It can be hard to escape the magnetic draw of Sydney Harbour, but for those willing to make the trip north, the Hawkesbury River holds plenty of delights – including, as Mark Beretta discovers, the cuisine of Jerome Tremoulet.
Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most stunning harbours, so it’s not surprising visiting superyachts don’t tend to venture much further afield. However, there is a beautiful, lesser known hideaway further north, just at the entrance to the Hawkesbury River, which is about to entice us away for the day.
Having our own chef on board the recently rebuilt and architecturally conceived 37-metre superyacht One O One in these beautiful surrounds is a pretty good escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. And it’s even better when the chef happens to be one of the best in the region – Executive Chef at Marramarra Lodge Jerome Tremoulet, who will be treating us to some of his finest dishes in a four-course feast. The luxury resort Marramarra Lodge is nestled on a secluded point jutting out into one of the Hawkesbury’s many quiet bays. One of its attractions is a focus on local seafood and produce, something that Tremoulet is naturally extremely proud of.
Our adventure begins well before we board the yacht, however. At the mouth of the Hawkesbury, less than an hour north of Sydney, we find the Broken Bay Pearl Farm. The Mooney Mooney area is a renowned pearl and oyster region, and Pearls of Australia has branched out from their Cygnet Bay base in the remote Kimberley in Western Australia to set up operations at Broken Bay. Their incredible Shellar Door experience is truly unique as it is the only pearl farm in New South Wales. We start with a glass of Champagne accompanied by an oyster tasting.
Inside the converted waterside shed is an array of stunning pearl shells and glass cases displaying earrings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets. You are able to understand pearl farming in a refined environment here, although if you want to get closer to the action, you can also head out by boat to get an even closer look at the farming process and inspect the oyster beds.
During the oyster tasting, visitors are guided through the different types of oysters and their characteristics alongside a highly informative history of pearling and the region. The expert hosts then open up some shells to show the size and type of pearl being produced locally – the impressive Australian Akoya Pearl.
The Shellar Door is proving a booming success and the team at Broken Bay Pearls is expert in educating guests on the industry and what to look for in quality pearls. It is both interesting and entertaining.
Next, it’s time to settle back into the luxury of One O One. From the moment you step aboard, this yacht stands out. The result of design work by architects Henderson and Co, the design and interior are impeccable. The fit-out is more five-star resort than traditional nautical. To begin with, in One O One’s major rebuild, the windows were substantially enlarged to give amazing views and more of a connection to the water.
In this maritime masterpiece, which features a ten-seat dining table, luxuriously comfortable lounges, discretely concealed televisions and an appropriately immersive sound system, style and comfort work together to make guests feel at home. And yet, we are also aware that this is truly a unique experience.
The yacht is superbly appointed and has a spacious master cabin along with three guest cabins, each with its own ensuite. The materials and finishes are of the highest quality and the feel is expansive. It’s perfect for our special dining experience and, while we slip easily into the comfort and wonderful hospitality offered by One O One, our chef has been busily preparing his delights.
Tremoulet took over as Executive Chef at Marramarra Lodge at the start of 2021. His background includes time at a classical French cooking school and top restaurants in France, Switzerland, the UK, USA and Australia.
He worked at Penfold’s Magill Estate Restaurant, enhancing his passion for combining great wine with great food, and also spent time at The Ritz Hotel London, The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney and The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne, among many others. As a French chef Down Under, Tremoulet combines the flavours of France with modern Australian ingredients. He works hard to marry up beautiful wines to complete the experience.
While Tremoulet enjoys being creative, his classical training sees him respect traditional techniques. The results are exceptional.
As we savour Didier Chopin Brut NV Champagne, Tremoulet proudly introduces his canapés – Hawkesbury rock oysters, of course, with seared scallops, tartare of beef, and seared yellowfin tuna to round out the appropriately named appetisers.
For the entrée, Tremoulet prepares Rémoulade of Blue Swimmer Crab with Crayfish Carpaccio and Oscietra Caviar. It tastes every bit as impressive as it sounds and to enhance the ocean flavours, it is accompanied by a 2019 Lenton Brae Chardonnay from the Margaret River in Western Australia. The combination is a pure delight.
Tremoulet’s new home at Marramarra Lodge is proving to be a perfect fit for his take on fine food, and he plans to continue refining his craft here for a long time to come. An exclusive resort catering to a maximum of 28 guests, Marramarra is cleverly nestled into native forest. Overlooking the Hawkesbury River, its proximity to Sydney means it’s ideal for romantic weekends or a mid-week escape. The resort offers guests an authentic Australian luxury experience with the choice of fully appointed Peninsula Tents or stylish Hawkesbury Bungalows.
What really sets Murramurra apart, however, is its pristine riverside bush location, seclusion, and opportunity for cultural immersion, while still providing guests with gourmet meals and wines to match. It’s a very attractive offering.
Tremoulet’s main course for our at-sea dining experience is Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Confit Potato, Seared Foie Gras and Truffled Jus. The beef is absolutely exquisite, and the jus is a showcase of Jerome’s French flair. The wine for this is a 2016 Savaterre Shiraz from the beautiful Beechworth region in the Victorian high country. The combination is spectacular, as all the guests enthusiastically agree.
When it comes to dessert, we just know we’re in for something special.
Tremoulet has prepared a knockout blow to end a superb meal: White Chocolate and Almond Mousse with Berries, Praline and Pecan Crumb. It is indeed the appropriate high to finish on and is washed down with a 2019 Lerida Estate Botrytis Pinot Gris from Lake George outside Canberra. For anyone with a sweet tooth, desserts don’t come any better.
Tremoulet has excelled and, after all that epicurean enjoyment, it’s a good thing One O One has some beautiful large lounges and sunpads on both the forward and aft decks. We stretch out and take in the stunning views looking down the Hawkesbury River. It has truly been the perfect venue to enjoy a perfect lunch with a great bunch. The fact is, it would have been fantastic anywhere, but being tucked away on the Hawkesbury, feeling like we’ve had this majestic waterway all to ourselves is pretty special.
The Hawkesbury is certainly the waterway less travelled by these bigger charter yachts, but it’s well worth spending time on this protected and scenic river, well away from the throng of boats on the harbour and ferries journeying in a hurry. The sunsets are magic here too and there are so many coves protected by high cliffs. For jetskiing, water skiing and time on waterslides or lilypads, this stretch of river – much like Tremoulet’s mouthwatering food – is pretty hard to beat.