After reading a Good Living review of the place and stalking the menu online, I was very keen to head to Wharf Rd. Being a frequent visitor to the Shoalhaven and knowing the location of the restaurant, I thought a meal here would have the potential to be special. And it was.
We turned up a little early so as to have a sundowner, with the gorgeous fading light over the river like an aperitif for the degustation booked to come. The fitout of this converted boathouse is just lovely - minimal and nautical, natural, light wood tones and licks of white paint keep things airy and bright, and draw focus to the gorgeous waterside location.
While i've gone off degustation dinners over the past couple of years, the breadth and quality of produce on the menu, combined with the sheer value (9 courses for a tiny $80! or 5 courses for a measly $50) meant my fiancee and I were strapping in for the journey. If you're adventurous with food, then I'd recommend putting yourself in the hands of the kitchen. You won't be disappointed.
The pacing of the meal was excellent, as was the inventive plating (ceviche on a rock salt platter - yes please!), and the food frequently exceptional. The service was warm and measured and even though the friday night threatened to get very busy, staff kept up with the smiles and did not visibly fluster.
As with any degustation, the sheer variety of foods offered mean some will stand above others (sometimes this is due to personal taste, or it can be a dish that just misses its mark). And while I can't recall every dish, there were some tasty tacos brought along near the beginning, that beautiful ceviche, and towards the end (unfortunately just as we were getting very full) a divine roast lamb with quinoa (also served in a very large portion).
After a meal, nay, a journey with such a quality penultimate dish, the final course of lemon tart with cream was almost pedestrian by comparison. Still though, a welcome conclusion, and made (as with everything else that evening) with quality produce. I also had a beautiful aged bottle of wine there that took me by surprise and was worth every penny.
I can see why people might review this restaurant as coming up short, but I feel that can often be due to one's expectations. If Wharf Rd was in Sydney I think my expectations would be higher. I may be adding a little to the scores here because of the fact this restaurant is doing this in Nowra (where such quality, produce-driven food has been sorely needed, in my opinion), but I think some reviewers come in with (given the price and type of food compared to what else is found locally) inflated expectations that can't be met.
I certainly did not expect to be wowed in the way I was. If you can keep an even keel on expectations then get to Wharf Rd and let them look after you. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.