Donny's Bar
7 Market Place,
Manly, Sydney

Manly is fast becoming a place for good food, good bars and good times and Donny's Bar is the new kid on the block here. It's the dream turned reality of business partners Matt Clifton and Tol Broinowski (who chatted with us on our visit) who both bring a strong hospitality background to the venture.

Donny's Bar has a real charm to it. The decor and fit out is simple but very effective. Designed by Sydney based architecture firm Luchetti Krelle but based on a very clear brief from the owners, it incorporates a two-storey New York loft style with a relaxed Australian bar. They have a great menu too - dumplings and modern Australian tapas with a bit of an Asian influence. It's a small comfortable restaurant/bar or bar/restaurant seating 26 upstairs in the main dining area with the upstairs lounge seating a further 10 and more space again at ground level.

Donny's Bar serves a decent variety of food but many start their meals or snacks with some of their great dumplings.

We tried the pork 'n' chive dumplings which arrived in a serving of four. They came with a lovely dipping sauce and also sensibly with a small jar of toothpicks.

The dumplings were delicious with a quite subtle delicate blend of meat and spices.

We then moved on to crispy chicken 'n' shitake dumplings.

Again this was beautifully presented and arrived with a lovely dipping sauce and the standard side jar of toothpicks.

I have to admit that I'm quite partial to fried dumplings and so I really liked these crisp and tasty treats that again had great flavours.

We were then surprised by Executive Chef Richie with a tasting plate with one of their BBQ pork dumplings and one of their organic vegetable dumplings.

The BBQ pork bun was so light and fluffy and was very tasty. The organic vegetable dumpling was very unique.

It almost tasted like meat and looked like it too. It was a very full flavoured dumpling.

We freely admit we love burgers and their little cousins - sliders. Donny's Bar has wagyu beef sliders in a serving of three. They come with caramelised French onion, double cheddar, tomato relish and you can order a side of chips as an extra if you want.

These looked great, and they were great, with juicy meat and plenty of punch with the sauce and extras. The crisp beer battered chips were lovely as well.

Eating all this lovely food was thirsty work. Mlady chose a Mandarin Ginger Sidecar - described as sugar, spice and all things nice. It was made with Hennessy VS, mandarin and ginger which was then shaken with lemon and served up in a coupette. She loves ginger and found the drink very refreshing.

I chose one of the most popular drinks here - Peachy Keen. It's a drink designed for sharing between two people although my plan was to share as little as possible! It was a mix of white wine, Absolut peach and vanilla all topped with apple juice. It came served in a carafe which gradually disappeared as our meal went on!

We then had a beautifully plated dish of roasted scallops.

They came "as pretty as a picture" with broccoli puree, toasted pistachio, asparagus ‘n’ garlic and lime aioli.

It was such a colourful and fresh dish that tasted as good as it looked. This was healthy at its best - not dull but full of flavour.

Then another work of art arrived at the table - four towers of taste and appeal.

Described in the menu as Prosciutto ‘n’ Goat’s cheese they stood tall on the plate with garnishes of asparagus, toasted hazelnut and a drizzle of red wine vinaigrette.

It was again a healthy tasty treat that had a real wow factor to it.

We kept getting one surprise after the next - and it was not stopping yet!

A beautiful signature dish arrived of beetroot and basil puree topped with with salmon and barramundi on a bed of asparagus and spring onion and garnished with a big juicy plump prawn.

This was a killer meal that looked so impressive yet again, and tasted so lovely.

We were bulging a bit by now but there's always room for a sweet ending to any meal!

We tried the classic baked blueberry cheese cake with poached cinnamon pear. It was a delicious cheese cake that was rich and decadent.

The surprise was the beautifully poached pear pairing that actually went so well. A nice garnish of sangria infused strawberries topped it all off.

Another pleasant and sweet surprise was our final dessert plate - coconut pandan - light balls of goodness with pandanus leaf flavouring.

They came in a matching pair resting on a bed of raspberries.

As with everything here the appearance was impressive and matched by the taste. We loved these!

The retro bathroom
The retro bathroom

Donny's Bar is impressive. It has great atmosphere - very New York but at the same time very Australian. It's a lovely blend of restaurant and bar all in one with great food and drinks on offer. It really is a nice place to drop by - with plenty of different spaces for everyone and every need. Service is friendly and helpful - there's a real customer focus here.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Donny's Bar. Thanks to owners Matt Clifton and Tol Broinowski. Thanks also to Executive Chef Richie and Stefano and Matteo for the amazing and yet surprisingly healthy food and to Gemma for looking after us so well on our visit. Special thanks to Amanda See from Sweaty Betty PR for arranging our visit so capably.

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