A night at the Q

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It’s a little off the grid, but really not as far as you think. Where it takes you is to another place, another time, when quarantine meant six weeks in a historic place in Manly that now holds a treasure to discover. Come inside the Q Station and experience the Boilerhouse restaurant.

My wife Amanda and I were greeted at reception by Natalie, the most enthusiastic host I have ever had the pleasure of meeting at a hotel check-in. Friendly and excited for our stay, we were transported to a sense of calm and relaxation for what was to be a memorable visit.

Chauffeured to our room by a mini van, we received a tour of the extensive grounds where the history of the place really starts to sink in. From the 1830s until 1984, migrant ships arriving in Sydney, with suspected contagious diseases stopped inside North Head and off-loaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents.

Thousands of people have passed through the station, each with a story and history to tell. Our room was modern, with rustic charm from its originality, high corrugated ceilings and a beautiful wide, shared wrap around deck with a view right up to the centre of the harbour. It truly is a wonderful setting to immerse yourself in.

We enjoyed a bottle of champagne to celebrate our wedding anniversary and prepared for our night at the Boilerhouse restaurant.

As we walked to the restaurant through the grounds and down the infamous long stairway, we wondered what the executive chef, James Green, would have in store for us. James has designed an incredible sharing menu, a Modern Australian mix of wonderful seafood and signature meat dishes designed to share. James recommends for two people – five to six dishes, while for four to six people, try six to eight dishes, and double up.

We tasted several of the dishes from the new menu consisting of these gems:

•   Spiced Candied Macadamias

•   Szechuan Cured Kingfish / Apple / Horseradish / Yuzu

•   Zucchini Fritters / Vannella Scamorza / Truffle Aioli

•   Wild Fresh Signature Oysters/ Finger Lime / Chardonnay Vinegar

•   Lamb Kofta / Jerusalem Artichoke/ Pistachio / Salsa Verde

•   Grilled Asparagus / Fermented Chilli Butter / Panko

•   Cone Bay Barramundi / Purple Barley / Chorizo / Snow Pea

Our dinner wouldn’t have been complete without a sprinkle of dessert and we couldn’t go past the Chocolate Parfait with peanut, raspberry and salted caramel. And not to forget the Roasted Strawberries with whipped coconut, macadamia and meringue.

The dishes were of such fascinating flavours, and the unique pairings of ingredients give visitors to the Boilerhouse an amazing culinary experience. Combine this with the wonderful setting and timeless history, and you have to place this venue on the ‘To Dine List’.

The outside terrace surrounded in sandstone, looking out across Quarantine Beach and the sun going down in the afternoon is just something special you must experience.

Staying the night only adds to the restaurant experience, knowing you can drink to your heart’s content and stroll back to your warm bed.

Whether it’s a romantic, sneaky night away with the missus or a short scenic ride in from Manly, grab a group of mates for a weekend afternoon session combined with a long lunch or dinner.

The place is absolutely amazing, and with the staff as fabulous as the restaurant itself, it is a little secret spot you must experience.

Make a visit to the Q. •