The local hospitality industry has been pivoting and, in some cases, pivoting again to keep their doors open both in the short and long term since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
Cafés that were previously open for breakfast are now also open for intimate dinners and award-winning restaurants which previously shunned takeaway are now offering home delivery, along with cook-at-home options and pantry staples.
As consumers, we have been the benefactors of the change in approach. Now more than ever, we have greater access to the high-quality and diversified restaurant scene in Canberra.
The Boat House, a Canberra institution that has been offering a premier dining experience for decades, has also pivoted. After initially closing its doors in late March at the height of the restrictions, they have recommenced their evening services with modifications.
Dinner is available Thursday though Saturday with the restaurant’s well-known four-course menu, while the seven-course degustation has been paused until further notice.
A new chapter is starting from 31 July as the Boat House opens for lazy luxurious lunches on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays offering the same fine-dining experience for a fixed-price two or three-course menu.
With some of the best outlooks in Canberra, including Lake Burley Griffin and key monuments such as the Carillon and Parliament House, it is sure to be a meal and a view to remember.
“Guests have been consistently asking us when we’ll extend our offering so that they can come and have lunch with us,” said owner James Souter, “and we’re really excited to be offering this new service.
“I think lunch is ideal for us in that you can really enjoy the view. Especially at this time of year when the lake is just silver glass and the light is beautiful.”
Lots of thought and time has gone into getting the lunch menu right, and executive chef John Leverink and chef Eddie Tsai have come out with sumptuous, impeccably plated modern Australian dishes that match the elegance of the surroundings.
Options will include South Coast snapper, Cowra lamb rump, Pialligo honey mousse and a hint of Canberra’s seasonal favourite, truffles.
The chefs have used the downtime to perfect the recipes and acquire some new skills, such as baking sourdough which is now served at the restaurant. Being an ingredient-driven menu, expect it to change on a weekly or even daily basis.
Working hard to be distanced yet intimate, the team has created a safe space to enjoy the view, food and wine with large spaces between tables, fresh table linen for each guest and your own printed menu.
Sommelier Kate Hibberson also worked hard to create an exceptionally balanced and creative drinks list. Awarded 3 glasses from Gourmet Traveller Wine two years running, as well as receiving the ‘Best listing of ACT wines’ accolade, the wine lists are now accessible via a QR code so you know you’re not touching the same surfaces as other customers.
As you would expect from the Boat House, it is all very thoughtful and thought out. The lunch opening is not the only pivot they are doing. Expect an announcement closer to Spring that will further let locals take advantage of the unparalleled views and access to the lake as the weather warms up.
The Boat House is located at Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive, Barton. The Boat House is open for lunch from Friday to Sunday, and for dinner from Thursday to Saturday. Book via the website.