Review: Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar – Manly (Sydney)

Nestled within Q Station, a heritage retreat and Australia’s first and oldest Quarantine Station, Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar has upped the ante with Matt Kemp at the helm.

With an impressive list of lauded restaurants under his belt, Matt Kemp took on the role of Executive Chef of Q Station in March 2016. Formerly of Randwick’s Restaurant Balzac and the hatted Banc Restaurant, he is bringing new concepts to the retreat’s food and beverage offerings. Fresh, seasonal and quality food is not only the focus at the Boilerhouse, but also conferences and weddings.

Combining delicious food, a peek at Australian history, and tranquil views of Sydney Harbour, Boilerhouse Restaurant the perfect lunch spot to take your family, overseas visitors and friends. The restaurant offers an la carte menu or a more casual bar menu featuring burgers and pizzas. We’re here for a lazy lunch in the outdoor terrace, checking out the a la carte menu and catching glimpses of Quarantine Beach on a crisp, sunny Sunday.

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The roast scallops starter with butternut pumpkin, seeds and pickled kohlrabi ($26) plays with different textures and flavours. It’s a perfect marriage of sweet pumpkin and a hint of acidity from the pickled kohlrabi, but the hero of this dish is the perfectly cooked scallops. The plating is flawless. I love the crunch from the seeds. I’m always a fan of showing off one ingredient in many ways. It’s pumpkin three ways here with pumpkin disks, puree and seeds.

Meanwhile, the salad of local heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella ($20) with crispy fried capers is fresh, delicious and generous. While not as refined as the scallop starter, it’s still a crowd pleaser and would be suitable for sharing, too.

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We’re not prepared for how generous the servings are when our mains arrive. The barramundi ($35) with hazelnuts on a bed of broccolini, lentils, lardons and celeriac is right on the money. Especially the crispy skin of the barramundi is terrific.

But even better is the 24-hour braised beef cheek ($36), resting on white bean and truffle puree, accompanied by roasted Jerusalem artichokes and Tuscan cabbage. Intensely umami and jaw-droppingly tender, this dish ticks all the right boxes.

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For a side we take on the hand-cut chips, but we quickly concede defeat. The bowl of chips is enough to satiate a table of 4 or 6.

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Dessert completes our superb lunch with gusto. The warm bitter chocolate tart with macadamia praline and a side of salted caramel milkshake ($18) is a showstopper. It doesn’t get much better than gooey chocolate innards teamed with ice cream and crunchy praline.

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But if like me, you prefer lighter, fruity desserts, go for the Eton mess ($16). The plate is brimming with meringue, vanilla bean cream, fresh berries, freeze dried raspberries and raspberry sorbet. It’s berry perfection.

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Q Station is 30 hectares of Sydney Harbour National Park in Manly. Whether you arrive by car or bus, from reception you’ll need to either walk or take a shuttle to Boilerhouse Restaurant. After your meal make sure you explore the beautiful heritage grounds of the national park. The Quarantine Station operated from 1833 to 1984. With 65 buildings and several archaeological sites today, it remains an important part of Australia’s migrant history.

Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar
Address: North Head Scenic Drive, Manly NSW 2095
Phone: 02 9466 1511
Website: www.qstation.com.au