So you've gone to all that trouble securing a lunch date at The Armchair Collective, The Boat House at Palm Beach's non-identical twin located a few beaches south in Mona Vale, only to discover that no, your date won't sit and chat. While you wait for your beef burger with house-made pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard aioli, or your char grilled Balmain bug salad with coriander and lime dressing, they're off fawning over homewares. Mint-green covered armchairs and burnt-orange striped lamp shades to be exact. There are blown-glass vases, beachy cushions and tea sets by the dozen. Vintage bar stools sit by serving platters and beside baskets of blankets and woven rugs, it'll be a wonder if they make it back to your table in time for lunch at all.
However we have a hunch that they will, because if they get too swept up in the whirlwind of glossy-magazine standard domesticity, they might miss out on a hearty Ploughman's Lunch of shaved leg ham, stuffed zucchini flowers, heirloom tomatoes, aged cheddar and shaved fennel salad. Or the milkshakes that come thick and syrupy in giant glass milk bottles. You'll both stay seated for a bucket of thick, fluffy, hand-cut chips with harissa mayonnaise, and a glass of wine, because you're out of the city and no one cares a damn.
Breakfast shows its face in the form of thick-cut miche toast spread with labne, leg ham, a poached egg and cherry tomatoes that burst at the slightest nudge of a fork. A bowl of fruit salad with figs and berries comes with a side of drippy honeycomb and the coffee is spot on. This is Mona Vale, and there is white sand and a cool sea waiting only a quick dash away. Armchairs and burgers? We could get used to this.
The Armchair Collective
9a Darley St East, Mona Vale
(02) 9999 2871
Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm
Sat-Sun 10.30am - 4,30pm