The Kitchen, Bendooley Estate, Berrima (aka Berkelouw Book Barn)

February 15, 2013 — 6 Comments

Update: The Kitchen is now called Bendooley Bar & Grill. I have left the name “The Kitchen” in this article, because that’s what it was when I visited.

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.

Berkelouw Kitchen - book barn

At the front of the Book Barn are these lush plane trees, and really green grass.  Beautiful greens.

Berkolouw Kitchen - trees

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.

Berkelouw Kitchen - tables

The lunch menu (the dinner one is similar):

Berkelouw Kitchen - menu

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:

Berkelouw Kitchen - duck

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:

Berkelouw Kitchen - chicken

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:

Berkelouw Kitchen - potatoes

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”:

Berkelouw Kitchen - passionfruit

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.

Berkelouw Kitchen - cafe

More from around the Book Barn

View from inside the Barn:

Berkelouw Kitchen - window view

Several old book-presses are dotted around the Book Barn, along with still plenty of old books:

Berkolouw Kitchen - views

The upper level which contained some book shelves previously has been removed, exposing the beautiful wood ceiling, opening up the space in the Barn.

Berkelouw Kitchen - inside

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!

Berkelouw Kitchen - fireplace

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.


The Kitchen is now called Bendooley Bar & Grill.

Here are the details about The Bendooley Bar & Grill, correct at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site
Address Bendooley Estate, 3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima, NSW, 2577
Phone +612 4877 2235
Open Open 7 days from 10.00am
Lunch Monday – Friday 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Lunch Saturday & Sunday 11:30 to 3:00pm
The Kitchen, Bendooley Estate on Urbanspoon

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?

6 responses to The Kitchen, Bendooley Estate, Berrima (aka Berkelouw Book Barn)


    I have a Berkelouw bookstore up the road form me in Newtown but it has a noodle bar downstairs and a lovely cafe upstairs. It’s such a lovely concept to mix book and food in a beautiful building.

    The one you’ve shown here is gorgeous! The duck confit really takes my fancy as it has the makings of cassoulet, one of my favourite French dishes.


      Berkelouw’s seem to manage the combination of good books and food quite well. I’ve heard good things about the cafe in their Bowral outlet store, too. It’s on my list of places to try sometime 🙂 Haven’t been to the Newtown one, so I guess that goes on the list, too! Yes, the duck confit dish was basically a cassoulet. I’d have it all over again, with the rich flavours. Have a great weekend, John!


    Visited The kitchen to day at Berrima for lunch it was fabulous I often go to Berkelow books in Oxford St , it has a bar and cafe upstairs and is very good

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