A convivial Chefs’ Table celebration led by Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and The Escarpment Group’s Darleys restaurant, will headline this year’s Leura Harvest Festival.
Honouring sustainable living in the Blue Mountains, the festival on 5 May 2019, the Chefs’ Table event by Plate Up Blue Mountains will showcase the region’s acclaimed executive chefs and their signature dishes.
The all-day event features executive chefs, Roy McVeigh from The Escarpment Group’s Darleys restaurant, Nancy Kinchela from Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, and Petrina Kerr from Palette Dining.
Visitors can also experience wine and cheese tasting by Dryridge Estate and the Carrington Cellars & Deli, as well as an indulgent dessert by internationally acclaimed chocolatier, Jodie Van Der Velden of Josophan’s Fine Chocolates.
Plate Up Blue Mountains Chair, Pam Seaborn, said the Leura Harvest Festival presented the community with a unique opportunity to engage with some of the best chefs in Australia from our region.
“Our best chefs are attracting visitors from around the world to the Blue Mountains and now everyone has a remarkable opportunity to experience their signature dishes and food philosophy,” Ms Seaborn said.
Organised by the Leura Village Association, the 6th annual event has local wine and apple cider, herbs and spices, and organic produce across 70 stalls.
The festival will again culminate in a cake procession down Leura Mall followed by a free feast from the entries judged at Josophan’s Great Australian Chocolate Cake Competition.
Sponsored by The Escarpment Group, the festival also features the Great Blue Mountains Jam Competition, solar-powered vehicles, repurposed clothing, art, homewares, and organic beauty products.
For more information visit www.leuravillage.com.au.
Muse, nurturer, creative force and “feminine dominant” Rose Lindsay to be honoured in a monthly artistic theatre lunch event at Echoes Restaurant from May to October.
The event will be part of the new Art of Lunch series to be held simultaneously at five Blue Mountains restaurants every last Sunday from May 26 and October 27, featuring a different theme, exhibition and performance at each venue.
The works of Norman Lindsay will be showcased at Escarpment Group-owned Echoes Restaurant in Katoomba by Norman Lindsay Gallery under the theme Blue Mountains Bohemia, during which his wife and muse Rose will make a theatrical appearance in period costume to deliver a series of vignettes drawn from her memoir, Model Wife, evoking the Lindsay’s artistic bohemian lifestyle.
Escarpment Group head chef Saran Sasikumar will dream up an exotic menu with a mysterious Magic Pudding.
After the sumptuous meal there will be a 30-minute concert with a musician, varying each month starting the season with jazz giant James Greening and concluding with classical composer/musician Me-Lee Hay.
Norman Lindsay has a lasting reputation as the Blue Mountains’ most luminary and controversial artist, although he does not overshadow his second wife Rose – his muse, model, wife and mother of their two daughters.
Rose was also an exceptional printmaker and archivist who editioned Norman’s etchings, as well as an astute business manager.
The couple’s granddaughter Helen Glad wrote: “Rose Lindsay’s commanding personality assured she would never be overwhelmed by her husband’s genius or that of anyone else.
“A forthright individual all her life, she personified Norman's concept of the `feminine dominant’ - woman as nurturer and creative force.
“Rose was essential to his continuing and prodigious creative output. Rose stood in no one’s shadow – during her long life she made sure she was acknowledged. She survived many things, all without loss of dignity or style.”
The Art of Lunch project was created by Earthly Delights Events and has received funding from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, as well as support from local enterprises such as Scenic World and BMR Accounting. Details: artoflunch.com.au.
The Art of Lunch will be held at Echoes Restaurant & Bar, Lilianfels Ave, Katoomba, the last Sunday of each month from May to October 2019.
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org or 4782 1966.
The Source Bulk Foods haven for shoppers wanting to slash waste and boost the quality of their grocery shopping has arrived in Katoomba, broadening the number of local “conscious shopping’’ options.
Long-time locals, Kerrie Roberts and Kristy Bainbridge opened the 50th branch of Australian wholefoods retailer The Source Bulk Foods in the Town Centre Arcade outside Katoomba Coles in March.
Committed to supporting Australian suppliers and sustainable, ethical production, The Source stocked more than 500 whole foods and household goods, with a focus on organic, vegan, gluten free and paleo friendly products sold in bulk at competitive prices.
As well as a wide range of granolas and mueslis, the store had three varieties of kombucha on tap; cooking oils; dish washing detergent, soap and shampoo; different salts; organic nuts; veggie chips; organic teas; 100 per cent nut butters made onsite; dried fruits and berries; polenta, rice, food proteins, aluminium-free baking powder and various flours; gluten-free vegetable pastas among its range of more than 500 products.
There was even a “naughty corner’’ with stashes of sugar-free lollies, dark chocolate-covered nuts and organic berries, with a vegan chocolate Easter special on the way.
