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“grat placwe for lunch”
Review of Murray's at Manly - CLOSED

Murray's at Manly
Cuisines: Australian
Neighborhood: Manly
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Manly
Reviewed March 9, 2013

the food and service was terrific, could not complain.
We shared the chirizo for a starter, my daughter had the salmon salad, I the spatchcock. both were very good and recommend both. Service was first class, will return.

1  Thank paddles_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 12 of 17 reviews

Reviewed March 1, 2013 via mobile

Absolutely phenomenal beer, quite a few homemade brews along with a solid list of other brews on tap.

Service is lacking and food is hit or miss. Prawn toast was great, burger had great flavor but was over cooked and pizza was fine. Also, they will not give you salt or pepper.

Views are spectacular, and with a good beer you can almost forget about the dreadful service.

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Thank Oldeskewl79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We decided to have lunch at Murray's at Manly on our one and only day in Sydney on our way back from a trip to New Zealand. What a mistake and what a waste of our only day.

When we arrived, the surly hostess tossed her head towards a table outside on the balcony. When we pointed out that it was blowing a hooley and looked as though it was about to pour with rain, and asked if we could sit inside, we were treated to a display of eye-rolling and audible sighing that would have given my newly-teenage 13 year-old niece a run for her money.

The food duly arrived - I had ordered pasta with chilli and prawns. It was fairly generously salted (which I don't mind), but had not been seasoned with pepper at all, just with the chilli - and a very cautious amount at that. I asked for some black pepper, as there was no salt or pepper on the table, and was told that the chef had insisted that they be removed from the tables - apparently two weeks previously.

I told the waiter that I would definitely like some black pepper and asked him if he could get me some from the kitchen. The poor boy, who looked like a 20 year-old on his gap year, returned to say that the chef wouldn't allow it. I therefore gave him the dish back, asked him to return it to the ktichen (barely touched) and to take it off the bill. I felt very sorry for him, as he was doing his best to be obliging, but was clearly caught between a rock and a hard place. Moments later, he returned with the same dish (my spoon and fork still lying on top of it) and said that the chef had added some pepper himself - this was a huge handful of ready-ground black pepper, simply thrown on the top of the food by the chef himself, presumably in some kind of childish cheffy tantrum. I was appalled and insulted by this and repeated my request for the dish to be removed and for the item to be taken off the bill.

At no time did anyone from the management team (if there is such a thing - it certainly wasn't in evidence) come over to see if they could smooth things over. In fact, with the exception of our own waiter and one other young man behind the bar, who stared at us open-mouthed for a very long time indeed when told by our waiter what happened, the entire place seemed to be staffed by a coterie of young blonde teenage girls, who managed never to leave the safety of their sideboard the entire time we were there. In fact, at one point, I began to seriously consider the possibility that they were conjoined with the furniture.

Turning to the question of the seasoning - the chef himself, who took the opportunity to glare at me a few times through the window, looked barely old enough to be allowed out without his mother, never mind sufficiently long enough in the tooth to have developed a sufficiently experienced palate to allow him to dictate other people's seasoning habits. I imagine he watches too much American television (Ann Burrell programmes in particular, I suspect), which seems to be trying to convince the world that the chilli flake (or hot red, as I believe it is now more popularly called) is a substitute for the peppercorn. It is not, it never was, and it never will be. It is a totally different beast and serves a different purpose. And while we're on the subject of flavour, the entire dish could have done with brightening up with either a few gratings of lemon zest - or even a squeeze of juice might have done the trick.

This sort of 'salt and pepper police' practice was tried - purely as a publicity gimmick - in 3 star Michelin restaurants in London in the early 90s. That was boom time when people could get away with it. This, my friends, is most certainly not boomtime - we are in the middle of a recession, the place was emtpy and IT'S A PUB FOR GOODNESS SAKE. It is neither 3-star, or any other star, or even distantly related to any other celestial being, unless there's one I don't know about whose name translates roughly to: 'a really rubbish place to go and try to eat'.

The menu, on first appearances, looks as though it offers a nice variety of pub-style food. It sells things like fish and chips, and burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches. I watched with some amusement as a group of six 20-somethings on the next table tried to eat their food. One guy was going gamely at a portion of fish and chips, served, inexplicably, on a much too-small plate. The food was therefore piled up like a pyramid and kept falling off all over the table when he tried to eat something. Luckily, he clearly believed in the five-second rule of cleanliness and still gamefully worked his way through it, despite the fact that he had to stop to keep piling it back from the table top onto his plate.

