCal came about when they returned from an eating, drinking and surfing trip in California, it oozes the southern California surf vibe and theme. 

Cali inspired decor 

the "outdoor" seating

The delicious food and drinks menu here is extensive and is a reflection of what can be found along HWY101. Head Chef Zac Smart sure lives up to his name, delivering an electic mix of share foods menu. Make sure you bring a few more friends! 

I'm not much of a drinker, but there is a extensive choice when it comes to wines and selection of spirits, beers, ciders and cocktails. Drinks here are looked after by bar manager Joe Worthington. 

Head Chef, Zac Smart & Bar Manager, Joe Worthington. 

Corn chips with Pico De Gallo, Guacamole and Tomato Salsa

On Arrival, we were immediately handed a classic margarita and pointed to some delicious corn chips with Pico De Gallo, Guacamole and Tomato Salsa. A great way to begin our 6 course feasting! I was ravenous by the time I got there, so I attacked these like no tomorrow. It's not news that I love avocado, so the guacamole was definitely my favourite. The tomato salsa was a close second and was deliciously fresh. 

A very welcoming display! 

Classic Margarita

Crab & sopressatta tostadas

First up is the Crab & sopressatta tostadas, a mix of  fresh crab and sopressata with just the right amount of chilli made it a great start to a food field night. 
This was served with Joe's super amazing mystery cocktail, a citrusy cocktail with some delicious egg white foam to start. 

                                 Joe's super amazing mystery interactive cocktail experience.


 Chicken Sliders

Up next were these delicious chicken sliders, a soft bun encasing flavoursome chicken breast, avocado and chorizo, I could of easily eaten all 4! Definitely one of my favourites of the night. 

Frisco Pisco 

The sliders were served with a Frisco Pisco cocktail. The Frisco Pisco was quite strong and definitely not for the light drinkers! the Pisco is infused with chilli and finished off with elderflower liquer and muddled cucumber.

Seared Salmon with Brocollini, chilli and coriander salsa verde 

Seared salmon is a long time love of mine. It was no surprise that this dish was very well received with my grumbling stomach. Perfectly cooked salmon and chilli brocollini were topped off with some paper-thin sweet potato crisps! Mmmmm! 

Dry Creek, Fume Blanc, Sonoma CA

I had had enough alcohol by this point, but the drinkers foraged on. The salmon was paired with dry and refreshing Dry Creek, Fume Blanc, Sonoma CA. 

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with faro, freekeh, quinoa and kale 

This dish is definitely a healthy dish in my books, topped with super foods like freekeh, quinoa and kale, but the highlight was definitely the tender slow roasted lamb shoulder which had the perfect flesh to fat ratio, making it a melt-in-a-mouth sensation.

Bliss Point Noir, Mendocino CA

The blissful lamb shoulder was served with a lovely red, the Bliss Point Noir, Mendocino CA.

Scotch Fillet with chimmichurri

Last but not least is the scotch fillet with chimmichurri, whilst tasty, the steak had sinewy and fatty parts that made it rather hard to chew.

                           Dry Creek 'Heritage' Zinfandel, Sonoma CA and a handsome waitstaff!

No more alcohol for me! 

Mushroom Salad

A scrumptious mushroom salad was served with the perfectly cooked scotch fillet. The mushrooms were supported by some lovely salad greens and mixed beans, just what I needed after so much protein!

                                                         Salted caramel expresso martini

I had to drive home and combined with my low alcohol tolerance, I only had a sip of this ketel one, galliano ristretto and honeycomb laced salted caramel expresso martini. As expected, the coffee hit was intense followed by a salty sweet from the honeycomb and salted caramel. 

                                    Chocolate, Pistachio & tequila brownie w/ chipotle cream 

Last but not least were the chocolate, pistachio and tequila brownies. Fudgey dense cubes of chocolatey goodness, the addition of the chipotle cream adds a fiery kick to it for a great finish. 

oh hello there Mr brownie!

SoCal 's extensive bar 

The hidden entrance 

Look out for the subtle Californian themes to find the stairway to heaven, I missed it when I walked past initially!  

Are you hungry for some californian inspired food? Then this is definitely the place to go! You can find out more about them on their website

SoCal on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Milkteaxx was invited to SoCal Neutral Bay by Pendulum Communications, opinions are however her own. 

Like to know more about Milkteaxx and her food adventures? 
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Till next time,



  1. I need a holiday too. I feel you. And that brownie with chipotle is interesting. Didn't know the combination actually exists!

    1. it was delicious but just a bit of a kick too much!

  2. Looks like I'm missing out! SoCal has a lot to offer :) Thanks for sharing!

    Gourmet Getaways

  3. Brownies w/chipotle? Goodness, Mexican not as I know it. Neutral Bay really seems like the area to get into these days. Pity it's so far!

    1. yes neutral bay seems to have a lot of electic offerings nowadays!

  4. The lamb shoulder sounds so tasty, and adding salted caramel to an espresso martini is quite the twist!

    1. it was scrumptious melt in your mouth!

  5. loving the look of all those cocktails! think i need to check it out!

    1. the boys sure know more than a thing or two about cocktails and wines!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks! its still incomplete tho, getting there slowly!

  7. The food looks great! Good to see a nice venue north side :D

  8. I definitely need a holiday too - I totally feel you!

  9. The lamb looks so good!
    but totally agree, need a "alternative" if you can't travel ;)