10 May 2016
One of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains is the place to discover breathtaking natural beauty, luxury hotels and some of the best regional restaurants this country has to offer. Here’s my out-of-towner restaurant guide:
Overlooking Mount Solitary and the Jamison Valley, halfway between Leura and Katoomba, Solitary offers one of the most magnificent views in the Blue Mountains. The sophisticated interior respects the charm of the heritage-listed building, offering a fresh and airy space, perfect for an intimate dinner. The refined Modern Australian menu features dishes such as cured duck breast and pan-fried Gorgonzola gnocchi, sure to impress even the most discerning city diners. The kiosk also offers a casual café menu, including scones, sandwiches and a handful of sweet treats.
With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, diners can fully appreciate the incredible scenery that surrounds Tomah Gardens Restaurant. Just a short drive west of Bilpin, diners enjoy uninterrupted views across the Wollemi National Park. When plates are set on the table, though, your gaze will be firmly fixed before you. Chef Sean Moran of Bondi’s famed Sean’s Panaroma executes an honest menu that pays homage to local ingredients.
Fresh, local and organic are three words that speak to the essence of this successful Blue Mountains restaurant. In fact, every ingredient that features on the menu at Leura Garage is sourced from within a 100 mile radius of the restaurant. A former mechanic’s workshop, the restaurant has retained elements of its heritage, with a vintage car-hoist re-purposed as a wine rack and plants potted inside stacked tyres. Leura Garage’s warm, industrial chic vibe belies a restaurant with excellent food and a serious social and environmental conscience.
Fine dining and luxury accommodation fuse seamlessly at one of the Blue Mountains’ most renowned hotels, Lilianfels. Perched on the edge of the magnificent Jamison Valley and overlooking the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, Darley’s Restaurant, housed within the luxurious resort, is a long-standing fine-diner that exudes elegance and grace.
Come for share plates of milk-poached barramundi croquettes and Madeira infused duck liver parfait but stay and linger over espresso martinis and bottles of French reserve wines. A stunning fusion of Australian and European flavours has established Ashcrofts as not only a local Blackheath favourite but an epicurean tourist destination.
For exclusivity and decadence, head to Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, perched at the edge of Jamison Valley at Echo Point. The hotel boasts 14 individually-styled rooms with views of the National Park and, of course, the famed Echoes Restaurant, where Modern Australian cuisine is paired with a list of boutique Australian wines.
Artistry is not restricted to the plate at Palette Dining, with local artists adorning the restaurant’s walls but that isn’t to say that the food isn’t the star attraction. At the forefront of the Blue Mountains slow food movement, co-owner and head chef Petrina Kerr brings with her 20 years worth of experience, including the opening of Otto Ristorante, Longrain, North Bondi Italian Food, The Stokehouse (Melbourne) and Balthasar (Perth), to create an inspired, produce-driven menu. The downstairs dining room is a la carte, whilst the upstairs studio is where a fully equipped cocktail bar awaits with small plates for casual eats.
The iconic art deco Hydro Majestic hotel, which overlooks the Megalong Valley, has been restored to its former glory. The property offers various dining options, including the Boiler House Café, which boasts two levels of breathtaking views and a great, well-rounded menu of casual, bistro-style fare.
The historic Carrington Hotel’s fine dining restaurant is one of the last Victorian dining rooms still operating in Australia. Guests will feel as though they’re stepping back in time as they enter the Grand Dining Room, where lofty gilded ceilings and stained glass windows whisper of elegant eras past. Located in the heart of Katoomba’s shopping district, the Carrington also offers a traditional high tea, private dining and Champagne Charlies, an old worldly bar for evening refreshments and cocktails.
Located in a beautiful old house built in 1898 that overlooks a leafy garden, Pins on Lurline is a firm Blue Mountain’s favourite. Run by a Scottish husband and Japanese wife duo, the menu seamlessly combines European and Asian flavours. Think pork gyoza, house made fried chicken udon and classic Italian pastas such as bolognese, carbonara and arrabiatta.