The Boathouse Balmoral Beach Review
Location, location, location! Eating by the beach is the quintessential Australian experience.
Location and ambience
As the name of the cafe would suggest, The Boathouse is located right on Balmoral Beach at 2, The Esplanade in the affluent harbourside suburb of Mosman. With waterside views, The Boathouse Cafe is perfect for those who want to enjoy the sunshine. Paid metered parking is available only a few metres from the cafe.
Out towards the back, diners get up and close to the jetty.
There's some indoor seating by the entrance but the majority of it is at small tables or picnic tables outside. Most of the larger tables are at the very back of the cafe with a smattering of small one or two person tables along the side of the cafe. Seating is very limited though so it's best to plan for an early lunch.
The Boathouse Cafe is a relaxed and informal type of place. You order and pay for your food at the counter by the entrance and then try to nab a free table. Usually, it's packed to the brim so I'd encourage you to approach someone who looks like they're finishing their meal to 'reserve' a spot.
I've been here on multiple occasions and the lunch period is always busy. Typically we arrive for a late breakfast or brunch and end up rolling into lunch.
During the winter months, it's less crowded so it's a nice time to give this place a try. Be warned that it can get extremely windy sitting by the water but since it's Sydney, you still get decent sunlight in the colder months.
Food and drinks
The best way to describe the food on offer at The Boathouse would be light and fresh. With traditional fruit and granola based breakfast offerings, the menu is nicely suited for the hotter weather. The more traditional eggs on toast type of dishes are also available and there's a nice selection of baked goods.
The lunch menu leans heavily towards seafood. Of course, being by the beach, the Boathouse Cafe serves prawns, oysters and fish. Above, I had the beer battered flathead with chips and tartare sauce for $29. For those who aren't so inclined, they also have salad based meals that tend to change seasonally.
This was a falafel salad green bowl with avocado, lettuce and pureed beetroot jam. The plated dishes are quite large so although you pay a hefty price for the food, you won't depart feeling hungry.
Prawns by the water. I'm not usually one for getting my hands dirty as one inevitably must with prawns outside of the house but my dining companion and I thought, why not? Served on a board with two thick slices of toasted sourdough and a sauce on the side, the menu item named 'Bucket of Prawns' is in reality a small bowl of prawns. Although quite lovely and refreshing, the Queensland tiger prawns will set you back $39.
While the fresh seafood here might be overpriced, the freshly baked cakes, loaves and muffins ranging from $8 to $14 are definitely worth the price tag.
The pistachio cake (right) felt deliciously moist, striking a lovely balance between nutty and sweet with a hint of cardamom and cinnamon too. Generously topped with walnuts and pistachio with a dusting of cinnamon sugar, this cake was a textural delight to consume.
Even the banana bread is fancy here. Served with a side of butter and creme fraiche, you can tailor your bite to your heart's delight.
This had a wonderful molasses flavour to it while remaining classically true. You can taste the banana completely as the smell titilates your olfactory senses when you bite into it. It's definitely not a bland banana bread and the assortment of nuts adds complexity to a classic sweet treat.100% would repurchase.
Finally, is it even a meal without multiple coffees? The baked delights are best consumed with a drink. You'd be hard pressed to find a cafe in Sydney that serves poor coffee and here the coffees are perfectly serviceable. It's nice to see a change from the normal rosettas and hearts in the latte art though with a stencilled cocoa powder anchor atop that perfectly suits the nautical theme around the aptly named Boathouse Cafe.
The rest of the drinks menu is nothing to write home about. Your standard assortment of coffees and teas are at the top with a smattering of fruit smoothies and cold pressed juices filling out the rest.
If you're looking for a visually appealling spot to enjoy lovely weather, The Boathouse Cafe is a good pick. It's casual and relaxed and you can easily eat your way from one meal to the next, filling yourself with tasty treats inbetween.
Given the location, you'll pay a premium for food but you won't be disappointed with the flavour at all. If you've got kids, you can plan a family friendly outing by the beach which is right beside.
My top tip would be to pick up a box of baked goodies to go. The hardest part is not gobbling them all before breakfast the next morning.