Lunch at Berowra Waters Inn for a birthday in the month of birthdays - July. A beautiful winter's day, clear, sunny, about 17C.
We drove up but heavy traffic meant we were late. I called them to advise, and they were absolutely fine about that. I guess they know ahead of time how many people will be dining - it's not as if one just drops in to BWI after all - so they're not fussed if you're booked for 12.30 and arrive as 12.50. The boat was there to meet us and we went across in good time.
We were seated in the small room off to the right, which can double as a private function room if necessary. There are about 5 tables in there usually, and we had the one by the window so we were able to drink in the glorious view, watch the sea planes land, and speculate about the life passing us by on the river.
In case you don't know, the menu at BWI contains about 15 selections. You can choose 3, 4 or 5 courses, and the price varies accordingly. Between the 4 of us we at all but 1 of the choices. Some of the courses are 'lighter' than others, so you can make a selection from entree, fish, mains and dessert.
Lovely fresh bread rolls and Lescure butter to start. Then on to the main event!
I started with the White and Green Asparagus with a slow poached organic egg and fresh Manjimup truffles. It was lovely, the creamy egg yolk and the deep flavoursome truffles a delightful combination.
Next, I had the Buffalo Mozzarella, Espelette Pepper, Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms and Sage butter
I loved this, the gnocchi (something I don't have very often) was pillowy and soft, the mushrooms an autumnal hit, the sage butter a background note.
Next came the Western Australian Marron, Fermented Garlic, Sweet Green Peas and Alsace Bacon
I had seen fermented garlic used on Masterchef, one of the Chef's special cooking classes, so was interested to taste it. It was very salty, not particularly garlic-ky though. This dish was beautiful, though I am not a particular fan of marron. It was slightly undercooked for me (yes I like mine tough!) but the peas in the ravioli were sweet and tasty, and the pea puree added another textural dimension.
Next came the Ballotine of Quail & Duck, Foie Gras, Oriental Consomme. When this dish came to the table the waiter was carrying a piece of bark containing 3 test tubes. One had an olive branch sticking out of it, one had small white river stones and the third contained the consomme for this dish, which he then proceeded to pour around the quail.
I wasn't overly impressed with this, and thus no picture ;-) (I hate to criticise Dietmar Sawyere's food!) This dish was a piece of baked duck and a piece of Foie Gras wrapped in quail meat and skin, then baked again. The duck and foie gras were sublime, the quail was pink and a bit tough and a bit tasteless. The consomme was a knockout, I almost licked the plate!
A lovely palate cleanser was next, the unbelievably delectable Cauliflower soup, of which I could drink a bathtub.
and last the dessert. I always have the cheese plate, because I find dessert makes me too full.
These were a Roquefort, an Ossau Iraty sheeps milk, and a Teleggio Washed Rind.
The others had the Dessert tasting plate for 2, because you get all 4 desserts that are on the menu, in the usual portion sizes! Very generous. Sorry that we'd already started before I remembered to take a photo! Clockwise there's a raspberry souffle, a quince tarte tatin, an Amadei Chocolate tart and braised pineapple with a coconut mousse and a rum baba (back left).
A last glimpse of the cliff face as the fading afternoon sun deepens the shadows