One of the central coast’s best-kept secrets will probably not remain so for much longer. The Box on the Water at Ettalong Beach, about 80-kilometres north of Sydney, has been serving locals (and in-the-know out-of-towners) modern Australian cuisine for a couple of years now. It’s quite literally a long, narrow glass box that sits on the waterfront, with photo-ready views past bobbing fishing boats, across Broken Bay to Lion Island and beyond.
Now it’s combining those incredible views with food from some of Australia’s most well-regarded chefs, in a series of twice-monthly dinners. The series started in October last year with Sean Connolly (Sean’s Kitchen, The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room) and in November Justin North (Mister Percy, Bécasse) popping in to cook.
“The idea for The Box on the Water’s Master Series was born from a need for inspiration, education and entertainment,” Monique Keogh, The Box on the Water’s co-owner told Broadsheet. “We were looking for ways to lift the profile of our restaurant, our beautiful area and to give our staff the opportunity to obtain some skills from of Australia’s best chefs while providing some great food for our local foodies.”
Keogh says the chefs are designing menus specifically for The Box and its customers, and according to local produce.
The third chef getting behind the pass in the greenery-filled box is Martin Boetz, who trained under Thai master David Thompson at the now-defunct, still-whispered-about Darley Street Thai (Thompson is now at Long Chim). He took that knowledge with him when he opened Longrain in Surry Hills and Melbourne. More recently Boetz has been running the Cooks Co-op on the Hawkesbury River, a farm that supplies produce to chefs and will soon have an accompanying restaurant.
He’s taking to The Box’s kitchen this Friday March 1 and Saturday March 2 to cook up a four-course Thai-inspired feast for punters.
In March, Italian food pioneer Stefano Manfredi (formerly of Osteria di Balla, Manfredi at Bells and Restaurant Manfredi) will be cooking his regional Italian favourites, while chef and cookbook author Christine Manfield (ex-Paramount and Universal) will be channelling her travels through the subcontinent for a taste of India.
Come May, Troy Rhoades-Brown, the chef and owner of fine-dining Hunter Valley restaurant Muse will be bringing his well-regarded dishes from the vineyards to the beach.
“Martin Boetz is bringing up a lot of produce from his farm and local market from the close-by Hawkesbury River,” says Keogh. “Stefano Manfredi will be teaching our staff to make his signature ‘Roman Pizza’ … Christine Manfield is going to share some of her spice secrets with the coasties.
“We feel very privileged to share our kitchen with these masters and [hope] they will pass some of their knowledge and skills on to our staff.”
The next Masters Series dinner is on Friday March 1 and Saturday March 2, with Martin Boetz. Stefano Manfredi’s Regional Italian dinner is on Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30; Christine Manfield’s Taste of India is on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27; and Troy Rhoades-Brown’s Farm to Plate – Hunter Valley to Ettalong Beach is on May 19. Tickets are $85 per person; wine pairings is $40.
Mon & Thu 12pm–3pm, 6pm–9pm
Tue & Wed 12pm–3pm
Sat 8am–11am, 12pm–9pm