The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay situated on the water, across from the Sydney Fish Markets features beautiful scenery in conjunction with fine food. The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay has long been established as a 'Hatted' restaurant in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, and has a rating of one chef's hat.
Entrance of The Boathouse
Although we had a reservation for a 12pm lunch, the restaurant opened a little bit later, around 12:10pm or so. The restaurant was converted from a boathouse, hence the name, and provides views of Blackwattle Bay and Anzac Bridge. The décor includes white tablecloths, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that create a simple yet chic light-filled environment. It was also a lovely day, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxed lunch.
The dining room of The Boathouse - simple elegance.
The Boathouse specialises in seafood, so most of the menu options consisted of fish, crustaceans and oysters, with the occasional vegetarian or meat dish thrown in. They had an extensive oyster menu, offering the largest variety of oysters I've seen at any restaurant. With the oysters, the waitress made a few recommendations for us, and we got a random selection of the Merimbula Lake Rock ($4.50 each), the Kangaroo Island Pacific ($4.20 each), and the Coffin Bay Angasi ($6.00 each).
A variety of different kinds of oysters
The oysters were served on a bed of ice cubes with wedges of lemon. The oysters looked like any other ordinary oyster, and tasted the same too, with some small differences in size. Although nice, they were not the best oysters I'd ever had, and also not the creamiest.
Complimentary bread at The Boathouse - not the best I've had.
In the tradition of Sydney's fine dining establishments, we were also presented with two small complimentary baskets of bread and butter. It included three different kinds: white, wholemeal and multigrain. I sampled the brown wholemeal, but it was not to my liking. The bread was thin, and I struggled not to tear it while spreading the butter on it. The butter was also a little stiff and cool, and remained a pale yellow hue on my disappointing slice. At other restaurants I've been to, the staff go the extra mile in warming up the butter so that it spreads wonderfully.
Entree of Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon
For my entree, I ordered the Citrus Cured Marlborough King Salmon with Blood Orange, Fennel, Coriander and Radish ($27). All the entrees came out in a timely fashion. The wait wasn't too long, but it wasn't very fast either, as was to be expected. The citrus cured salmon was presented beautifully on its plate. One of the things I love about fine dining is the amount of care and effort that goes into making the food look appealing, as well as taste delicious. I thought all the food that had been prepared looked exceptionally good; almost too good to eat. The salmon was cut into thin slices, and had small wedges of blood orange on top. It was served cooler than room temperature, and was the perfect starter on such a warm day. The sweetness of the blood orange gave a nice flavour to the light and fresh salmon. I liked my salmon entree, but the taste and quality of this dish paled in comparison to the Ham Hock Croquette with Pea Puree, Iberico Jamon, and Slow Cooked Egg ($27).
Ham Hock Croquette with Pea puree, Iberico Jamon, and Slow Cooked Egg - by far the best of the entrees.
The ham hock croquette was a starter that several of my friends had ordered. As with the other entrees, it was exquisitely prepared. It's appearance was nothing compared to how it tasted though. The taste was sensational. The ham hock croquette was creamy and soft, and the other components of that dish tasted delicious paired together, and also on their own. The ingredients came together very nicely, and I looked on with envy and regret as I watched my friends finish their superior entree with delight.
Roast Bowen Barramundi
For my main dish, I ordered the Roast Bowen Barramundi with Carrot Puree, Hazelnuts, and Roast Chicken Juices ($41). The top of the roast barramundi was crisp, with a soft underside. There was a dollop of carrot puree, a few hazelnuts, and two small poached carrots. As with all the starters, the mains were also all beautifully prepared. The soft underside of the barramundi fell apart as I picked at it with a fork. It tasted nice with the smooth carrot puree, but the fish on its own was a little bit bland.
Staff member cutting the crust of the Snapper Pie
Along with everyone's mains, we had also ordered The Boathouse's signature dish, the Snapper Pie ($48) to share amongst everyone. My friend who had previously dined at The Boathouse had recommended that the snapper pie was too large to be a main for just one person, so we ordered it and all tried it. The snapper pie arrived on a trolley pushed by a waiter, who cut half of the crust off in front of us and set it on our table. It was accompanied by mashed potato and smoked tomatoes.
Snapper Pie - not too nicely presented but the taste made up for this.
Side of mashed potato and smoked tomatoes that accompanied the Snapper Pie
The snapper pie was simply cooked in a bowl with crust only at the top. The crust was flaky and crisp, and complemented the snapper well. The snapper had been cooked in a very rich, creamy sauce that had a hint of truffle oil. The snapper itself was tender and well cooked. The delicate hint of truffles was the factor that made the pie excellent. Overall, I thought the snapper pie was the best offering from The Boathouse, and I would come back just to try it again.
Dessert Menu at The Boathouse
Cherry Ripe Dessert - overpoweringly sweet and thick.
For a dessert, I shared the “Cherry Ripe” ($18) with one of my friends. As the name suggests, it was an intricate mix of chocolate, cherries and coconut. It included poached cherries, chocolate cherry sorbet, and coconut shavings. In addition to this, there was a syrupy kind of cherry sauce and biscuit crumbs around the sorbet. The sauce was much too thick and sweet for our liking, especially because the chocolate was quite rich as well. It was a little bit too heavy for us, but might be to someone else's liking. The cherry chocolate sorbet was both tart and sweet. All the elements of the cherry ripe dessert were quite thick and rich. It could have been a really nice dessert, but both my friend and I agreed that it was much too sweet and heavy. We didn't finish the dessert even between the two of us.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Watermelon Granita and Strawberries - a lighter dessert.
Another of my friends had chosen the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Watermelon Granita and Strawberries ($18) which was much more preferable than the cherry ripe dessert. The Buttermilk Panna Cotta was light and fresh, with a subtle sweetness that didn't weigh down the taste buds. The strawberries and watermelon added a really nice fruity flavour to the milky panna cotta. Once again I felt envious that I hadn't picked the right dish.
Outside The Boathouse
The service was good. Our waitress was very personable and friendly, and so were the other staff at The Boathouse. I'd say that the best part of the experience at The Boathouse was the lovely view of the water and Anzac Bridge. As The Boathouse's menu focuses extensively on seafood, I wouldn't really recommend this restaurant if you prefer meat, or are vegan or vegetarian. They did have one steak option and one vegetarian option for the mains, but there wasn't a whole lot of variety in that department.
Where: 123 Ferry Road Glebe NSW
Why: For the beautiful views and extensive seafood menu.
Cost: Slightly more expensive than an average restaurant. We paid a little over $100 each for 3 courses, and an oyster course.
When: Lunch from Thursday to Sunday 12pm-3pm, and dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm.