Approaching by boat -
Berowra Waters Inn from the water
It was my birthday yesterday, and my lovely husband decided to treat me to a long lunch at the Berowra Waters Inn. This destination restaurant has been on my must do list as it was closed for a while there, reopening with a new chef Brian Geraghty (ex Quay, Bilson's) and so I was thrilled to finally get the chance to enjoy their food and the gorgeous riverfront setting on my birthday. The restaurant is set amongst bushland on the Hawkesbury River, a one and a half hour drive from Sydney. The venue itself is only accessible by boat or seaplane - so if, like us, you have neither of these forms of transportation - you take advantage of the restaurant's private boat, that picks you up downriver at an agreed time, and ferries you back when your meal is over.
The short boat trip up to the restaurant is really gorgeous and sets the tone for the whole Berowra Waters Inn experience. The winter sun reflected off the water and river birds flew along the edges of the trees as we approached the inn to disembark at the private wharf. From the moment you step on the boat you feel as if you are destined for something special.
The Dining Room
After a warm welcome from the staff, who meet you at the wharf, you are ushered up the stairs to the simple, light filled dining room. The design makes the most of the river view, with floor to ceiling windows that let you watch wildlife and riverboats as you enjoy your meal. I think lunchtime really is a great time to visit Berowra Waters Inn, giving you the maximum opportunity to enjoy the stunning setting.
The menu is a degustation style, and diners choose from either four or seven courses, with or without matching wines. We opted for seven courses, and went for wine by the glass - I always find the matching wine option too much if I am having lots of courses, and would rather consult the Sommelier for a couple of recommendations instead. We started off with a glass of luscious Gosset Champagne (well, it was my birthday!) and settled down to an afternoon of some really beautiful dishes.
A very pretty looking amuse bouche of apple and aromatic cheese, and a velvety chicken liver parfait in a crispy tuille began our meal. Incredibly delicious, with such rich flavours and interesting textures. Definitely a winner.
Amuse Bouche -
Cheese "Apple" & Chicken Liver Parfait
I was really excited to see scallops on the menu, being one of my very favourite kinds of seafood. This dish was light and luscious, with beautifully pickled discs of root vegetables which worked so well with the rest of the ingredients. A great start to lunch.
Scallop, Horseradish Cream, Rye & Root Vegetables
The next seafood dish of confit ocean trout was soft, buttery and delicious - the addition of crispy dashi wafers made this dish such a delight to eat.
Confit Ocean Trout, Smoked Milk, Dashi & Lemon
A beautifully cooked, gelatinous and glazed piece of pork belly was the centerpiece for the next dish, with a reduction of honey mead (yum!) and paired with green tomato and sweet Moreton Bay bug meat. A crunchy rye crumb gave this dish lots of textural interest. Really loved this one.
Pork Belly, Honey Bug, Mead & Green Tomato
An indulgent combination of fish, prawns, pine nuts and winter truffles gave the next dish a very rich and indulgent feel. Sitting there, enjoying winter truffles, drinking good wine and looking out over the Hawkesbury, I must admit I felt very spoilt indeed!
Whitefish, Broccoli Veloute, Karid Prawn, Pinenut
& Winter Truffle
A meaty, savoury course of slow cooked Kobe brisket, leek and stinging nettle was full of rich winter flavours, without being overpowering. The caramelised leek was a delicious sweet accompaniment to the robust flavour of the beef.
Slow Cooked Kobe Brisket of Beef
Braised Leek, Stinging Nettle
The cheese course was one of my favourite dishes of the day. A light as air blue cheese parfait in a crispy shell, creamy red onion sorbet and fresh, shaved walnuts. A knockout combination and so beautiful on the plate.
Blue Cheese Cigar, Red Onion Sorbet,
Shaved Walnut & Celery
A surprise pre-dessert of pannacotta and tangy, fresh raspberry was a great transition into the final dessert course.
Yoghurt Pannacotta with Raspberry Foam
The finale was a hazelnut and mandarin dessert that was just beautiful - the toasty, almost marshmallow texture of hazelnut parfait with milk sorbet and a punchy, citrus mandarin gel. Really delicious and a great way to end the meal.
Hazelnut Parfait, Mandarin Gel & Milk Sorbet
Well..... almost the end of meal. The coffee is seriously good (funnily enough, the blend is from The Grounds Roasters in Alexandria, just around the corner from where we live) and some lovely sweet morsels to enjoy with it.
Grounds Roasters Coffee
Apple Cakes & Rose, Lime & Chocolate Macarons.
So, the verdict on Berowra Waters Inn? Just beautiful. Definitely one of the best meals we have ever eaten in Australia and in such a stunning setting. We both agreed we would visit again and check out the menu when the season changes. It really was a special way to spend my birthday.
If you wanted to enjoy the food and wine and not drive home, there is riverside accommodation nearby, or you could always stay on a Hawkesbury houseboat overnight. Now that would be really something special!
The sunlight over the Hawkesbury,
as we were leaving in the afternoon
For more information on reservations and how to get there, check out the Berowra Waters Inn website: http://www.berowrawatersinn.com/ or call them on (02) 9456 1027