Archives For Palm Beach

Bistro Rivage, Palm Beach

February 12, 2013 — 4 Comments

By now I’m sure you know that I love French food. Recently at the OpenAir Cinema while waiting in the queue we got chatting to the people next to us in the queue. It turns out that that day they had gone to Palm Beach to Bistro Rivage for breakfast (a specially catered event), and I had gone to Palm Beach, to The Boat House. It’s funny that I have driven right past Bistro Rivage many times, on the bend just before the Palm Beach Golf Club / the park leading up to Barrenjoey. And so I just had to get to Bistro Rivage to see what it was like. How close was it to a French bistro? Was it just a restaurant with French-style food, but not really close to being a French bistro?

Bistro Rivage - outside 2

If you know Palm Beach, I’m sure you recognize this. About 5 months ago Bistro Rivage took over the premises from another restaurant.

Bistro Rivage - outside 1

I didn’t get to the previous restaurant, but I suspect the decor remains as it was.

Bistro Rivage - room

The Food

The meal had to begin with some kir royal. Also served were some baguette slices which were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Bistro Rivage - table

The menu is traditional bistro fare, well balanced to be sure to provide something to suit all palates and levels of hunger.

Today I wanted to sample all three courses, so for Entrée chose the Tranche de Saumon avec Haricot Verts (salmon slice with green beans and sauce tartare).

Bistro Rivage - salmon

The salmon was so light and tender, melting in the mouth, served with a dill-based tartare. Lovely.

The Bistro Rivage mains includes classics Duck Confit and Steak Frites, plus others such as an organic chicken salad in light provencale spices.

Normally if there’s duck on the menu I’ll choose that, but the special dish today was coq au vin. I’ve cooked that and wondered how it would compare.

Bistro Rivage - Coq au Vin

The duck was served as a plate with 4 kipfler potatoes and then with a crock full of the chicken mixture. I spooned some of the chicken and mushrooms and eschallots onto the plate with the potatoes. The dish was as rich-flavoured and luscious as I was hoping. The serve was so generous that I could eat only half.

Now, what to choose for dessert? The tarte tatin was recommended, and I decided to go with that.

Bistro Rivage - tarte tatin

The tarte tatin, accompanied with a vanilla ice cream, was one of the best I’ve eaten in a long time. The apple melted in your mouth, and was wonderfully caramelized. I hesitate to use superlatives because they can set unrealistic expectations, so I’ll just say this: it was very good.

Bistro Rivage - dessert

A suggestion was made to try the RinQuinQuin peach liqueur with the dessert. And I’m so glad I did try it with the dessert and coffee. Sometimes liqueurs and dessert wines can be too sweet, but this was light and a perfect accompaniment to the tarte tatin. Apparently the RinQuinQuin is made by combining white wine with infusions and distillations of peaches and peach leaves, for six months to a year.

The coffee, too, was just what I wanted: good strength long black coffee, strong but not bitter.


Based on one visit only, Bistro Rivage provides traditional French bistro meals, with excellent service. Admittedly it was a quiet day, and so all patrons received plenty of attention. I overheard some people at another table commenting that it was the best meal they’d had in a long time, and these were people who had travelled over the years and knew what to expect in a French meal. I’d agree with them. Now I’d like to return and see what it’s like on a busier day, and to try more items on the menu, with every dish sounding tempting.

Cafe Lyon in Lindfield has bistro-styled food, modernised, also very good. At Bistro Rivage it’s more traditional bistro food.

I hope Bistro Rivage does well. It provides another option for good food on the Pittwater Peninsula, and worth travelling to for some scrumptious French food.


Here are the details about Bistro Rivage at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site
Address 1 Beach Road, Palm Beach, NSW, 2108
Phone +612 9974 1159
Open Friday-Monday: lunch and dinner
Live music Sundays 1-4pm
Menu Entrées: $18.50
Plats: $29.50
Desserts: $14.00
For the details, see the menu.
Bistro Rivage on Urbanspoon

Have you discovered any good French bistros / restaurants lately? Where?

Finally we had a sunny day after lots of rain, so we had to get out in the sun, along with half of Sydney. We headed north to Palm Beach, to soak up the sun and the views. I’d long wanted to visit The Boat House, on the Pittwater side of Palm Beach, so it seemed a good day to do that.

On our way in to the cafe, our eyes boggled with the mass of flowers and decorator items on display, all superb quality.

The Boat House - Entry

With it being such a gorgeous day, the line for ordering was long, but we managed to find a table to sit, and just look around the cafe while we waited for lunch to arrive (which was surprisingly quick).

Every element of the cafe has been thoughtfully styled, with a casual but luxurious feel. The masses of flowers around, for sale, add to the atmosphere, along with the mix of tables with different textures, the combination of styles of chairs. All of the food we saw go by was well styled too, looking appetising.

And then there’s the superb view along Pittwater, with the water sparkling in the sun.

Our meals soon arrived. My friend ordered the chicken burger, which had been marinated, served with avocado, tomato, and tzatziki, and thick-cut fries.

We shared some crab cakes first, which were served with aioli. They were very light, fluffy, tasty.

And then I had to try the beer-battered fish (flathead) and chips, claimed to be the best on the northern beaches, and that just may well be true. The fish was firm but tender, almost sweet, with the batter perfect. The fries were almost crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. And, it was served with a very good home-made tartare sauce.

Other items on the menu which looked particularly good included a bucket of tiger prawns served with a home-made seafood sauce, or a dish with mussels, or a seafood platter (pacific oysters, kingfish sashimi, fresh tiger prawns, smoked trout and marinated olives), or burger which was huge, held together with a bamboo skewer (served with bacon, mixed lettuce, fresh tomato, caramelised onion, beetroot tapenade and tasty cheese). But everything looked good.

A good day to be outdoors.

The Boat House is suspended out over the Beach.

From here you can also catch a sea plane for scenic flights, or to restaurants, or over to Rose Bay.

I’ll certainly be back. Good, basic food, excellently prepared, in a stunning setting, in a place with relaxed style.

I’d like to try breakfast there some day. The menu includes some interesting options such as green eggs and ham (poached eggs, leg ham, heirloom tomatoes on thick cut crusty sourdough topped with basil pesto), smoked salmon eggs (poached eggs, spinach wrapped in smoked salmon, topped with goats cheese and balsamic glaze on soy and linseed sourdough) and boathouse baked beans (housemade baked beans, grilled, smashed chat potato, poached egg and gremolata sauce). Sounds good.


Here are the details about The Boat House at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site
Address Barrenjoey Boathouse, Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach NSW 2108
Phone (02) 9974 3868
Open Open Daily 7.30am – 4pm
Breakfast 7:30am – 12 noon
Lunch 12 noon – 3pm
No Reservations taken, Seating available indoor & out
Licensed + BYO (wine only)
Menu Breakfast: $9-19 on average
Lunch: $20-30 on average
The Boat House on Urbanspoon

Where do you like to to eat on a sunny day, to enjoy the view?