Dining in the Blue Mountains
With a focus on fresh, regional produce and gourmet experiences capitalising on its stunning location, dining in the Blue Mountains has really come of age, with a slew of innovative restaurants and cafes – from casual to hatted fine-dining masterpieces – presenting a veritable feast of flavours.
As the main town in the Upper Mountains, it’s no surprise that Katoomba is full of dining delights. Here you’ll find cafes, restaurants and bars nestled in historic venues. Enjoy fine dining at the highly-acclaimed Darley’s Restaurant in the five-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa, its splendid dining room a gracious reflection of the ages with leadlight windows, crystal chandeliers and views across formal gardens to the rugged Jamison Valley.
Also in the grounds of Lilanfels is Miss Lilian Tea House, offering Asian comfort food with a twist. Enjoy valley views as you dine on Modern Australian fare at Echoes; raise a glass of regional Central Ranges or Megalong Valley wine as you soak in the vistas from The Lookout at Echo Point; or take a journey through the street food of the world at fun 8Things on Katoomba’s main street.
Sample the craft beer on offer at Mountain Culture Brewery, housed inside the former newspaper office and printing press. Katoomba’s nightlife is also undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, with the cool Bootlegger Bar in the historic Niagara building leading the charge.
The lively shopping strip at Leura is also a great place to dine, from quirky cafes to classic Mountains restaurants. Leura Garage, set inside an old mechanic’s workshop, focuses on seasonal produce and small regional suppliers on their Mediterranean-inspired menu. Sorensen’s Glasshouse captures the beauty of Leura’s cool climate gardens in a glass-panelled building on the grounds of a local nursery.
Looking for a roaring log fire on a cool mountain night? The Oak Brasserie in Leura Mall has just that, while Embers Restaurant inside Fairmont Resort & Spa treats you with great meals, a hearty stone fireplace and incredible views.
The traditional high tea is synonymous with the Blue Mountains, with the most classic experience found at the Wintergarden Restaurant at the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel. Soak up the views across Megalong Valley as you indulge in petit fours, sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream, served on a three-tiered stand and accompanied by exotic teas or a glass of sparkling wine.
Fresh is best
In a region whose dining reputation is centred around the availability of fresh, seasonal produce, it’s little wonder the growers market of the Blue Mountains are so popular, with standouts including the monthly markets at Blackheath and Springwood. You can also pick up harder-to-find ingredients and regional wine at Carrington Deli & Cellars.
Music in the mountains
The music scene in the Blue Mountains has always been lively, with local and visiting artists performing at venues including the Boiler House Restaurant and Blackheath Bar & Bistro. Meanwhile, the Blue Mountains Music Festival held each March celebrates roots music and jazz; while the quirky Ukulele Festival brings Hawaiian sounds to the streets of Katoomba in February. Check the local calendar for more events.