Founded in Mullumbimby on the NSW Far North Coast in 2012 by husband and wife Paul Medeiros and Emma Smith, who left corporate Sydney life in 2007 to start a family and operate a fruit and veg shop, The Source Bulk Foods focused on zero waste and sustainable consumption.
In the past two years, it had sourced a fully compostable coffee bag (including the zip lock and air valve), saved more than 50 million plastic bags from circulation, kept 300,000kg of packaging waste from landfill, planted 75,000 trees and helped employ hundreds of people in Madagascar, donated more than $75,000 to ocean conservation organisations through reusable water bottles sales and supported children of the Outback.
The Source Bulk Foods was “a business with heart’’, Mr Medeiros said.
“Our whole mantra is about going back to basics. We know our customers are very savvy and want to know where their food is from, which is something we really focus on delivering.’’
The Blue Mountains mother/daughter team said they “loved the concept: the aisles brimming with healthy foods and the zero-waste mission’’.
The Source provided an alternate shopping outlet for people with allergies, food intolerance and dietary requirements as well as anyone who wanted to make more conscious shopping choices.
“It’s about going back to basics, eating the rainbow of food and being interested in where your food comes from,’’ Kerrie said.
The “conscious shopping’’ retailer’s “package-it-yourself’’ shopping concept meant that customers could scoop produce into brown paper and calico bags, containers from home or bought in-store, meaning less packaging going to landfill.
“It’s all about providing good old-fashioned grocery shopping, the modern way,’’ Kristy said. “It’s a style of grocery shopping your grandparents would be comfortable and familiar with.’’
She and Kerry also wanted to help reduce waste and were encouraged by the local community, which had long been receptive to healthy eating, zero waste concepts and conservation principals.
Rather than considering similar shops as competitors, they viewed them as like-minded colleagues which complemented each other and offered customers something different.
Kerrie and Kristy dispelled the perception that bulk food shopping was more expensive than mainstream supermarket shopping.
“It's not,’’ Kristy said. “You buy as much or as little as you actually need.
“For instance, if you need a certain unique ingredient for a recipe and go to the supermarket, you might have to buy a 200 gram bag of it but only use 40 grams. The leftover sits in your pantry and eventually gets thrown out, whereas you can shop in the store and purchase the exact amount you need, which may only cost you 40 cents and you have nothing left or wasted.’’
The duo looked forward to expanding their knowledge about wholefoods by learning from customers, researching products and sharing their knowledge about products and their uses.
Kristy and Kerrie will also soon hold regular workshops in the adjoining community centre covering topics such as zero-waste practices, health and wellbeing, essential oils and cooking classes.
The Source Bulk Foods, The Town Centre Arcade, Katoomba St, Katoomba, is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sunday. Further information: thesourcebulkfoods.com.au.
The uniting force of food will be the binding tie of inclusiveness, respect and belonging when the multicultural staff at the Hydro Majestic Hotel celebrate Harmony Week with international cuisine from March 18 to 24.
Visitors will embark on a global food journey when they nibble on a special multicultural high tea of duck rice paper roll, Aussie beef mini pie, Sri Lankan fish cutlet, pulled pork adabo, green papaya slaw, chicken tikka wrap, mint chutney, kachumber salad, mini naan followed by sweet pastries, berry pavlova, Gajar ka halwa, Maja blanca, pandan cake, Watalappan and scones.
The dishes will be prepared by the international kitchen team.
Hydro Majestic guest services manager Meagan Lervasi said more than 30 languages were spoken and staff ethnic origins from six continents, from Asia to Africa: “The only continent we haven’t interviewed anyone from yet is Antarctica.”
While all Escarpment Group properties, which also include Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Miss Lilian Teahouse, Darley’s Restaurant, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, align well with the strong national multicultural population today, the Blue Mountains and the Hydro Majestic have a multicultural heritage stretching back to the days of original owner Mark Foy.
During the post-Bathurst gold rush era around the turn of the 20th century numerous Chinese workers reverted to their traditional skills across the Blue Mountains, with many working as butlers, cooks, nannies, maids and produce suppliers to inns, guesthouses and manor houses.
One was Louie Goh Mong (nicknamed ‘Charlie’), who worked as a cook at department store doyenne, sportsman and flamboyant playboy Foy’s home and managed the mayhem at the Hydro Majestic for 35 years.
Go to hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) 4782 6885 to book a Harmony Week high tea.
The Darley’s Restaurant reign at the pinnacle of the Blue Mountains fine dining scene has been further validated with a top 100 ranking by a prestigious international culinary guide.
The Echo Point venue is listed 89th in respected dining standards authority Gault&Millau’s Australian guide, released at its annual G&M Awards at the Aerial Function Centre, Sydney, on February 11, 2019.
