As you sit down to eat at The Banjo Paterson Cottage Restaurant, it is fascinating to think that the man himself had once done exactly the same. This federation style nineteenth century cottage is a situated amidst six acres of parklands and surrounded by landscaped gardens. Views of the foreshores of the Parramatta River are framed with Bottle Brushes and Blue Gums. Immediately below the cottage is a jetty suitable for all types of craft and the adjoining car park has room for over 50 cars.
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Sitting on the veranda at Rockend (better known nowadays as Banjo Paterson Cottage), gazing out over a shimmering sweep of the Parramatta River, it's not hard to picture what this part of Sydney was like in Australia's pioneering colonial days. A green landscape of small farms and pockets of bushland, it was dotted with rustic cottages built from the local sandstone. Rockend was one such cottage, and it was here that our most famous poet spent his adolescent years. Inside it's now a myriad of immaculate dining rooms but it's fascinating to dwell, while sipping wine by the fireplace or watching boats from the veranda, upon the fact that you may well be sitting where he once sat.
The heritage appeal makes for romantic dining. The restaurant is surrounded by parkland and has outdoor seating in the garden, carpeted rooms warmed by open fires and two enclosed verandas overlooking the jetty. The food is decidedly more modern, offering entrees such as gnocchi with braised white rabbit, enoki mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke. Mains include crispy-skinned barramundi on braised fennel and almond with crab and mustard cream, and seared kangaroo loin on roasted root vegetables with aged balsamic and chorizo sausage. It's worth coming during the day and taking some time just to stroll the grounds – you may even find some poetic inspiration yourself.