Edible Review: The Gunyah Restaurant at Paperbark Camp – Jervis Bay

February 24, 2007

One of my favourite parts of going away, is finding new and unusual places to eat. The NSW South Coast seemed to have heap of good restaurants, especially at the nearby winelands. After a little bit of searching, I came across the Paperbark Camp which featured suites in treehouses and a restaurant called Gunyah, which had got good reviews across the board. This was it!

Paperbark Camp is just outside Huskisson, about a 10 minute drive from Vincentia. We drove into the driveway and it really reminded me of a safari camp in South Africa. Climbing out the car, I inhaled the earthy smell of woodlands and admired the starglazed sky. This was a little piece of Africa in Australia – I loved in already.

Cheeky PossumGunyah is situated in a large wooden treehouse structure with stilts serving as foundations. You can sit on the verandah under the awning or as we did, just inside but close enough to be in cuddling distance with the family of possums sneaking along the balcony. They really are cute but naughty creatures and during the night they kept us amused with their food-stealing antics (the kids especially loved them). The staff shooed them away but in the playful way that you’d tell your pet dog to get off the kitchen table.

The decor was very African-chic with a large vase of proteas adding to the Afro-feel. The tables were white tableclothed with silver cutlery and the waitrons were attentive and professional (except for the end when our waitress obviously went off on her shift).

But the highlight was the food – absolutely yummy – possibly the best dinner I have had in Australia so far. The chef is an ex-surfer dude known as Gary Fishwick and obviously those years in saltwater did something right for his culinary skilled. This beach bum turned kitchen artiste is talented.

The menu changes regularly and you there are about five choices for starters, main and dessert. You choose one from each category at a cost of a very reasonable $60 per person.

The delicious Kangaroo filletFor starters, I had the seared kangaroo fillet with bush tomato chutney, rocket on a silky polenta base. Absolutely scrumptious. The kangaroo (which takes very similar to ostrich but slightly more gamey) was cooked to perfection and the combo of flavours was magic.

Ben enjoyed his stuffed zucchini flowers too.

For main, I had a superb chicken dish (I can’t really remember what it was) but I do recall that Ben had the speciality of fish wrapped in paperbark, which was juicy and so tasty. By the way, the paperbark trees (after which the camp is named) surround the restaurant and really do look as if the bark is peeling like paper.

Choc dessert at GunyahThen desert was this decdent chocolate cake with home made ice-cream. Ben had a more-ish passion fruit creme brulee.

We ambled very satisfied out of the restaurant. I will definitely be back – maybe next time I’ll try out the tree house suites.