Nestled in the hills of Manly, overlooking the North Head side of the harbor lies Q Station. For 150 years it operated as a quarantine station for incoming migrant ships suspected of carrying infectious disease. Nowadays it is a site of modern-day recreation with accommodation, event hosting, ghost tours and a whole bevvy of other fun activities on offer. The downside to this is that their restaurant, The Boiler House tends to be overlooked. However, there is little doubt that this problem will continue, that is if Wednesday’s Autumn Harvest Dinner is anything to go by.
Upon arriving at Q Station Reception Area my fellow diners and I were ushered in to a shuttle bus, saving us an arduous trek down the hill. The restaurant is situated right on the harbor. The sandstone exterior and nearby smoke stack pay homage to the site’s colonial history. The interior, meanwhile, is an exemplar of modern design with exposed brick walls contrasting with modern decoration. Dimmed lighting provided an atmosphere of warmth to set the tone for the evening.
Chef Matt Kemp
Smoked Celeriac Veloute with Truffle Cream
A mild aperitif, it was creamy without being rich with a really nice smoky flavor.
Gnocchi of roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Wild Rabbit and Rosemary
The gnocchi’s creamy texture along with the rabbit ragu melts in the mouth so much so that my fellow diners and I forgot all about our unfinished pinot gris.
The ensuing ‘Barramundi with Wild Mushrooms and Cauliflower Cream’ was so tender that it simply fell apart as soon as I went to cut it. To complement the fish were served the 2013 Cherubino Sauvignon Blanc from Pemberton WA.
The next course, ‘Madagery Creek Venison with Spiced Pear Tarte’ was a larger dish accompanied by roasted parsnip and wilted greens. Having not eaten venison for years I had forgotten just how tender and flavoursome it is. It was nicely complemented by the sweetness of the spiced pear and the earthiness of the parsnip. The 2013 Cherubino ‘Laissez Faire’ Syrah, or Shiraz, had a spicy hint of berry.
The final course was ‘Creamed Rice Pudding with Apple Compote and Mulled Blackberries,’ garnished with apple sorbet. This dish was the perfect finale to the evening. It was neither too decadent nor too rich. However the apple sorbet, while delicious on its own, tasted like it was a bit out of place with the rice pudding.
By now fully sated and loosening our belts, we were each served a large jug of ‘Wassail,’ or mulled cider, a tribute to the chef’s southern English roots. The brewing process involved cored apples being filled with sugar. Having had bad experience with mulled wine before I was skeptical but the Wassail went down without a hitch.
Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant and Bar
Q Station North Head Scenic Dr
Manly, NSW 2095
2 Hungry Guys dined as a guest of Boilerhouse. Images supplied.