Best Seat in the House
Boathouse Bar + Dining at Koolewong offers some of the best views and cuisine on the Coast. So book a table, moor your boat and live the dream.
“The Boathouse” at Koolewong has definitely faced some controversy since development was first proposed in 1982. During the intervening years the building has become a landmark on Brisbane Water, it’s uninterrupted waterviews making it a sought-after location for weddings and events.
Many of us at the southern end of the Coast drive past the Boathouse regularly. And for commuters heading to Sydney by train it’s a familiar sight, silhouetted against stunning sunrises and bathed in crimson sunsets. Yet it still maintains an air of mystery.
The façade, for many years blue and resembling something from a charming New Hampshire seaside village, has never given much away. But for those in the know the Boathouse has been the go-to restaurant on the Coast for amazing seafood and a quality, imaginative menu. And, of course, the views are pretty hard to beat, even in this part of the world.
With work completed on the neighbouring marina, a new paint job, a spruce-up inside, rebranding and new head chef in place, the restaurant is poised to become a favourite for a wider audience.
A short and pleasant walk from Woy Woy station or accessible by water, with mooring for your boat, there’s a lot of reasons to discover Boathouse Bar + Dining.
The new Koolewong marina has taken nine months to construct, and one unexpected advantage of its completion is that it’s opened up the location making the Boathouse more accessible. A boardwalk now extends down the side of the building towards the water, an easy detour from the popular cycleway that runs adjacent to the road. From this vantage point you can see the rear of the restaurant, with it’s huge span of waterfront windows, giving you a taste of this unique venue and its breathtaking views.
Restaurant owner Eddie Zeman is taking this spirit of ‘opening up’ even further – you can now have a casual drink or meal on the boardwalk overlooking the moored boats and beautiful Brisbane Water. A new pizza oven has been installed supplying tasty made-to-order pizzas. You’ll also find imaginative choices like salmon tacos and soft shell crab sliders on the boardwalk menu, along with classics like flathead fillets and chips. Order a cold beer or wine from the extensive list and drink in the surroundings. The boardwalk is also the perfect place to pull up for coffee with a view if you’re out for a walk (or cycle) along the Brisbane Water cycleway which winds it’s way from Point Frederick to Woy Woy.
Both the food on the boardwalk menu and that within the restaurant is under the charge of new head chef, Patrick Johnson.
Patrick is a young chef who, prior to his move to the Coast, honed his skills in some of the best regional restaurants in NSW.
A stint at Sage Dining Rooms in the heart of Canberra provided an ideal training ground for the Boathouse. Sage, situated in a stunning heritage building, has made a specialty of fine dining with a sense of occasion. That they also manage to avoid an air of stuffiness and consistently deliver food that is both innovative and delicious means they’re heavy with accolades, rated in the top twenty restaurants nationally.
Prior to Sage Patrick worked at the lauded restaurant Racine in Orange, another restaurant committed to progressive cuisine and regional produce. Of course both restaurants also have a strong trade in weddings and functions.
You can see evidence of Patrick’s experience in the meals that come from his kitchen. They’re gorgeously presented with flavours combined in a sophisticated manner. Plated artworks as delicious as they are beautiful. But you wont have the discomfort of not knowing what’s on your plate – the meals at the Boathouse strike a perfect balance between novelty and familiarity, never too clever, always tasty.
While the meals have all the sophistication of Patrick’s past establishments, he has lightened things up a little for the Boathouse, given the waterfront location and ready supply of wonderful seafood.
The restaurant is a seafood lover’s paradise with familiar dishes, like the gently crumbed, succulent calamari, to something different, like the blue swimmer crab lasagne, with deliciously delicate flavours.
Non seafood meals are just as good, with roasted spatchcock and air dried chargrilled eye fillet currently featuring, among other options including some for vegetarians.
If oysters are your thing, the Boathouse is one of very few places that offer freshly shucked live Hawkesbury oysters. But be warned, once you’ve tasted oysters this fresh you’re sure to become an oyster snob. Oysters are shucked to order and while natural is most popular, served with an eschallots vinaigrette, you can also have them served in a light tempura with pickled ginger.
The wine list covers all varietals and tastes, featuring mostly Australian wines. A couple of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and a Pinot Noir, plus some premium champagne options are the only internationals on what is a well considered ‘highlights tour’ of local winemaking. Beers, spirits and liqueurs are also available at the well stocked bar. Or try a cocktail! The new outdoor areas are perfect for a ‘holiday at home’ experience – exotic cocktail in hand, watching the sun set over the water.
With fine dining more than covered the Boathouse is now multi-tasking with breakfast, lunch, coffee and the lighter boardwalk and courtyard menu. Eddie is keen to offer the Coast a beach club experience; a venue that covers all your dining and social needs whether it’s an impromptu coffee or lunch, a special meal with friends or a family event. Classic cocktails like Margaritas, Cosmopolitans and Pina Coladas add to the beach club vibe, as does the attentive service that manager David Brooke has already made a hallmark of the Boathouse.
Boathouse Bar + Dining will become your ‘place’; your private club with the added attraction of no exorbitant membership fee!
Boathouse Bar + Dining is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday from 11.30am, and for
dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 5.30pm. Breakfast is available from 8am on weekends.
Brisbane Water Drive, Koolewong.
Boathouse Bar + Dining invites you to their locals night on Thursday evenings. Enjoy two courses with a glass of wine for $45 per person. The bar opens from 5pm and dinner reservations are available from 5.30pm. Bookings are essential.
Mon & Tue open by appointment only
(02) 4342 9994
Breakfast: Sat & Sun 8am – 11am
Boardwalk: Sat & Sun 11am – 4pm
Lunch: Wed – Sun from 11:30am
Dinner: Wed – Sat from 5:30pm