Coogee is my favourite beach in Sydney; when I have the chance I’m always in the water. On Saturday I had lunch at A Fish Called Coogee. They have various fish, prawns and octopus, some plain, some marinated. You choose your fish, and have it cooked with your choice of sides, such as chips, rice or bok choi.
I had sweet chilli blue-eye with bok choi wokked with soy and ginger. It’s more expensive than a traditional fish ‘n’ chips, but less than a seafood restaurant. The food is excellent and the concept is fun, so I think it is good value.
Dinner Sunday night was at the amazing Siam Spice. It’s a small place on Coogee Bay Rd that does some innovative and delicious Thai food, including the Coco Prawns pictured below – prawns and seafood in a green curry sauce served in a fresh coconut, with some of the insides in the dish. It’s wonderful!
Coogee is primarily a daylight place; apart from the massive hotel, with bands playing and several bars, not a lot is happening. The main street is an evening dinner destination, but not a late night cafe strip. You have to go elsewhere for that. On Saturday night it was Dean’s in Kings Cross; on Sunday night I opted for Grumpy Baker on Oxford St – another favourite I try to visit each time I’m in Sydney.
I stayed at the Coogee Bay Hotel (not the main pub, but the alleged ’boutique’ hotel at the back of the block), which was a mistake. A bit like the Ocean Beach Hotel at North Cottesloe in Perth, this is really a 3 star place pretending to be 4 star. I don’t need luxury, but I do expect a functioning room and competent service.
When I checked in on Saturday afternoon I was served by Natalie. When I got into my room I discovered that the desk chair was broken – it was clearly visible – how could their staff not have noticed? I called reception, spoke to Natalie and asked for the chair to be replaced. A few minutes later I went out for lunch.
When I returned an hour later I asked Natalie at reception whether the chair had been replaced. She said no and that it would happen soon. I then went out for a swim. When I returned again nearly two hours later I passed Natalie in the lobby. She had finished her shift and was leaving. She didn’t make eye contact. I went up to my room and found that the broken chair was still there.
I called reception, told them the story, and demanded that the chair be replaced immediately. Someone came up within five minutes. It took three conversations initiated by me and three hours to get a chair replaced. The seriousness of the situation seemed to escape the morons employed there. They had knowingly provided me with a broken chair. If I had injured myself on it, I could have sued them. They did not seem to care about their incompetence, their negligence or their rude and indifferent customer service. In addition to the broken chair, my room featured a broken window lever that meant one of the windows could not open, and one of the timber venetian blinds was also broken. I recommend that you don’t stay at this dump.