Meanwhile, his mate was trying to eat a Wagyu burger (more later) which was supposedly encompassed in a ciabatta bun. Only, it wasn't. It was kind of balancing on the bottom half and then the top half was barely tottering on top of everything else. Now, the idea of eating a composite dish like a burger is that you take a big bite and your tastebuds are meant to get a shot of everything at the same time - sweet, sour, meaty, greasy, doughy, whatever. If you actually have to dissemble the dish into its individual components in order to be able to eat it, then it's totally missing the point. And ciabatta? For a burger? No, no, no. It MUST be something soft and preferably slightly sweet. It doesn't have to be a plastic burger bun, but could be a delicious challah bun or even brioche, but never never anything hard and chewy. And, sorry, but when Australia is practically groaning under the weight of its own absolutely first-rate beef, why on earth would you want to import something from Japan in order to grind it up and make it into a burger?

Meanwhile, back at the table of 20-something gorgeousness, one of the girls was staring in utter horror at her pulled pork sandwich, which was actually about the size of a small planet, going back to the celestial theme, and would have required a set of jaws larger than the Sydney Harbour Tunnel to set about it. Clearly not wanting to show herself up in front of her newly acquired boy mates, she tried valiantly to eat a bit of pork by trying to extricate a piece with her fork. She failed completely (roughly half a pig fell out of the bread when she tried it) and, in the end, she did what all young gorgeous girls do when out to impress a new fella - she just abandoned it and it remained untouched and she remained hungry. Luckily her callow male friends clearly mistook this for a sudden absence of hunger and devoured it between themselves.

This whole set up is laughable, but really really unnecessary. Sydney has more than one reputable hospitality institution. Why on earth does this establishment not employ staff (both chefs and waiting staff) who have been properly trained. This may come as a surprise, but customers don't actually really care what their waiting staff look like, as long as they are reasonably presentable and don't actually smell. What they do care about is good, discreet service from staff who are well-informed about the food and who are good at their jobs. Oh, and it's nice if they actually acknowledge, even to themselves, that it is the customer who is eating the food AND paying for it. Therefore it would be good to think that the customer is actually allowed to season it to suit their own tastebuds, not those of the chef.

I suggest that the owner of this establishment considers why the Four Pines Brewing Company currently enjoys the top spot of Tripadvisor's No 1 choice out of 107 restaurants in Manly, while Murray's is languishing right down there at No 80. While there are, apparently, 27 worse places to visit, that means that Sydneysiders prefer to spend their dollars in at least 79 other places in Manly before they'd set foot in Murray's. I would say that they are pretty much spot on, though I dread to imagine what choices 81 - 107 are like!

The problems would be extremely easy to fix. Control the man in the kitchen - he's the chef, not the owner, he probably doesn't care about losing customers as long as he has an easy day. Give him a big pot of pepper and take away his 'hot red', which should be kept under lock and key, unless the dish really really requires it. Allow customers to season their own food and don't punish them for eating their food how they like it - they are paying and they should get to choose. Get rid of the vacant, blond, head-tossing things of beauty and replace them with properly-trained, professional staff, who know something about food and know how to serve it. Correctly. With a smile.

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6  Thank fatbottomzebra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

As a local living in Manly I was a regular customer and always enjoyed the great beer and food at Murray's. yes I was! Went to here almost twice a week for their great beer with my friends. The service was outstanding, the food great and once you tried the beer you just loved it. Everything changed since a young girl took over the management role 8 weeks ago. She and her mother are now running this once great place and you can see its just going downhill.

Every Sunday we went to Murray's to listen to great live bands playing and the place was always packed. They canceled the band and we went their two weeks ago and the place was empty. Went to the Hotel Steyne instead. It's just around the corner.

But since the new management took over the service is terrible. No smiles, customer service or anything that would make you to go back there. This once fantastic place will properly close soon, if they don't change.

I just can recommend it for a quick beer but nothing else. What a shame.....

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2  Thank Chris_Howe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Had a bite to eat at Murray's today, and I was not disappointed. The server recommended a delicious ale, and the host suggested the salmon salad. Also started with some salt + pepper squid and a side of fries. Each plate tantalised my palette and left me feeling very full. The staff were helpful and cheerful across the board. I loved the views, and the waves breaking at Manly beach provided a great backdrop for conversation. I will definitely be back for more ASAP.

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Thank zackgingg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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