WHAT'S ON

Restaurants offer premium takeaway menus to help beat the COVID-19 lockdown blues

Fine dining at home: Summer Salt Restaurant at Cronulla is among Sutherland Shire restaurants offering high-end takeaway and cook-at-home packs during lockdown. Pictured are staff Kat and Emma with chef Carl Jensen. Picture: John Veage
Fine dining at home: Summer Salt Restaurant at Cronulla is among Sutherland Shire restaurants offering high-end takeaway and cook-at-home packs during lockdown. Pictured are staff Kat and Emma with chef Carl Jensen. Picture: John Veage

Being in lockdown doesn't mean you have to go without the finer things in life, with a number of restaurants offering a premium takeaway experience, some complete with cocktails to go.

Among the Sutherland Shire restaurateurs attempting to trade through the COVID-19 restrictions are Carl and Brooke Jensen, owners of Jensens at Kareela, as well as Summer Salt Restaurant and Papa Js, both at Cronulla.

Brooke Jensen said lessons learnt during last year's lockdown allowed them to hit the ground running this time round.

"When the lockdown was announced about 2pm on June 26, we had been expecting it and were ready to offer takeaway the same day," Ms Jensen said.

"We had been expecting a lockdown and had started preparing. We cleared our lunchtime diners and the plates and cutlery and brought out the takeaway containers and took our first takeaway order at 5pm."

Summer Salt did not offer takeaway last lockdown, and this time paused service for several days before launching an extensive takeaway menu with entrees, mains, sides and desserts, including signature dishes such as their seafood platter for two.

And diners are eating it up, with last Saturday their busiest night for takeaway, with hundreds of meals prepared.

As well as an extensive takeaway menu, they are also offering clever cook-at-home options as part of their "Summer Salt Essentials" available from 11am Thursday to Sunday. On the menu is Antipasti, or do-it-yourself items such as their famous Thai coconut red curry sauce, 'Bake Yourself' baked brie, Wagyu beef pack, dessert, cocktails and even boutique wines and beers.

"They started with an 'Essentials Shop' selling cocktails and added more things in," Ms Jensen said.

"We have got this famous Thai coconut red curry sauce, which you can add to prawns, chicken or fish, which is going crazy."

Summer Salt Restaurant staff Kat and Emma with chef Carl Jensen. Picture: John Veage

Summer Salt Restaurant staff Kat and Emma with chef Carl Jensen. Picture: John Veage

Summer Salt has even introduced a Call and Collect 'drive-thru' option so diners can wait in their cars for a staff member to bring them their order.

Ms Jensen said she was proud they had been able to retain all 20 full-time staff at Jensens, thanks to the support of the community.

"I really wanted to keep everyone on and I have done that," she said. "It has put a lot of strain on us. We are running at 25 per cent of revenue.

"People continuing to support us is what is keeping us going and allowing us to keep people in jobs.

"We know we will come out of this. We just have to keep going these next weeks."

RockSalt at Menai is another high-end restaurant offering an extensive takeaway menu including entrees, mains, sides, salads and desserts. There are even two and three-course specials, as well as takeaway cocktails by the jar. Orders can be placed from 4pm Tuesday to Sunday, with pick-up from 5.30pm.

Sealevel Restaurant and Next Door at Cronulla are offering takeaway options, including specials. Sealevel is also offering its signature seafood platter.

Next Door will offer a "Go hard & Stay home" bundle this weekend, which includes a grazing platter and two cocktails for $70. You can even enjoy it while livestreaming entertainment on Sunday at 4pm.