It feels like yesterday that The Boathouse Balmoral Beach opened. A beautiful beach setting combined with a produce driven menu meant it quickly became popular with locals and visitors. Within weeks it was typical to wait in a long queue to order food and drinks. As a local myself I’d go when I virtually had the place to myself (yes this meant 7am on a weekday).
Almost 2 years on from the March 2013 opening things are a little calmer. It’s still busy, especially on weekends, but they’ve evolved to cope better. With a separate take-away kiosk, more than enough staff floating around and a new juice bar at the back the long queues seem limited to sunny Sundays.
The Boathouse Balmoral Beach was revamped by the team behind The Boathouse Palm Beach. Pip Robb and Andrew Goldsmith established The Boathouse Palm Beach back in 2008 and today that success has been replicated at Balmoral. The Boathouse fits perfectly into the Balmoral surroundings – it’s clear that Pip and Andrew’s interior design and landscaping backgrounds have been very well applied to create a bright, flowery and beach-chic atmosphere. The Boathouse doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s as much casual-cool as it is beach-chic. Like many others I’ve been known to go in barefoot and in my swimmers without feeling even a tad out-of-place…..
Grab a spot on the large communal table inside if you’d like the best view in the house of the blackboard menu. Or find a table on the deck above the ocean – luckily many of the outdoor tables are sheltered from the sun (and the rain) and with an outlook like this once seated you won’t want to move…..
The menu changes regularly to make the best use of seasonal fresh local produce (with the exception of the fish and chips and the burger that appear to have a loyal following).
For breakfast choose from dishes like croissant French toast with apple, macadamia and caramel, or the raw muesli with coconut yoghurt, almond milk and fruit. Of course there are also plenty of egg based options too. Pair breakfast with one of their legendary freshly squeezed juices or a Single Origin coffee made with the award-winning Riverina milk.
Come 11.30am the finished sign sits across the breakfast blackboard and lunch opens. This is when it gets really interesting, not just because of the food but because the stunning setting makes a glass (or a bottle) of reasonably priced wine very tempting. The wine list is short but carefully crafted and everything is priced the same at $39 a bottle. The lunch menu is dominated by seafood, in a good way. Order a bucket of prawns, a trout board, cured snapper…..or if you’re feeling extravagant go the whole hog with the cold seafood platter.
Here are a few of the dishes I’ve tried:.
With a generous side serving of bread the bucket of prawns is big enough to share. Just be prepared to get a little messy breaking down the prawns.
Until recently the trout board was one of my go-to dishes. Like the burger it has been a constant on the menu but it’s expanded to include sliced trout as well as the pâté. I say until recently because after my last visit I have a new favourite – the veggie biscuit.
The crunchy, healthy biscuit itself is the highlight of this dish. Unfortunately when I questioned the chef on the recipe he wasn’t giving anything away…..
And finally the burger – it’s not cheap at $24 but it’s no ordinary cafe burger. It comes on a brioche bun, with a slice of bacon, tasty cheese and a serving of chips. You’ll be left with an empty plate (or wooden board) satisfied and confident that the burger will be a strong lunch contender on your next visit.
I’m lucky enough to consider The Boathouse one of my local spots. I could happily relax in the sunny beach-chic interior all day; surrounded by potted plants, fresh produce and flowers, while passing the time with a coffee or two and a glass of rose. Whether I drop in for a quick coffee or a long lunch I always pinch myself –knowing that people would travel across an ocean and more to holiday in a spot like Balmoral Beach.
In fact I can’t do a better job of summarising The Boathouse experience than one of Sydney’s most well-known food reviewers, Terry Durack. In his words The Boathouse is “….another wonderful place in which to show-off Sydney. It’s what we do best.”
- Remember it’s no reservations so if you’re with a large group don’t expect to get seated right away.
- Once you find a table don’t lose it – there’s typically more than a few people strolling around eyeing up a table while their companions wait in the queue to order.
- The Boathouse recently started to open from 5pm to 8pm on Sunday evenings. With a special menu and live music you won’t be surprised to hear that in-the-know locals get there extra early to hold a table for their family and friends.
By Feast Wisely
- 2 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach NSW 2088
- 02 9974 5440
- Open daily 7am to 4pm, breakfast 7.30am to 11.30am, lunch 11.30am to 3pm
- Instagram @theboathousebb
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- The Bathers’ Pavilion, Balmoral Beach
- Public Dining Room, Balmoral Beach
- Fourth Village Providore, Mosman