4 February 2011

The Boat House, Palm Beach

One hot summer Saturday, Sir D and I thought it would be a great idea to head up to Palm Beach for day. We thought about this very carefully - we knew there would be heaps of people at the beach on a 30 degree day so we figured that we'd just go for lunch somewhere away from the main beach. And we figured if we arrived at Palm Beach just before 2pm, we'd miss the lunch crowd and be able to have a quiet, relaxing lunch.

Oh how wrong we were.

We rocked up at The Boat House in Governor Phillip Park and it seemed like the rest of Sydney had thought it'd be a good idea to come here too. A sign out the front said that there was a 40 minute wait for food, and the queue to order stretched out the door. We walked past all the people enjoying lunch outside on picnic rugs, on wooden benches or even just standing up and joined the queue.

Ready for a 40-minute wait with our table number

Lunch items are written on a blackboard and crossed out as they sell out. The service here is very do-it-yourself - you order and pay at the counter, take your number and find a table. Fill up your own water carafe at the stylish 'sink' in the middle of the indoor dining area and grab your own water glasses.

Take some time to admire the simple white interior accented by colourful stripy chairs and flowers, check out the water views from the verandah and deck, and see what food items are for sale on the shelves. And then you wait.

Local beer-battered flathead and chips served with house made tartare and lemon wedges - $22.50

And was the wait worth it? Absolutely. The fish and chips arrived in a cute wooden box; two big flathead fillets served with chunky chips, tartare sauce and a wedge of lime. These were perhaps the best fish and chips I've ever had in my life, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't just the hunger talking. The batter was crisp and light, and biting past the batter revealed the soft, flaky flesh of the fish which was cooked perfectly. And the chips held their own as well, rather than being a sad companion to the fish. They were lightly salted with a perfect crunch to fluffy innards ratio, and left Sir D and I fighting over the last few chips.

Salt and pepper Szechuan squid served with Japanese salad dressed with soy wasabi sauce - $18.50

The salt and pepper squid was also a generous pile of batter-encrusted squid on top of salad greens. The squid was super tender with just enough texture contrast from the light batter. Add a squeeze of lime and some of the curious red sauce (which I believe was capsicum?) and you've got some pretty addictive squid which is finished in no time.

View from the cafe interior

By the time we left it was nearly 4pm, yet the place was still buzzing with people coming in for late lunches or coffees. And I can see why The Boat House is so popular with it's water views, stylish yet laid-back beach house vibe and delicious food. It'll definitely keep me coming back, even if there's a 40 minute wait for food!

Outdoor seating on wooden benches or picnic rugs

Wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Hope the Year of the Rabbit brings you good fortune and prosperity!

The Boat House
Barrenjoey Boathouse, Governor Phillip Park
Palm Beach NSW 2108
Ph: +61 2 9974 3868
Open 7 days from 7.30am - 4pm
No bookings taken
10% surcharge on Sundays and public holidays

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The Boat House on Urbanspoon


  1. i'd love to try this place. on the wish list now :-)

  2. What a beautiful spot. Seems like there are so many places in Sydney now where you have a big queue...but if the food is worth it I don't wait waiting. Those chips look so chunky - yum.

  3. this restaurant/cafe sound slike such an awesome place. And that fish and chips looks delicious! I'm definitely coming here one day, hopefully i don't have to wait 40 mins =D

  4. I've heard a lot about the fish and chips here, so good to know it's true! Sounds delightful but quite a long drive out there.

  5. Love the box the fish and chips come in - it's adorable! And such a generous serve of food =D

  6. I am so glad the wait was worth it. Both the squid and the fish look delish.

  7. What lovely pics! I can see why the place is popular!

  8. Hi Simon Food Favourites - Yep I highly recommend!

    Hi MelbaToast - The chips were really good! Probably made even better by the fact that the tartare sauce served as an awesome dipping sauce :)

    Hi linda - Hehe hopefully you have better luck than me, I have a feeling that it was particularly packed on the day I went.

    Hi joey - Yeah so unfortunate it's so far away, but maybe you could turn it into a day trip :)

    Hi mademoiselle delicieuse - Hehe I'm a sucker for cute packaging too so I was quite enamoured by the wooden box!

    Hi sara - Haha me too! If the food wasn't decent I would not have been happy at all!

    Hi Tina - Thanks! It was probably quite popular that weekend since the week before it got a good review in SMH, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was always that packed!