Lunch always tastes better with an impeccable view; and lunch at Thomsons on Rottnest is no exception.
Up until October this year, I had only ever visited Rottnest Island once. I don’t even know if you can count spending 3 hours on a boat in the waters of Rottnest as ‘visiting Rottnest’. I feel so un-Perthian even revealing that.
What is worse is that that is an incredibly embarrassing admission for a thalassophile. It isn’t like it is a hard place to get to. Anyway, I digress…
Fast forward to the pointy end of 2018, and I can happily say that I have found myself on the island a further 3 times since my initial 3 hour visit. In the space of just under 2 months, I have made the 30 minute ferry ride out to Perth’s little slice of paradise 3 whole times.
Having spent more time on Rottnest these last few months, I have managed to tick a few different activities off the ‘to do on Rottnest’ list. I have biked the island, got up close and personal with the gorgeous little quokkas, jumped into the calm waters, stayed a night or four, cooked up a storm on the barbecue and eaten at each of the independents on the island (I flat out refuse to ever eat at any Dome Cafe).
Thomsons: The Location
On my last day trip to the island, I stopped in at Thomsons for lunch. We had been meaning to stop in at Thomsons the trip before, but these city kids completely forgot island time is different to city time and missed the dinner service by a the smallest of smidgens! Needless to say, Thomsons was the first on my hit list for the next Rottnest Adventure.
Just a short walk from the ferry pier, Thomsons takes up prime position on Thomsons Bay. It is one of the closest eateries to the ferry terminal and visitor centre; and in this instance, convenience and location don’t outweigh quality.
If you would prefer a view instead of chips as your side dish, then Thomsons is your destination. The venue is beachy, bright and light inside, but I perched myself on the outside deck for the best views in the house; views of the moorings, blue sky, white sand and stunningly turquoise waters. It was perfect.
The only thing that could, and did, make the situation even more perfect was the addition of a good glass of chardonnay and oodles of good food.
I am a sucker for all things seafood, and it was as if the Thomsons team had written the menu especially for me. Don’t get me wrong, there are still burger, pizza, steak and salad options for the seafood-phobe; but the menu focusses predominantly on showcasing the fresh seafood from around the island.
To be honest, I would expect no less of a good eatery on Rottnest.
Even though the special seafood platter was screaming my name, a selection of dishes from across the menu was the more sensible option. In the end, it was the Fremantle Octopus legs, marinara pizza and calamari that made the cut.
Out of principle, I order the octopus wherever I go. If it is on the menu, I have to have it. It has to be in my top 3 favourite sea foods and it excites me to no end that Australia is finally embracing the big, tender octopus tentacles (none of this baby octopus business please).
For the record: The Thomsons octopus was banging. It was tender (thanks to hours and hours of braising), chunky cut and smothered in a delicious, tomato based sauce. Hallelujah for non-pickled octopus!
As a bit of a wild card, I ordered the marinara pizza too. It has been literal decades since I have had a marinara pizza; firstly because it was always my parents pizza order and not ours, and secondly because pizza and I had a very bad relationship for a long time (don’t sue me). Now that my relationship with pizza is mended, I am enjoying exploring what they have to offer again. In the case of the Thomsons’ marinara pizza, it was a deliciously crunchy gluten free base that your non-gluten-free friend would be more than happy to chow down on, and a tonne of deliciously sweet and tender seafood, punctuated with zesty capers. Again, another winner on the menu.
Paired perfectly with a glass of oily, oaky chardonnay (no, this one wasn’t one of the 2 wines they have on tap), the seafood feast was the ideal day trip interlude.
What To Do Post Lunch
After filling up on piles of delicious food, I spent some time perusing the rather impressive wine list, taking a gander at the bottles in the glass cellar in the centre of the venue, and sipping on yet another glass of fine West Australian wine.
Beer lovers – there isn’t as much for you to explore as us wine lovers, but between the tap and bottles there is bound to be something you enjoy.
Before boarding the ferry back, I decided to walk some of my indulgence off and wandered around to one of my favourite spots in the north of the island, Pinky Beach.
If there is one bay you have to stop in on during a short day trip and lunch on Rottnest, it is Pinky Beach. The stunning bay is home to the Rottnest lighthouse, and is also the site of the brand new Discovery Rottnest glamping resort (choice location by them!). On the way to the bay, you walk through the original camping sites too, and there are always plenty of quokkas to stop and have a selfie with.
Now that it is summer, there really is no excuse for me to not be making this day trip for indulgent long lunches and a dip at some of my favourite Perth beaches more often! Thomsons, watch out for me – I will be back!