It’s a 5 day long weekend for Easter this year and what better to kick-start the holiday with a lazy lunch at Berowra Waters Inn. I’ve always wanted to try this place but being 45mins north from Sydney located on the Hawkesbury river, accessible only by water and with restricted operating hours from Friday – Sunday only, I never quite found the opportunity to.
When the lady asked me on the phone how I would be arriving, I thought it was a trick question and to that I answered “Ferry as mentioned on your website?” She proceeded to explain further that there were two car parks to park at and one is accessible by car ferry. I felt silly with my response to the lady.
Off Mr Dough and I go on Good Friday, battling the traffic with commuters heading north to spend time near surf and sand for their holiday. It had been raining in Sydney for the past two weeks and the sun was out and shining. Berowra Waters was surprisingly easy and quick to get to, with the exception of the long and bendy road heading into the bushland to get to the wharf.
We parked the car and walked to the private ferry to wait for their boat to pick us up. The boat pulled up to the sandstone building which was built in 1920’s in a location which Aborigines once used to cook their catch. A waiter was awaiting to greet the arriving guests and ticked off our names off the reservation list. We proceeded to walk up the stairs and was shown to the dining room which is long and narrow so all the guests has water views.
We were presented with menus with the option of six courses or eight courses. I wasn’t sure I could actually eat eight courses for lunch but I was set on six but the last minute sway by the waiter, I decided eight was the way to go. Two amuse bouche was served, 1st one was a watermelon and prawn canape with dill and the 2nd one was a quail egg with bacon, crouton on a button mushroom puree. The watermelon accompanying the prawn provided a refreshing, light start which was a stark contrast to the quail egg which combined with the puree of button mushroom was creamy and rich.
Throughout the meal we had endless supply of bread. I was a very good girl and only stuck to one as fresh sourdough is my weakness. We were warned the butter was addictive and I restrained myself from eating the whole thing. Upon further research the butter is imported from France and they are made with a minimum is 82% butterfat.
First dish to kick off the eating marathon is Dietmar’s signature dish which I have sampled at the last two Taste of Sydney’s Festival. The dish tasted just as I remembered, crisp thin batter and lightly cooked plump oyster in the middle, daintily placed on top leek puree. The oysters are direct from the Hawkesbury river and the caviar provided salty bursts in the vichyssoie foam.
Again using local ingredients, the mud crab was hand picked and surprisingly paired with sheep’s milk yoghurt. The yoghurt brought out the sweetness of the crab and I thought it would be thick and creamy sauce but it wasn’t. The croutons was slightly on the oily side for me.
This dish was the highlight of my day! The presentation was stunning as it used the shell of the razor clam as the base. I’ve first tasted razor clams upon my visit to Hong Kong last year and it was cooked steamed with garlic and vermicelli, I have been hooked ever since. Razor clams are known for their unique long shell and is found in Northern Europe and Eastern Canada and Mr Dough asked if the clams were imported as we don’t see them often in the dining menus in Australia. The texture is different compared to vongole or pippis and have more of a crunch to it and less meaty in texture. The amount of razor clams served was generous and the lemon cut through the briny taste of the clams and lifted the whole dish.
The skin on the barramundi was very crisp which does make eating fish skin that much more enjoyable. The oxtail croustillant was so crispy I was sure it was fried. When I cut into the delicate cigars, shredded braised oxtail burst through the sides. If only someone could bring this as a bar food menu!!
The pumpkin soup provided a good segway into our meat dishes. (Note we are only half way through our lunch and it’s already nearing 2pm)
The quail was pan roasted and was pink and juicy in the middle. I wasn’t a fan of the white asparagus because the texture was really soft and seemed overcooked which was a disappointment for me as I know white asparagus is hard to come by.
Some people might find the lamb too pink but too me it was just right. The lamb was sous-vide then roasted which results in real tender protein. The lamb had a nice thin layer of fat which dissolved with each bite.
I had forgotten the name of this dish but I do remember the thick marbling all the way through the wagyu. Each piece just melted in your mouth and I would of appreciated it more if I wasn’t so full.
When I read that there was goats cheese cheesecake, I wasn’t sure how Mr Dough would take it. First of all I’ve mentioned he doesn’t like desserts and secondly he doesn’t do cheese. So when the dessert came out, Mr Dough was a good sport and tried some. To his and my delight, it was actually quite good. It did not have the strong taste of goats cheese and in fact it was lighter than your regular cheese cake. It went perfectly with the fig (I am not a big fan of fig either) and there was no need for the ice cream.
The fresh raspberries was a treat with the creme fraiche and dark wafer thin chocolate. The raspberry jellies was on the sweet side and I prefer soft middled jellies.
By the time I got to the petit fours, I was so full I declined but the waiter insisted to leave me one of each, just in case.
By the time we had finished our petit fours, we were one of the few tables left. I checked my watch and it was nearing 5pm, we had officially experienced the longest lunch but no complaints from us. The two hatted restaurant by Dietmar Sawyere is definitely worth the trip up and for something a little more special, you can also arrive here by seaplane.
Berowra Waters Inn
Lunch Fri-Sun noon-2pm, Dinner Fri-Sat 7-10pm