A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published October 18th 2015
Lunching beneath the Woronora Bridge
Picture a shimmering river, peaceful green surrounds, and a landmark bridge that towers over it all. This is what you will find in Woronora, a quiet, hidden treasure of Sydney's south. With a panoramic view capturing it all, it's safe to say a unique scene for dining is set. Feasting on gourmet dishes in the midst of this beautiful region at The Bridge Restaurant was indeed a leisurely Sunday lunch idea.
The venue is an easy 40 minute drive (43 km) from the CBD, with the journey growing more picturesque as you make your way from Sutherland into the serene Woronora valley. If your GPS is anything like ours though, I'd recommend not putting all your faith in it. Taking us on several unnecessary roads only to U-turn, I was beginning to wonder if there is a secret scenic-route setting. Alternatively you can reach it by bus from Sutherland station (965).
The restaurant draws Australian country closer to the city. To me, the large, red timber doors to the kitchen were reminiscent of a barn, in a good way. Features suggestive of a farm warm the atmosphere, fostering a relaxing, inviting ambience. High ceilings and almost floor-to-ceiling windows allow a lot of light in and keep the elevated room from feeling cloistered. A nice touch considering there's no open-air dining.
Not only do the large glass panes keep the restaurant feeling airy, but also spacious and brightly lit. From all around the venue you have beautiful views of the river, bridge, and other features of the lush locale. Rumour is that in the mornings there are many rainbow lorikeets perched along the outer window sill. Having breakfast here is definitely on the bucket-list.
Gourmet food and great views
One thing that really impressed us was the welcoming service. Shortly after being seated, owner & licensee Luke Ellis greeted us. Perhaps he had more time to mingle as we dined at a quieter time. Anyhow, the lovely gesture was taken a step further as he produced something off-menu upon request - changing the creamy sauce that was to accompany the pan-fried prawns to a tomato, basil and chill sauce. Also for the record, everyone who works in the restaurant is a Woronora local.
Pan-friend prawns in chilli sauce accompanied by polenta beds
Good food and the relaxing space here at The Bridge were nice to unwind with. It was the last day of the winter-menu when we visited. Based on what we had I am confident the summer menu will have meals that are just as fresh and delicious. Luke looks forward to now providing lighter, cooler dishes that will hit the spot in scorcher season. Between our selections of entree and main dishes, we saw a nice variety of modern Australian cuisine is produced here.
It was only fitting that we sipped on sparkling wine before the sparkling Woronora river. Food-wise, in addition to the prawns, we got to taste the seafood chowder. The thick soup had prawns, mussels, calamari and more hidden throughout it, and a flavour reminiscent of Lobster Mornay. A grilled sourdough accompanied this. It was a good choice to have this along with a salad from the entree list. My choice was a bowl of fresh greens, pumpkin and feta.
Salt and pepper calamari pieces always entice. They were served just right - fresh, and crispy-skinned. A fresh piece of lemon, aioli sauce and light salad balanced the dish. A tomato-based pasta with olives and other Mediterranean aromas was also enjoyed.
In light of a mood for seafood, Moroccan tuna was chosen. A pleasant blend formed between the crispy-fried tuna steak that was steaming and tender on the inside, the delicately flavoured soup, seasonal vegetables, and cous cous that soaked up the array of flavours.
No room for dessert but we sipped on a nice pot of black tea to conclude our lunch. Next to the peaceful venue sits Prince Edward Park. As discovered, this is ideal to stroll post-feast, to help with full yet content tummies. The stretch of grass paralleling the river is nice to laze around on. Bring your canoe and go for a paddle, have a dip, or meander through the area. Woronora offers not only gourmet food but also a tranquil, natural oasis within Sydney. Perhaps make a day out of your visit.