Sydney Roadtrip: Wharf Rd Restaurant and Bar, Nowra
Tell me something worse than having your heart set on a restaurant only to find out its fully booked?
Okay, I’m sure there are plenty of things worse than that situation – all right, a LOT of things worse than that situation, but still it was pretty devastating.
Boyfriend and I spent the weekend in Berry as a sort-of celebration for being together FIVE WHOLE YEARS. We hadn’t really thought in advance about what we’d do for dinner, but as we strolled around Berry we knew that the place we had to go to was the Hungry Duck.
We actually meant to go to the Hungry Duck, a fancy Asian fusion restaurant, the last time we were in Berry but didn’t get around to it. This time we were a little bit undecided but after speaking to the lovely owner of South Coast Providores who told us it was an absolute MUST TRY we rang them straight away to book a table. You know what happens next.
After telling me that no, there was nothing available the Hungry Duck guy suggested we try their other restaurant in Nowra; Wharf Rd. It’s South American, he told me.
South American? My heart was set on Asian. You can’t switch over craving cuisines just like that.
We sighed and continued about our day, deciding to deal with the question of dinner later.
As dinnertime drew closer, we were just about to settle for something in town (the pub, probably) when I thought what-the-heck and googled the menu for Wharf Road.
All it took was two small words.
We were there within fifteen minutes.
And boy, was that the best decision we’ve made in a long time. Wharf Rd is one of those food gems you get really excited about. Like, really excited. I’m typing so fast right now I’m that excited to tell you about it.
Wharf Road is a stunning, waterside restaurant that reminded me so much of places Boyfriend and I visited in the States. A cross between Wilmington, North Carolina and Key Largo, Florida if I was going to be specific about it.
It’s incredibly pretty inside, bright and open with light timber floors and tables, a lot of windows and slight touch of nautical.
We’re seated right by the window, overlooking the lake which is lit up by the lights on the bridge.
Not a great photo, using my dying mobile phone through the glass, but you get the idea:
The menu is divided into starters, small share plates, large share plates and sides.
We opt for a couple of small share plates, one large plate and a salad.
Our first small share plate was the fish taco ($9). It came with two small tacos filled with lightly battered whiting, pico de gallo (a.k.a. tomato salsa) and mayo. Wow. It was like being punched in the face with flavour. Just kidding. But actually, it was so tasty I could have easily eaten mine and Boyfriend’s and then ordered another lot. And then maybe another…
Next up, the clam chowder ($20). Drum roll please.
Clam chowder holds a special place in my heart. I first had it in the States with Boyfriend a couple of years ago and fell in love. We ate it first at Legal Seafoods, which if you are ever in Boston or Washington you absolutely MUST go, then again in various places around the States and finally at Boudin Bakery in San Francisco. Another place you absolutely must go if you are ever in San Fran.
I haven’t had it since, but have been dreaming about it for the past two years.
So as you can imagine, Wharf Rd had a lot to live up to.
It didn’t disappoint. This chowder was light but creamy and so, so delicious. Again, I could have eaten this whole bowl on my own and then requested the chef just bring the soup pot and leave it at my table.
The side of char-grilled bread was also amazing.
After our small share plates came our large share plate.
A big, steaming bowl of mussels ($22). Oh my.
These mussels were cooked (to perfection, as they say) with chilli, tomatoes, garlic and chorizo.
Heaven in a bowl.
(Almost accidentally left off the “n” in “heaven” just now. That’s a completely different meaning, isn’t it? Whoops.)
I’m not a big mussel eater but I could not go past this dish and let me tell you it was as good as I thought it was going to be.
And there was that chargrilled bread again. Yes!
We ordered a side of shaved fennel, pear and Parmesan salad ($12) – a total classic and one of my favourites. Light and fresh and oh-so-delicious.
By now, I’m the happiest girl on the planet. And not just from the champagne we were drinking.
Boyfriend is still a little hungry but we can’t decide on what else to order from the menu. When in doubt, head straight to dessert.
We ordered a vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb and strawberry compote ($12).
It was so good – light and creamy panna cotta, crispy tuile and flavoursome compote. All together, it was incredible.
And there you have it. Who would have thought some of the best food Boyfriend and I have ever eaten would be in Nowra?
If you’re ever in Nowra, or if you live in or near Nowra, I highly recommend you give this place a visit. The staff were so wonderfully friendly, the views (even in the dark) and the setting were gorgeous and the food was absolutely fantastic.
If only it was closer to home…
Would I go again? I wish!