A sunny morning, sitting with a hot cup of tea overlooking the glistening, sparkling water of the Wickham marina. It’s as pretty as a postcard with the boats bobbing at this edge of the harbour; the sun is making Throsby Creek look like the Lake of Shining Waters. We really do live in a beautiful city.
I’m sitting at the recently-opened Wickham Boatshed which takes full advantage of this perfect location. With a ‘good affordable food’ ethos, at face value it seems like a winning formula.
Open for early coffees, breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week, you could pop in before work, grab a bite throughout the day or visit for a lazy weekend meal.
The breakfast menu has a selection to suit all sorts of ways to break your fast. Whether you want something light (muffins, scones banana bread or just toast); something healthier (granola, smashed avo on toast with cherry toms and feta, or zucchini corn fritters); to something substantial to last until dinner (eggs benedict, a Moroccan breakfast pan or the signature Boatshed breakfast with the works), they’ve got everything covered.
A personal favourite is the winter wellness bowl. Doing their own rendition of the healthy bowl, this one comes with thick sweet wedges of roasted pumpkin (with the skin on), salty squidgy grilled haloumi, roasted cherry tomatoes, wilted kale, puffed quinoa (the puffiest), a sprinkling of seeds and nuts, and the best part – a medley of mushrooms including the long, slender enoki which has a way of being soft and bitey at the same time. It’s a perfect start to a crisp winter’s morning, letting you feel nourished without the heaviness.
A return visit for Sunday lunch and the place is bustling – families, friends and people passing by all enjoying their rest time, harbourside.
Being so close to the water, there’s no surprise the menu features a bit of seafood. There’s a garlic prawn bruschetta; salmon with crunchy potatoes and salad; the local catch (today it’s john dory) with cauliflower, quinoa and hummus; a seafood risotto (pippies included) and a grilled squid dish.
The squid is five-types spiced and is served on a bed of that seasonal roasted pumpkin and rocket with aioli. There’s a lot of the scored squid which is nice, and while it’s certainly not chewy, it’s perhaps a little bit soft. Another flash or two in the pan would do the trick.
There’s plenty of non-seafood options as well, including the burger of the day. Today it’s a lamb burger with lettuce, tomato, haloumi and a beetroot hummus. It’s served on a charcoal bun, so don’t be afraid when it comes out black – it’s still a normal bun, but perhaps my eyes deceived me into thinking it tasted nuttier than its pale cousin. The lamb patty is thick, but a bit dry. The beer battered chips are perfect.
A bowl of orecchiette with peas and asparagus and subtle pesto is comforting. Crispy pancetta adds some salt and crunch, but the house-made cheese has an earthy aftertaste that doesn’t quite sit right. I think replacing this with ricotta would perhaps keep the creaminess which is so nice in the dish, without overwhelming the other flavours.
Another great comfort dish on the menu is the vegan risotto with pumpkin, peas, spinach and lots of sweet onion. The rice is cooked perfectly, no glug here, and with a little more seasoning would satisfy all the meat eaters too.
There are plenty of sweet treats to enjoy after your meal, with a coffee or to take away.
Service is attentive and efficient, and the meals arrive very quickly despite how busy it is.
Being licensed, you can enjoy a glass or bottle of wine with your lunch, making the experience all rather lovely. I can see the Wickham Boatshed becoming a happy option for locals and visitors alike.
- What: The Wickham Boatshed
- Where: 91 Hannell Street, Wickham
- Contact: 4023 7697; thewickhamboatshed.com.au
- Hours: 7 days, 6.30am-3pm.
- Owner: Heather Swift
- Head Chef: Steve Donk
- Drinks: Teas, coffees, juices as well as wine by glass and bottle, plus beer and spirits.
- Vegetarian: Plenty
- Wheelchair: Yes.
- Bottom line: Lunch dishes are $15-30.
- Do try: The winter wellness bowl.