Waves of taste at Manly

In the hidden tapas Jah Bar tucked on a side street near Manly beach, there are soft, spicy, crunchy and tasty dishes to be found.

Australia's favourite food blogger, Not Quite Nigella, enjoys a night out at a tapas restaurant tucked away near Manly beach.

I’m fortunate enough to often be given recommendations for restaurants. Sometimes I can get to them quickly but sometimes it takes me a while to get to them but I never forget them. Sometimes it takes a couple of years.

I was recommended Jah Bar by tweeter @helencrozier. As a north side local she let me know about this tapas placed tucked within a side street alongside busy Manly beach. It was close enough to smell the salt air but hidden enough to feel a bit special.

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There is the back courtyard which feels a bit like being in the midst of a restaurant within a resort. When you look up there are apartments that look like hotel rooms with towels hanging on railings and people relaxing on their balcony in board shorts and bikinis. There is set of gates where people go back and forth from the apartments, another restaurant and the beach. Inside is more romantic, all darkly lit red walls and candles.

Service is very friendly and easy going in that relaxed Manly way and when we ask if it is ok to take photos they answer with a "Sure! You can do whatever you want!” Ha! We love how relaxed Manly people are.

We go with the waiter’s recommendations. The jamon serrano, a 9-month cured ham comes out with their complimentary bread and salt flecked olive oil. The jamon, lovely thin sliced of salty ham are good although I still love jamon iberico just that much more.

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Slow roast pork belly with house made quince paste $22

The pork belly had that wonderful combination of soft, gelatinous, wobbly layers topped with a crunchy crackling top. Without the quince paste, your first instinct is to say that it was unseasoned but paired with the quince paste on the bed of silverbeet, garlic and French lentils, it goes together very nicely. It’s also a very rich dish and I think that perhaps we were too ambitious with our ordering (hey, what’s new?).

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