23 The Esplanade,
Growlers is located on the Esplanade in Torquay with views across to the ocean. The website mentions some celebrity involvement/ownership and it is probably a good thing I didn't read about this until after we'd visited, as it would have probably put me off.
It was pretty busy when we arrived on a sunny Saturday evening, and it still was when we left, with a mix of diners and those enjoying a drink in the courtyard area, and plenty more eating on the balcony and inside.
The layout and décor worked well, it felt modern and stylish, but still laid back and beachy at the same time. We ordered inside and moved from a bar style table to a sit down one, still in the courtyard. The table was large for two and quite wide, this turned out to be an advantage later!
We kept with the coastal vibe by going for the seafood platter for two, which took about 40 minutes to arrive after ordering, including an agonising(!) final 5 minutes during which the various accompaniments, utensils and the stand for the plates arrived. We started off with the natural oysters which I enjoyed more than I often do, maybe they are something I'm finally learning to appreciate, but the whole texture thing seemed to work for me. These were followed by some big Portarlington mussels in a great creamy garlic sauce. The king prawns had the shells removed but not the head or tail, which meant easy eating, they were perfectly cooked too, as were the scallops brochette, the smoked salmon rosettes worked well with the side salad. We then took on our respective blue swimmer crab, which were a hard work at first, but proved worth the effort with a decent amount of sweet meat inside. The rest of the chips were finished with the whiting,
and generous portion of salt and pepper calamari.
The manager had a chat after we'd finished mentioning how unexpectedly busy it was. Other than a slightly long wait for food it didn't bother us. The courtyard was closing at 9pm so we decided to move on and ended up grabbing a seaside desert of ice-cream and gelato from the traditional corner shop down the road...
The platter was $78.
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