Review: The Boatbuilders Yard, South Wharf

Nowadays when I catch up with my girlfriends in Melbourne, the first requirement I have of a lunch venue is whether or not it’s child-friendly. With one toddler and one infant now a part of our regular catch-ups (I can’t believe my friends are having babies!), room to maneuver a pram in-between tables is as important a requirement as good food.

Luckily, the Boatbuilder’s Yard in South Wharf delivers on both counts – big open alfresco dining areas that are pram-friendly, and an ambitious menu that’s a bit more challenging than your usual brunch fare.

Smashed avocado with lemon, mint, coriander, goats feta, chilli on multigrain, with mushrooms on the side, $19.50
Smashed avocado with lemon, mint, coriander, goats feta, chilli on multigrain, with mushrooms on the side, $16 + $3.50

My friend Beth never goes past avocado on toast, and the Boatbuilders Yard are certainly not stingy with their servings! It comes topped with goats feta cheese which gets a nod of approval from Beth. With a side order of mushrooms for a bit of protein ($3.50 for a serve), this meets all the requirements of a healthy, herbed, hearty breakfast to start the day off right.

Grilled house-made cornbread with maple bacon jam, watercress salad and poached egg, $16.50
Grilled house-made cornbread with maple bacon jam, watercress salad and poached egg, $16.50

Esther ordered the cornbread which I had originally considered. It’s an interesting dish, and not all the elements gel together. The highlight is probably the maple bacon jam, which is oh my god mind-blowing.

Ricotta and goji buckwheat hotcakes with organic quark, pure maple syrup, blackberries, chia, $16.50
Ricotta and goji buckwheat hotcakes with organic quark, pure maple syrup, blackberries, chia, $16.50

I was dying for a naughty treat (I had gotten up at 5am that morning for the flight down to Melbourne!), so ordered hotcakes to help fulfil my “bad food” craving. Luckily for me and my waistline though, these were healthy hotcakes made of ricotta, goji berries and buckwheat. Topped with quark (similar to a cream cheese), blackberries and chia seeds, this was a virtuous breakfast dressed up as something a bit more sinful. While the buckwheat mix resulted in a hotcake texture that I wasn’t quite familiar or comfortable with, all the elements on the plate worked really well together. Pure heaven in a single mouthful.

Potato and parsnip latkes, $2.50
Potato and parsnip latkes, $2.50

Having missed my opportunity to grab a McDonald’s hash brown at the airport as I had to run to my gate to make the flight, I settled for a side order of potato and parsnip latkes to fulfil my need for fried potatoes. These were incredibly fluffy, and surprisingly light for the amount of frying involved. Very more-ish, and quite a large serving as well – best shared between three people!

Summer Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, whipped ricotta salata, herbs and vincotto with poached egg, $16
Summer Bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, whipped ricotta salata, herbs and vincotto with poached egg, $16

My friend Katy showed up a little bit later with her newborn Selena and ordered this beautiful plated Summer Bruschetta with wonderfully coloured heirloom tomatoes scattered around the plate. It became even more beautiful when she sliced into the perfectly poached egg, and the yolk came oozing out over the bruschetta!

We finished off our meal with a few desserts from their dessert cabinet…and in actual fact, we actually got two serves, as the waiter accidentally brought out the desserts twice! He was going to take the second lot back until we said to him, “You know, if you just leave those here, no one will ever know we got a double serve of dessert.” He deliberated for a half-second before placing them on our table with a wink. High five to that waiter!

The Boatbuilder’s Wharf is a great location for a casual brunch with friends in the city, especially if you have little ones in tow. The menu puts a twist on the usual brunch options, and executes well without unnecessary fanfare. Prices are reasonable, and service is friendly and generous with an extra serve of dessert! It does seem like a location that may possibly get a little rowdier later in the afternoon and night, so don’t take your kids along then. My girlfriends and I will be back for brunch though!

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