Tucked away at the end of Cabarita Park and perched on the Parramatta River foreshore at d'Albora Marina, is Vela Dining and Bar. An airy little eatery with views of passing ferries and luxury cruisers, this restaurant is accessible by ferry (alight at Cabarita and walk down), or metered parking is available but weekends are pretty busy.
I was expecting something more formal but found it a semi-casual kind of place with slightly disorganised service, but, if you aren't in a hurry, don't worry and just chill with the views. My partner is in hospitality and lacks patience for such things but a water view and a wine makes everything okay for me. Except, the waitress forgot my wine.
We promptly ordered the Freshly baked bread basket with grissini, marinated green olives, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic ($12.50) and requested the addition of butter so my starving son could have some bread and butter to keep him quiet until we ordered some food. After 20 minutes and no bread, I asked if I could change it to their interesting sounding Rosemary and Parmesan Polenta Chips with Dolce Gorgonzola Sauce ($12.50) and just get some bread and butter quickly for my son, but was told it was too late to change my bread order. It's just bread, but anyway, it arrived about 5 mins later. Without the butter.
For entrée, I ordered the Octopus Carpaccio, served with shaved fennel, arugula and lemon basil dressing ($19.90). It was really nice but more of a salad than a carpaccio. If you are after a light salad-y lunch, this would be perfect with a crusty bread roll and a glass of wine. The taste of the octopus got a bit lost amongst the salad but I really enjoyed it anyway.
For mains, my partner chose the Kilcoy Grain Fed Eye Fillet with Truffle Paris mash, braised eschalots, sauteed wild mushrooms, sous vide Dutch carrots and red wine jus ($43.90) and I had the fish special, which I think was around $38, and it was really nice. You can view the entire menu here.
The children's menu has all the usual suspects with Spag Bol, Fish and chips, chicken and chips etc all around the $12 dollar mark, you can view it in full here. I am not a dessert person but my son chose the chocolate brownie which came with home made ice cream. It too took a while and as my partner was cancelling the order, it arrived. The homemade ice cream was a highlight. Really good.
TIP: I would suggest paying for a min of 3 hours parking if you want to enjoy a lazy lunch without having to go back to add more parking time. Perhaps our delays and miscommunications were due to it being busy and new staff in training.
The venue and location are great and very popular for functions. There is a small outdoor area called the Vela Bar with its own menu, a heritage listed kiosk calledSanders to the right (also part of Vela Dining and Bar), plus there is a park and a beach for the kids to have a play afterwards. You can read more about Cabarita Park here, check out the opening hours here or for further information, please visit the website.