• Tony Bosworth and Sandra Kelly

Schembrae’s restaurant adds real flavour – the story and review of Kurrajong’s newest eaterie

Windsor is rocking, Bilpin is bursting at the seams and now Kurrajong is seeing a welcome new addition to the local dining experience too, thanks to Schembrae’s restaurant.

Opened just a couple of weeks ago, the venue with spectacular views and just as spectacular food is proving popular with both locals and those visiting the Hawkesbury and Kurrajong areas, as well as travellers passing through.

Owners Ruth and Brian Schembri are no strangers to hospitality – they also own the well-known Blueberry Hills on Comleroy just outside Kurrajong. In 2019 their fine work there was recognised when they won a Gold Medal at the Regional Tourism Awards, just one of a number of awards since they opened there four years ago.

From thinking about the idea and actually opening Schembrae’s was something of a helter-skelter ride, says Ruth.

“We got the keys on November 22 and then Christmas slowed us down a bit but we opened this month, and only six weeks before we got the keys we had the idea, so it’s been quick.

“We were looking at expanding the B&B and we were looking for a property for that, but then this one popped up and we had a change of heart and thought it’s still in hospitality, and here we are.”

Brian and Ruth are great supporters of other local businesses and attractions and have a wealth of information at Schembrae's for visitors

Ruth wanted to offer seven day a week dining because Kurrajong has a decent number of cafes and restaurants, yet none do lunch and dinner seven days.

And while you can get a three-course meal at Schembrae’s, Ruth also wanted to offer an alternative, so a good part of the menu features plates of food – mostly Mediterranean in style but featuring as much local produce as possible. there are also plate share options, so something to suit all diners.

It’s a recipe which is working well, with people popping in for a drink and a plate or two, which often leads to three or four plates, such is the relaxing atmosphere.

Family business - Brian, Ruth, daughter Emily and son Jake, all work at the restaurant

The restaurant is also very much a family affair, with son Jake on the front bar and helping serve food, and daughter Emily playing her part too assisting with the management of the restaurant and also working behind the scenes to make sure it's all running smoothly. Both cut their teeth working at Blueberry, learning the ropes, and it’s served them well as they confidently work at Schembrae’s.

“What we’ve found, “Ruth told the Post, “is in most cases people will do the plate share option we offer. We don’t restrict people, they can choose to have three courses if they want, or choose the plates, and sometimes they do that as an entre and go onto a main course. Others choose our share plates. We are very flexible, and it’s working well.”

Dining Review with Sandra Kelly

One of our regular readers – Sandra Kelly – happened to be going to Schembrae’s on Saturday, so we asked her if she would write a review on her experience, and she kindly agreed – here it is….

“Schembrae’s has a very different look to when it was known as Seasons. The decor is fresh, clean and minimal, and with the new floor-to-ceiling windows relies more on the stunning view for an impact - a good move in my opinion.

Amazing views from the light-kissed dining room

“The atmosphere is cozy and intimate with tables being far enough away to ensure privacy for conversation. The service is impeccable - our waiter, Jake friendly and attentive without being intrusive. 

“Schembrae’s menu is minimal and moderately priced, and personally, I think it is better to do a few things well - especially when just starting out.

“There is a choice of meat, chicken, salmon and a couple of vegetarian options, so everyone is kept happy. Being of an age and quickly full, we did not have dessert but we were more than happy with the selection of wine.

Chilli prawns in a garlic tomato sauce - pic Sandra Kelly

“For starters, my companion and I ordered the large sized chilli prawns in a garlic, tomato sauce. This was the perfect size for sharing. The prawns were very fresh and had a tangy, smoky flavour, offering just a hint of heat. This was served with homemade bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

“My friend had the crispy seared salmon for mains which came with sweet potato fries and a cos, fennel and dill salad. She specifically asked for the salmon not to be undercooked and was very happy with the moistness of the fish and crispiness of the topping.

Crispy seared salmon with sweet potato fries and a cos, fennel and dill salad at back, Albondigas - fried potatoes with Spanish meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, front. Pic - Sandra Kelly

“I had Albondigas - fried potatoes with Spanish meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. I enjoyed the meal although I thought it would have benefited from a bit of spicing up with some chilli, but that’s just me. I have found meatballs can often be somewhat dry, but these were cooked to perfection - light, tender and juicy.

“I also ordered a side salad which was the same salad that came with my friend’s meal. She is not a big fan of cucumber or all the usual ingredients that go into a salad often served with a meal, and both of us remarked that this was a pleasant, simple offering with a delicate dressing that didn’t overwhelm the palate, or take away from the flavours of the main meal. 

“We were happy to see the new place well supported, with just about every table filled by 1.30pm. I can highly recommend Schembrae’s, which can only get better over time. We will definitely be back again, and we are most interested in trying one of the many interesting cocktails on offer for our next visit….”

Schembrae's is at 77 Bells Line of Road, Kurrajong. For bookings, call 4576 0500. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Hours: 11.30am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 11.30am to 7pm on Sundays. Fully licenced restaurant with vegetarian and gluten free options

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