Eating by the beach often means fish and chips on the sand, or a big plate of salt and pepper squid, often prepared with what seems like half a heart. But at Albert and Moore in Freshwater, there's not even a fryer in sight. Here it’s all about the healthy stuff – big, generous servings of salad; freshly made smoothies and juices; seared fish and huge chicken sandwiches.
When it opened last year, Albert and Moore looked distinctly more attractive than most cafés in the area. All the trends were picked up in the interior – in the big blackboard with scrawled writing, the open kitchen, the Tolix-style stools, copper detailing and (of course) the requisite design feature of any café that means business in the mid-2010s: suspended Edison bulbs.
You don’t come to the Northern Beaches to sit inside, so grab one of the outdoor tables. There’s a heap of fresh juices to start; the “Detox with Greens” is fresh and not too sweet, but we suggests a “Tonic”. It's a smoothie that comes in a giant black-painted jar with cut-out love heart, and a tasty concoction of watermelon and strawberries, with tartness coming from natural yoghurt. It’s been supercharged with ginseng for those who might be feeling the effects of a big night prior.
There are four types of burgers. The turkey burger is tender, spiked with cumin and pretty flavourful for what most consider the healthiest option. The chicken burger is killer, though, so hit that up instead. Weirdly, it’s not the bird that makes it fly; it’s the bread. It’s warm so has a thin, crackly crust on the outside, and is super fluffy inside. It’s got that lovely, yeasty smell that comes when bread is freshly made, and is nice and thin enough so as not to overwhelm the fillings. Inside there’s grilled, free-range chicken breast, with melted cheese, avocado, tangy aioli and lots of salad. It’s served with a side of either sweet potato fries or a light, vinaigrette-dressed salad. Opt for the latter – we've had the fries here more than once, and they're always overdone or underdone. A balance has yet to be found on our visits.
Four burgers, five salads. We like the Mediterranean. It’s a big bowl filled with all those things you eat on the Med, including crisp green beans, salty olives, sun-blush tomatoes and peppery rocket. Get the optional fish of the day on top. The day we’re in it’s salmon, seared and pink in the middle. Meat eaters can have chicken or sirloin steak, and at upwards of $4, it's a bargain.
Freshwater dining is improving – quickly. Yes, a meal at Pilu
is all well and good for a treat, but you’ll pay a king’s ransom for the privilege. What’s always been the problem in Freshie is getting affordable, good, satisfying food on a daily basis. Thanks to places like Albert and Moore, a welcome remedy is emerging.