Where every dish is a feast for the eyes

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Barramundi… from the remote and very famous Humpty Doo of the Northern Territory. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

“When you first enter The Boat House you’re struck by the warmth – wooden floors with character, stonework, beautiful art and views every way you look,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

IT’S ICONIC, has been providing fine dining for decades and is architecturally beautiful. When you first enter The Boat House you’re struck by the warmth – wooden floors with character, stonework, beautiful art and views every way you look. You couldn’t get closer to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin if you tried. 

The Boat House is now open for long, lazy lunches (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), which is exciting because daytime is when you can really absorb the aspect. And on October 9, the Armada outdoor bar is set to open with a casual pop-up bar and dining experience (Friday and Saturday afternoons until late).

When it closed its doors at the height of COVID-19 restrictions that hit hospitality hard, The Boat House seized the opportunity to fine tune its menu with even greater emphasis on premium ingredients, some of which chef John Leverink says are not often seen in the Canberra culinary scene.

Lunch is a prix fixe menu with two course ($67) and three-course ($77) options available. Every dish was a feast for the eyes and served by well-trained staff who care. 

Hiramasa kingfish… served in a delicate Spanish cold soup, a sensational start. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The revered Hiramasa kingfish, served in a delicate Spanish cold soup (ajoblanco), was a sensational start. So too was the ginger mirin pork belly, with pear, miso and shallots. One of the favourite starters around our table was the almond chicken ballotine with cauliflower, butter jus and cavolo nero (a type of kale).

It’s spring and several of us celebrated with the Cowra lamb rump as a main. This highly prized lamb was cooked to perfection. The meat was gorgeously tender and the dish danced with pistachio, eggplant and roasted broccoli. 

Pork loin with wild rice… married well, served with an onion sauce. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Wild rice is always an exceptional ingredient and it married well with the pork loin, served with an onion sauce. The barramundi, from the remote and very famous Humpty Doo of the Northern Territory, celebrated with a caramel sake. 

Mains were accompanied by roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes with mustard mayo and harissa pumpkin with mint yoghurt and coriander.

Yoghurt mousse… with gingerbread, rhubarb, cucumber and chervil sorbet. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Desserts didn’t disappoint. The Braidwood honey semifreddo was a piece of art on a plate (actually it came in a crisp white bowl). Gold dust was sprinkled on top. The crack as we broke through the Valrhona chocolate was delightful and the salted caramel ganache truly decadent. Also on the dessert menu, was a refreshing yoghurt mousse with gingerbread, rhubarb, cucumber and chervil sorbet, a crème caramel, and a small cheese selection.

The wine list at The Boat House has been carefully curated by sommelier Kate Hibberson. It is balanced, creative and takes its hat off to local wines.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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