BeachHouse – Barwon Heads
Please note: This blog post is being published as part of my Amnesty Series – where I am catching up on reporting about all the wonderful eating I’ve been doing over the last 3 months. Apologies for being so woefully behind and thanks for your patience. If you decide to visit the BeachHouse, please bear in mind that some items may no longer be available due to the seasonality of menus.
48 Hitchcock Avenue
We were spending the weekend with great friends Bubblez and Adventurous Pete down at Barwon Heads – and they were keen to take us to the BoatHouse, a regular of theirs just because it’s always so easy and reliable.
The dining area is really spacious, and there’re some cute touches here and there to show off the seaside vibe. In addtion, the restaurant has a great outdoor area (see top pic), and a very relaxed and easy-going vibe. Tonight they were a bit busy – so service seemed a little slower than usual (according to “the regulars”).
We jumped straight in by ordering a nice red wine – since we’d just recently been to France – the Burgundy seemed to be a serendipitous choice. Definitely a village wine…
As for food – well! We decided to order some entrées to share (as you do) – perhaps we could have done with a few less, but I was keen to get a taste of the full range of delights.
Antipasto: smoked ham, prosciutto, marinated feta, sundried tomatoes, olives, pickled seafood, dip of the day, grissini, warm Turkish bread
Adventurous Pete was definitely gung ho for this antipasto platter – and no wonder. Look at the size of it. At $26 though – it is the price of a shared entrée or a main. There was a great selection of things to choose from though, although fairly ubiquitous sort of stuff.
Pork & vegetable spring rolls, mango ginger chutney
I thought the spring rolls would be a good choice for Andrew – and they were fine. Again, nothing spectacular but they hit the spot and they weren’t too greasy.
Bubblez was keen to get the fish cakes which were a particular favourite of hers. I think I was expecting the smaller Thai fish cakes. These were quite large – and more the standard potato and fish cakes that your mother used to make. They were pretty good fare, and a very generous serve!
Mmmmmm… pork belly. I can never go past pork belly. And this dish sounded pretty spectacular. Served with chunks of apple and a chilli syrup… it had echoes of the gorgeous pork belly you can get from Red Spice Road. Alas… as you can see from the pic – this is nowhere near the RSR version. *sigh* As a dish it was quite bland and quite underwhelming.
Bouillabaisse: mussels, prawns, scallops, calamari & fish in a Pernod, tomato, chilli & garlic broth, crusty bread
For his main, Adventurous P ordered the bouillabaisse. Bubblez informs me that he doesn’t really eat this anywhere else – but always orders it here. Perusal of some of the other reviews on the BeachHouse inform me that this is something of a signature dish, and one of the better ones on the menu. Methinks Adventurous Pete knows a good thing when he’s onto it. It certainly looks the part, overflowing with gorgeous seafood, and a great hunk of crusty bread to soak up the juices. Trust the locals – this might be the one to order.
Double roasted ½ duck, medley of bacon, onion & roast potato, Madeira jus
Once again, I fell “fowl” to my love of duck (hee hee!). This wasn’t a bad rendition. The duck was pretty tender and it was a generous serve – which I managed to polish off. The flavours weren’t particularly strong – but the duck was cooked well.
Grain fed Porterhouse, 300gms, dry aged, char grilled, beer battered chips, dressed greens leaves, choice of sauce or mustard
Andrew and Bubblez opted for the porterhouse steaks – these were cooked well enough. Although Andrew acknowledged that it wasn’t up to the standard of his top rated steak (which just happened to be not far away – in Wallington – Oakdene Vineyards Restaurant).
The sides were pretty spectacular – and you can’t go wrong with ordering potato mash, green beans with garlic butter, and pumpkin mash. These rounded out the meal nicely – there would be no ordering of dessert tonight!
BeachHouse was an interesting night out – I would rate it as a decent suburban bistro. There’s nothing here that’s going to rock your world, but they serve solid fare in a modern and convenient setting. Price wise they’re probably punching above their weight, with mains starting at $27 and heading up to the $43 mark. I would be expecting a little more with respect to the quality of the produce and technical execution at these prices – however, if you’re in Barwon Heads you’re probably on holidays or a mini-break – which makes you a bit of a captive market! And the BeachHouse is there – ready to meet your needs! Locals clearly know what to order to get the best out of the place, but as a visitor I’m not sure that I experienced enough to want to be rushing back.