If you drive south from Sydney towards the Southern Highlands (about 90 mins), you’ll come across a charming little town called Berrima. In this town you’ll find Bendooley Bar and Grill which resides in Berkelouw Book Barn on the Bendooley Estate.
I chose this spot for a book club meeting lunch (I’m a part of a wonderful book club of thirteen ladies called The Chapter Book Club). I thought it was most appropriate as it shares home with the Berkelouw Book Barn.
We were all thrilled as soon as we arrived – a long sweeping driveway taking you through the Bendooley Estate, a cosy barn setting with warm fireplaces both inside and out (essential for winter days), high ceilings with exposed beams, shelves and shelves of books, and long tables to share good conversation and food.
We dined outside for lunch directly in front of a wood-fire that keep us all comfortable. The sun was out which helped and they also provided gas heaters which come in handy once the sun hid behind the barn.
Staff were friendly and efficient catering to all our needs and wants.
Now to the food; I shared four dishes with four others:-
* Margarita with heirloom baby tomatoes, fresh basil, bufalina cheese and local olive oil – $22
The woodfire pizza base was perfectly thin and tasty with minimal toppings – just the way I like it. We all agreed that it was a winner.
* Seared Tasmanian ocean trout with saffron and pea risotto, lemon olive oil, radish and chive – $32
We all felt that the ocean trout was cooked just over and that the saffron and pea risotto was a little bland and not a dente – risotto traditional should have a little bit of a bite to it!
* The Bendooley burger with 200g ground prime beef, tomato relish, beetroot, mustard, pickle, cheddar, aioli and hand cut chips – $24
The burger patty was juicy and flavoursome as were all the additional condiments. We fought over the hand cut chips – delish.
* Tagliatelle with picked snow crab, chilli, garlic, lemon and gremolata – $28
It was a shame that we received this dish served just warm. The flavours were there especially with the hint of chilli and lemon. The pasta was thankfully al dente.
A few of the ladies opted for dessert – I myself couldn’t fit another thing. I watched though (yes I can still eat with my eyes) and was told that they were divine, especially the Espresso Belgian chocolate pots de crème with vanilla ice cream and amaretti at $14 and Salted caramel sundae with honeycomb crumble, dark chocolate and biscotti at $12.
You can spend hours here; first meandering through the rows and rows of books, and afterward for lunch – dining and sipping a vino or two. It gets busy on the weekend so make sure to book ahead and enjoy the ambiance.
Bendooley Bar & Grill
3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima
(02) 4877 2235