Berkelouw Book Barn in Berrima has long been a fun place to visit. The primary reason has been to get lost in the huge collection of antiquarian, rare, secondhand and selected new books. And then there was a cafe, serving light cafe food. That was OK, but nothing marvellous. Well all of that has changed following extensive renovations of the property.
The Book Barn has been there since about 1812. In 2009 the Berkelouw family planted vineyards next to the Book Barn. Over the last year or so there has been renovations of the Book Barn, and the surrounding property, including the cottage at the entrance to the property. The Book Barn still retains its charm and character, but has been modified to allow it to be better used as a wedding and event location. The cafe has been extended and completely upgraded to serve food which is more like a brasserie. In the process of these changes, the property is now called Bendooley Estate, and the cafe is The Kitchen.
The drive off the Old Hume Highway onto the property is via an avenue of poplars. And then these poplars below continue past the Book Barn back close to the dam further on back.
At the front of the Book Barn are these lush plane trees, and really green grass. Beautiful greens.
Food at The Kitchen
Tables for The Kitchen are scattered around the front entrance to the Book Barn, and then throughout the Book Barn. It used to be rough rustic, and it still has the charm of the woodwork, but is much more refined.
The lunch menu (the dinner one is similar):
Watching all of the dishes appear in a new cafe / restaurant is always fun, as it was here, to get a feel for how the food all looked. The wood-fired pizzas looked good, with fine pastry, and lots of good toppings. All of the serves looked generous.
My choice was the duck confit with Toulouse sausage, white beans, cavalero nero and pickled grapes:
It was everything I hoped it would be, with the rich duck and sausage flavours, the balance between textures in the beans and duck, and the sourness of the pickled grapes balancing against the rich flavours. I’d have the dish all over again.
My friend ordered the chicken breast and maryland served with fennel and parmesan gratin and thyme jus:
It was good, but not as special as mine!
We got a bit carried away ordering potato side dishes, ordering both the steamed kipflers with sage butter and the hand cut chips with rosemary salt:
Should have ordered one of the salads instead of one of the potato dishes!
The chips were crispy on the outside. Would certainly have those again. They’re served with the burgers and the steak sandwich, both of which looked scrumptious, piled high on the plates.
My choice for dessert was “passionfruit and almond delicious”:
The dish was very much like a buttery friand texture and taste, with a hint of taste from the wood-fired oven, topped with passionfruit. Accompanying that was an ice cream with fresh vanilla. All truly delicious.
More from around the Book Barn
View from inside the Barn:
Several old book-presses are dotted around the Book Barn, along with still plenty of old books:
The upper level which contained some book shelves previously has been removed, exposing the beautiful wood ceiling, opening up the space in the Barn.
There are less bookshelves than previously, but still a good amount of interesting books. Many of the bookshelves are on casters, to allow them to be rolled back and the space opened up for events.
A huge stone fireplace extends along one wall. How wonderful would that be in winter!
Along the back of the Barn a tasteful extension has been added, including some restrooms (the view from the women’s is expansive, looking across the fields), offices, and rooms for bridal parties.
I’ll certainly be back. I used to go for the books, but now there is the added drawcard of good food to which to look forward (with good service). The lush landscaping and the rustic feel of the Barn add to the warmth of the place.
Here are the details about The Kitchen at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.
|Address||Bendooley Estate, 3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima, NSW, 2577|
|Phone||+612 4877 2235|
|Open||Cafe open 7 days from 10.00am
Lunch 7 days from 11.00am until 3.00pm (2pm on Saturdays)
Dinner Friday & Saturday from 6.00pm
Reservations are essential
This map is not accurate: Bendooley Estate is about 1km down the hill from here, north-east.
Have you revisited a place lately which turned out to be way better than it used to be? Where?