Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7 year anniversary lunch @ Berowra Waters Inn

Berowra Waters Inn (BWI) has its unique place in Australia’s dining scene. Years ago I’ve heard great things about BWI, but before I had a chance to go there, the restaurant closed down leaving me with regretful thoughts. It turned out BWI only closed for a couple of months before it changed hands, to Tony Bilson, and recently again to Brian Geraghty (ex Astral, Pied a Terre, Quay and Bilson’s).

BWI is set in bushland on the beautiful Hawkesbury river, and is only accessible by seaplane, boat or private ferry. I knew it would be the ideal choice for celebrating my 7 year anniversary with Mr M, who is always so sweet and accommodating and happy for me to make the calls when deciding on where to go for special occasions like this. The booking processing is simple and quick. (Later on I indirectly realised why this may be... they only had 3 tables occupied for a Sunday lunch service. I’m a little concerned and hoping this is not the usual case for them).

The day finally came and after a 45 minutes drive we arrived at the East Wharf, where a private ferry is waiting for us. We are blessed to have the most perfect sunny day in July. The ferry ride is pleasurable and only took a couple of minutes to arrive at the peaceful BWI. Greeted immediately by name we are shown to our table. They offered us one degustation menu with only one choice to be made – to have four or seven courses. The waiting staff told us portions are about the same as they make each course a bit smaller for the seven courses. He also mentioned adjustments can be made to have my 7 courses fish-free. Mr M made the executive call to get all seven courses, one course for each wonderful year we have spent together :)

7 course degustation lunch
One course for each year together with my wonderful boy 

From our table we can see the private ferry that dropped us off

The table in the middle of the dining room is where 
the bread basket, wine, wine glasses and cutlery are placed

Chef and Owner Brian Geraghty working in the kitchen 
To start, we are presented with a gorgeous off the menu amuse bouche of eel apple and chicken liver parfait in a crispy tuile. Unfortunately for me, eel is still a fish so I only had the liver parfait which is ultra rich and tasty. Mr M enjoyed the eel apple and at this point we are certain it’s going to be a brilliant meal. 

BWI degustation menu
Eel Apple and Chicken Liver Parfait Tuile

Bread Basket full of Bacon Brioche and Anchovy Sourdough

Bread at a fine dining restaurant is something I look forward to. But today the bacon brioche is slightly disappointing for me – it’s not warm, although it’s buttery, it’s not light and puffy. Luckily the disappointment doesn’t last very long as our first course arrived and it is exceptional.  The scallops are so beautifully seared and the slightly acidic pickled beetroot, horseradish cream and crumbles are perfect complements.

L Loves... Scallop, Horseradish Cream, Rye & Root Vegetables

As a substitute for the ocean trout (which Mr M enjoyed), the chef prepared an extravagant mushroom dish for me. Truffle sautéed mushrooms in combination with brioche (yes, the same brioche I just complained about... though I usually love them). It is a rich dish even for winter. The indulgence progresses with a dish of pork belly and honey bug. The bug (note: Moreton Bay bug, not hakuna matata bug) is so fresh and sweet and the pork belly is delish and juicy.

Confit Ocean Trout, Smoke Milk, Dashi & Lemon

Sautéed Truffle Mushrooms with Brioche 

Pork Belly, Honey Bug, Mead & Green Tomato

Take a closer look at the succulent pork belly

Next up we have another fish course, which they substituted with chicken for me, with broccoli veloute, small pieces of prawn, pinenut and winter truffle. Mr and I agreed the main ingredient (i.e. the flounder and the chicken) are cooked superbly well and are delicious, but the condiments are a little overpowering and distracting. 

Flounder, Broccoli Veloute, Karid Prawn,
 Pinenut & Winter Truffle

Chicken, Broccoli Veloute, Karid Prawn, 
Pinenut & Winter Truffle

A closer look at the flavoursome chicken

Our final savoury course has got to be my favourite dish of the day. The beef rib is slow cooked for 14 hours and just falls apart when you cut into a piece. It is coated with the yummiest crumbles (yes, the chef here loves using crumbles and I love eating them!) and is divine when eaten with the creamy “egg white” and slightly sweet and sour “egg yolk”.  I love the presentation of this dish and our waiter says it is what the chef calls a “steak and egg”.  

L Loves... Braised Rib of Beef, Charred Leek, Stinging Nettle

A close look at the amazing 14 hour slow cooked beef rib

Our waiter convinced me to try their blue cheese cigar after I told him I don’t like blue cheese. It is less pungent than the usual blue cheese but it still had the aftertaste I feared. I’m undecided on the savoury and sweet red onion sorbet. When our waiter came back and asked how I liked the dish, I gave him my honest answer: “it’s... interesting”. “Good interesting or interesting interesting?” He dug further with an interested look. “Hmmm... it’s different interesting”. Sorry I just can’t lie... LOL.

Blue Cheese & Red Onion Sorbet

Much more successful is their off the menu pre-dessert. An ultra fine rhubarb foam on top of velvety cream cheese. Mr M couldn’t stop complimenting this delicious little treat. I suspect it has something to do with his soft spot for pink desserts (e.g. strawberry ice cream).

Pre-dessert: Rhubarb foam & cream cheese 

Our final dish on the menu is Hazelnut, Mandarin, Milk Sorbet. The hazelnut tastes like Ferrero Rocher but is wonderfully soft and airy like a cross between a mousse and a marshmallow. The combination of the citrusy mandarin gel, milk sorbet and malt crumbles reminds me of breakfast (orange juice, milk and Ovaltine). I wish I could wake up to this every morning. 

L Loves... Hazelnut, Mandarin, Milk Sorbet 

We finished off with tea, coffee and petit fours. As this point I am overfull but the overall experience is delightful and I would not hesitate to recommend BWI to anyone looking for somewhere secluded and somewhere special.

Apple Cakes & Rose, Lime & Chocolate Macarons

BWI on the beautiful Hawkesbury river 

L's Verdict:

•    Taste: 8.5/10
•    Ambience: 4/5
•    Value: 3/5
•    Service: 4/5
•    Creativity and other WOW factors: 4.5/5

Overall rating: 24/30

Berowra Waters Inn
Via East and West Public Wharves
Berowra Waters NSW 2082
Ph: (02) 9456 1027
Lunch Friday to Sunday
Dinner Friday and Saturday

Visited July 2013

Friendly advice: Go with someone special, someone you would want to share an undisturbed afternoon with. 

Berowra Waters Inn on Urbanspoon


  1. Congratulations on the anniversary! Your photos look great, they make the food look super appetising! Berowra Waters really is a special spot and a venue I should keep in mind for special occasions.

    1. Thanks Chris! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos – having beautiful weather (i.e. great natural lighting) and a special tutor (i.e. Mr M) made all the difference :)

  2. Happy anniversary. I love that the number of courses matches your anniversary - and the last year has been the sweetest yet :)

    1. Thank you Helen! It’s a fabulous coincidence, though we’re a bit concerned about our waistline if we keep this up :P

  3. The Confit Ocean Trout, Smoke Milk, Dashi & Lemon!!!! now thats my kind of healthy delicious dish. Maybe add a few capers on there hey

  4. How much does the degustation cost?

    1. Hi Amanda, the 7 course degustation is $175 pp (or $250 pp with matching wines). The 4 course degustation is $110 pp (or $160 with matching wines).

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