Jah Bar – Manly

Words are escaping me as I try and think of appropriate ways to describe Jah Bar’s food to you – and no, that’s not because we drank a few Pina Coladas over dinner. Everything is fresh, flavoursome and simple but creative. We were lucky enough to have Chef Dan pop out of his hustling and bustling kitchen to tell us a little bit about their food ethos and attitude towards service. Respectably, all produce is sourced locally and ethically whether that be from local farms or sustainable seafood suppliers with the aim of minimising food wastage and keeping seasonable availability at the forefront of their menu development. In an age of excess and unnecessary wastage in many forms, it is SO refreshing to hear of a place that not only prides themselves on creating just absofrigginlutely delicious food, but also their social responsibility.

Pisco Sour Cocktail ($16), Sweet Potato ($15) and Dukkah crusted halloumi ($18)

Time to talk the real talk though. The fooooooooooooood OH MY GOD the foooooooooood!! To be totally honest, we didn’t know what to expect having never heard of this place up until seeing its name on the interwebs. The second we looked at the menu though…different story. If you’re familiar with the severe issue that is restaurant order anxiety, you won’t know what’s hit you when you open this menu up. We managed to narrow ours down to the dishes which stood out to us the most (kind of like when you’re walking through the fruit and veg section of Woolies, but you can just hear the Maltesers calling your name from 2 aisles over)…yeah. So I’ll try and keep this short and sweet but I apologise if my recounts of each dish just turn into a whole lot of ermagherrd, yum, froth, delish, did I already say yum blah blah blah.

Fish Tacos – serve of 4 ($18)

To say our dinner started with a bang because of this dish would be a total understatement and disservice. We may have been living under a rock, but neither Chez nor myself had ever had in a thin, deep fried but not heavy or oily taco shell before. All I can say about them though is YASSSS! The crisp taco shell complimented the soft, melt in your mouth hiramasa kingfish cured in tequila and lime with avocado salsa, onion jam and coriander absolutely beautifully. The only problem with this dish is that it’s been a whole 3 days since I ate it…and I’m already craving it again like a pregnant woman.

Line caught Snapper & Hervey Bay Scallop ceviche ($25)

Not going to sugarcoat it or say much more than it was seriously the best ceviche I’ve ever had. The green pepper salsa smeared generously all over it goes brilliantly with the little jug of pisco they pour onto the empty plate and make you drink once the fish has been eaten. Yes. You read that correctly. I know. I’ll take ten please.

Peruvian Salad ($15)

It looks and sounds simple but our food philosophy is if it’s this bright, it probably tastes amazing. We weren’t wrong about this one that’s for sure! The lettuce, quinoa, roasted chillies, corn, parsley, tomato, avocado and pomegranate seeds are dressed in a secret balsamic glaze of some sort that just makes you want to keep shovelling it into your face even when there’s a million other plates of food in front of you. It takes a legit salad to make me act in such a ludicrous way so yep, this salad was legit.

Calameres Fritos ($20)

A good salt and pepper calamari done right speaks to my soul. This bad boy came served with sweet chipotle chutney and aioli. It was delicious and fried to crispy perfection. Not quite mind blowing, but delicious nonetheless.

Confit garlic flatbread with mozzarella and oregano ($16)

If Zac Efron was a plate of food, he would be this flatbread. AKA PERFECT IN EVERY SINGLE WAY. The kinda guy you want to take home and introduce to your parents because even after just one date…you know it’s true love. This Zac Efron flatbread was woodfired and the charry taste just made it that much more perfect. It is beyond me how something so simple can taste so finger-licking good but hey…I won’t argue, but I will say thank you to the waiter at Jah Bar who said this is a must-order. If you go, please don’t disappoint me  (and yourself, but mainly me) and order one of these. Okay enough. #loveyouzacefron ❤

Dukkah crusted halloumi ($18)

Served on a bed of mojo picon, pickled cauliflower, cucumber and mint salad, I mean it when I say that I could have inhaled eight plates of this. Halloumi on its own is just bleeping fantastic, so too often when people feel the need to dress it up in a tutu, sugary syrup and fairy floss tiara it just becomes too much. This on the other hand was perfectly balanced in terms of flavour, texture and the contrast of temperature between the hot halloumi and cold salad was just a little bit too fun.

Cider glazed chorizo with toasted almond picada ($17)

Neither of us could really taste the cider glaze on this dish, so while it was pleasant, the meat was juicy and flavoursome it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary like we were expecting slash hoping.

Sticky date pudding with Fundador butterscoth sauce and house-made ice cream ($15)

*Salivates everywhere*. Full disclosure, I am totally biased towards anything sticky date. Pour butterscotch sauce on a sock and I’ll probably lose my marbles over it. This was too good and as you can see, the pudding itself was hot n steamy…so much so that the ice cream melted almost instantly. It was also dense but fluffy at the same time, something I’ve never experienced in a sticky date pudding before but YUM! The cake, sauce and ice cream together were a perfect balance of sweet…not sickening and overwhelming but just right. Just like Zac Efron.

Churros Sandwich ($15)

It seems only appropriate when eating Spanish Tapas, for your meal to end with churros. Our meal ended VERY well thanks to these Spanish doughnut swirls with salted caramel ice cream and butterscotch sauce. The churros weren’t too oily (a problem we often find) and the ice cream was just creamy and sweet enough to not be too rich and sickly. This dish was a perfect balance of sweet, texture, temperature and just plain and simply YUM.

I cannot exaggerate how badly you need to get to Jah Bar for some nibbles and drink, whether you’re local to the Northern Beaches or if you live in Timbucktoo – get there! While the portion sizes are quite small for the price you pay, the food is prepared outstandingly and the produce speaks for itself. However, It’s family friendly and accommodating with both indoor and outdoor sitting. Just don’t make the mistake I did and let the families and little children enjoying dinner around 7:30pm lure you into a false sense of security…come 9:30-10pm, this cute and cosy food haven was full of friends just havin’ a laff and a cheeky beverage – so if that’s more your style…get yourself a cab or a friend who’s silly enough to agree to drive and brace yourself for a total food and drink outer body experience.

– A x



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