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The Boat House: A new look for an old favourite

Belinda Neame

It occupies arguably the best real estate in Canberra – a secluded lakefront location with uninterrupted views across the water to Kingston Foreshore.

And now, the interiors of The Boat House are every bit as impressive as its exterior.

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Opened in April 1993 by Dennis and Merilyn Souter, The Boat House is one of Canberra’s only absolute waterfront properties. Owned and operated by the family for over 20 years, it’ gained a reputation as a place to go for that ‘special occasion’: weddings, intimate dinners, corporate events and celebrations.

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Since taking the reins five years ago, son James — and Executive Chef John Leverink — have evolved the product, consistently raising the bar on fresh, stylish food, but the building itself was in need of some TLC. Cue a winter refurbishment to modernise the space without compromising on key features.

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“We wanted to refresh the building without losing what makes it so special. We had to keep that intimate feel,” says James.

“Working closely with Aaron Copeland of Capezio Copeland and Capcorp, allowed us to come up with a design that retained the buildings key features. The hand-built stonewall in the foyer, the open fire, and the floor to ceiling windows, all remain a big part of the fit out.”

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And the finished product? Well it really is something special. Transformed from its dated peachy-green palette, the exterior now boasts a dark grey palette with natural timbers creating a warm, edgy feel. A towering COR-TEN (rusted steel) front door gives the entrance a dramatic, ‘wow’ factor and the new wraparound deck allows guests to make the most of the stunning water’s edge location by embracing the private leafy gardens.

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This contemporary reimagining of the space is now in step with a menu that is constantly challenging diners, exploring new flavour combinations, textures and culinary innovations. It’s a modern approach to dining, carefully delivered with old-school service.

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Despite having an award-winning restaurant, The Boat House is perhaps best known for its weddings, named Canberra’s ‘Best Wedding Venue’ for two years running. James believes it’s because the perfectionist team know what’s really important for a great celebration.

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“A perfect day is made up of all the elements of a wedding, not just one. It’s a combination of the look and feel of the space, the atmosphere that’s created through warm, attentive service, and of course delicious food and beverages. Plus a great view never hurts!” says James.

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If you haven’t been to dinner at The Boat House in a while, or are looking for a unique place for your event, take another look. We guarantee you’ll like what you see.

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The Boat House is available for weddings and celebrations of all types, with options to book a room or the whole venue depending on your event needs.

the essentials 

What:           The Boat House
Where:         Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive, Canberra
Open:           Dinner Monday-Saturday. Weddings and private events, seven days.
Web:            theboathouse.restaurant

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author

  • Anjali Raj

    Absolutely love the Boat House – got married there and everything was perfect. James and his team are so lovely – they had amazing attention to detail and looked after our guests extremely well. Loving the renovation – can’t wait to go back

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