UTS Haberfield Rowing Club restaurant

200 Dobroyd Parade (City West Link), Haberfield, New South Wales

The water views are the main attraction.
Room with a view: The revamped UTS Haberfield Rowing Club has incredible water views. Photo: James Alcock

Megan Johnston

If you've got it, flaunt it, or so the saying goes, and in the case of the restaurant at the new UTS Haberfield Rowing Club, "it" is unmistakably the water views. From any angle, there's no missing the silver ripples of Iron Cove, dotted with gleaming yachts, sea birds and rowboats.

Unlike a conventional club, there's little to distract from the main attraction – no hyper-busy carpet, no infernal ka-ching of pokies and no televisions glaring from every angle.

It's just you and the view, framed by massive expanses of glass – or, if you nab a spot on the huge outdoor deck, nothing at all.

The mushroom and haloumi stack.
The mushroom and haloumi stack. Photo: James Alcock

In fact, the interior hardly resembles your typical club in any way; we're greeted by shiny floorboards, big black tables and acres of space. Tasteful touches such as oar-shaped fans and a rowboat strung from the ceiling allude to the rowing area downstairs.

It's all part of a sleek $8 million redevelopment of the venue, which is owned and operated by the ActivateUTS union at the University of Technology, Sydney. It opened in April after more than 12 months of work. The site is perched on the southern end of the bay along the City West Link and includes a small kiosk downstairs.

Fog shrouds the bay on the morning of our visit, giving it a grand appearance that lures our fellow diners onto the huge outdoor deck despite the cold. Fortunately most are still rugged up in beanies and jackets from their morning walk on the Bay Run – and within moments of arriving a heater is delivered by one of the attentive waiters.

Hearty fare: UTS Haberfield Rowing Club's banana and buttermilk pancakes.
The banana and buttermilk pancakes. Photo: James Alcock

A round of coffees are an improvement on our first visit a few weeks before: a short black is dark and strong with good crema and a bitter edge while a velvety flat white with a pretty rosetta delivers equal punch with chocolatey finish.

Head chef Shane Rider (formerly of the Imperial Hotel) is behind the new weekend-only breakfast menu, introduced in recent weeks. It's a thoughtful, compact list with a focus on simple flavours that's a step up from the original lengthier menu that was on offer earlier in the year.

The pan-fried haloumi with roasted mushrooms arrive quickly. Piled within a glistening arrangement of asparagus and rocket leaves, the golden haloumi delivers a great salty hit while the flesh of the mushrooms has that proper meaty taste rather than drowning in butter as they often do elsewhere.

A more substantial option is the English muffin, which comes dressed with poached eggs and shavings of soft serrano ham with leaves of wilted baby spinach. The eggs yield deliciously under the knife and, while it may not be the most delicate way to start the day, there's a messy pleasure in mopping up dollops of rich hollandaise and tangy tomato relish with forkfuls of toasty muffin.

Just as hearty is the pancake stack, two fat, fluffy discs topped with a generous splodge of caramel cream and passionfruit coulis. The rich buttermilk flavour and chunks of fresh banana in the batter win fans of all ages at our table but a few other options for youngsters wouldn't hurt.

A second batch of coffees lacks the depth of our earlier brews but we're revving to get going anyway. The fog breaks to reveal the full length of the Bay Run bustling with walkers and joggers. After all that lazy grazing while admiring the view, we can only join them.

THE LOW-DOWN
THE PICKS Banana and buttermilk pancakes; pan-fried haloumi with roasted mushrooms and asparagus
THE COFFEE Classico from Espresso di Manfredi
THE LOOK Sleek and polished
THE SERVICE Uniformed, efficient and attentive

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200 Dobroyd Parade (City West Link), Haberfield, New South Wales

  • Cuisine - Modern Australian
  • Prices - Good. Breakfast $6-19
  • Features - Views, Wheelchair access, Outdoor seating, Family friendly, Bar, Licensed, Accepts bookings
  • Chef(s) - Shane Rider
  • Owners - ActivateUTS union (University of Technology, Sydney)
  • Opening Hours - Daily, 12-2.30pm, 5.30-8.30pm; Sat-Sun, 7-10.30am
  • Author - Megan Johnston
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2 comments so far

  • This is one of the great NSW anomalies. Licensed clubs are in locations that normal restaurants can only dream about. All clubs are at the moment being looked at with future money making functions being their primary use. The smart money has already taken over a number and this rowing club ticks all the boxes ie location

    Commenter
    De Jong
    Location
    Date and time
    August 17, 2014, 5:22PM
  • The view may be still the same but the food, on the other hand definitely has. Other than the view, I really cant understand why people are flocking here. After it had re-opened, I rang to make a booking, as we did with the previous restaurant. The phone rang and rang until it rang out, twice, eventually someone answered, was told they don't take bookings, its just first in best dressed. So we arrived the following Sunday night, only to find a note on the bottom door, "sorry we had to close unexpectedly" so when we went upstairs and enquired, we were told they had run out of food!!!! So left it a few weeks and tried again, arrived at about 5.30pm, it was jam packed with people, so noisy you could not hear yourself think. The acoustics with the board floors and empty space are deafening. The tables were full, but managed to share with someone else. Cheap plastic tables and chairs were all that was on offer inside. We looked at the menu and were completely stunned with the appauling selection on offer and even more stunned at the prices!! Other than plates of chips and kids mini burgers, the prices were $35 and up, we noticed they were really only selling the chips and mini burgers as it was full of children. No table service, order at the bar, and stand in a huge queue waiting, and then wait forever for your meal. Not my idea of a fabulous restaurant. What were they thinking, what yuppie upstart was left in charge of organising the restaurant!! They should have had the old restaurant owners back, heaps better food at totally more affordable prices. We won't be back.........

    Commenter
    straightup
    Location
    Date and time
    August 23, 2014, 12:57AM

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