Originating in France more than 60 years ago, Gault&Millau Australia is the only international restaurant guide in Australia.
Awarding Darley’s Restaurant 15.5 out of 20 and three chef’s hats, its review reads: “Darley’s is probably the most unique retro restaurant west of Sydney.
“The stand-alone house has been painstakingly renovated into the formal mansion that it was many years ago, with ornate fireplaces, colourful leadlight windows and crystal chandeliers.
“The service, atmosphere and food make Darley’s the perfect place for a special celebration.”
The restaurant is located in the historic home of former NSW Chief Justice Sir Frederick Darley on the Escarpment Group-owned 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa property between the Miss Lilian Teahouse and the luxury hotel.
The review praises executive chef Roy McVeigh’s unique, local produce-inspired dishes such as the scallop silk “made into a smooth, light sheet that retains the gorgeous ocean flavours”.
“Rabbit roulade is another special dish with plenty of taste and character, the bacon cover underpinning the umami taste of the rabbit perfectly. A tender duck breast served with a well-reduced and vibrant jus is a real culinary highlight, and worth the trip to the Blue Mountains.
“PSST! The extensive wine list pays homage to the Western Sydney wine area. The selection includes some of the greats along with some unique drops.”
McVeigh congratulated the entire Darley’s team for the glowing review: “What diners experience at Darley’s is the result of efforts from our whole team, from the chefs preparing unique dishes using the freshest seasonal local produce to exceptional wait staff who give diners the attention and service they deserve.
“It is satisfying to have our efforts and talents recognised by such prestigious industry peers.”
Darley’s is a multi-award winning hatted restaurant inducted in the Australian Hotels Association Hall of Fame for Best Regional Restaurant in 2010 and more recently won the Tourism Accommodation Association NSW Awards for Excellence Regional Restaurant of the Year for 2013 and 2016. Then executive chef Lee Kwiez was named TAA (NSW) Chef of the Year in 2015.
McVeigh’s autumn menu will be served from March 1. Diners may choose a five or seven-course degustation with dishes like zucchini, burrata Italian cheese with duck prosciutto, hazelnut and espelette oil; rabbit and quail tortellini, pumpkin, roasted pepitas and jus gras; and blackberry sorbet with nectarine, pistachio, custard and lemon balm.
Darley’s Restaurant, Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Lilianfels Ave, Katoomba, is open from 6pm to 10.30pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 6pm to 10pm Sundays (long weekends only). Bookings essential: (02) 4780 1200 or email@example.com.
The upcoming Roaring 20s & All That Jazz Festival at The Hydro Majestic Hotel is fast becoming the talk of town. Filled with a glowing rich heritage dating back to the early 1900s, The Hydro has earned its prestigious status and is continually regarded as the crème de la crème experience in the Blue Mountains.
Enter yesteryear and embrace all the glory of the 1920s in style with an abundance of festivities offered from The Hydro Majestic Hotel. The Majestic Long Lunch to be held on February 23rd as part of the festival will see guests venture back in time to celebrate the iconic golden age of the Hydro Majestic Hotel. The day screams a good time with dollops of fine food, a promenade, The Majestic Ballroom, sweet live jazz and every guest doll’d up head-to-toe in the most dashing 1920s fashion.
Joining the celebrations will be Majestic Long Lunch Ambassadors: Food luminary Lyndey Milan OAM & Charlotte Smith, Fashion Anthropologist, The Darnell Collection. 2019s Majestic Long Lunch is guaranteed to have taste buds salivating with the finest shared feast of regional fare from Lushious Gourmet Catering; Hydro Majestic; The Carrington Cellars & Deli and Josophan's Fine Chocolates.
The fine cuisine will be coupled with local live jazz led by the Swing Katz and Music in the Mountains ready to dazzle. Local legends, The Swing Katz are the grooviest cats around and will be performing the best jazz jams from 11am onwards for guests looking to jitterbug.
The Hydro’s pristine location, glamourous construction, and highly trained staff ensures every moment of The Majestic Long Lunch drips with class, quality and splendour. No effort has been spared for this day of 1920s spectacle, including; a fashion parade from the exquisite Darnell Collection, lucky door/best dressed prizes, and even a promenade leading guests into the bejewelled wonders of the Hydro’s grand Majestic Ballroom.
The Hydro Express Deco Dinner will follow The Majestic Long Lunch, 6-8pm. This includes a vintage train journey from Sydney Central Station and a 3-course Deco Dinner in the Hydro Majestic Ballroom.
The Majestic Long Lunch
Saturday February 23rd, 2019 at The Majestic Ballroom, Hydro Majestic Hotel, Medlow Bath, 12-4pm.
Tickets - $95 per person includes a complimentary cocktail on arrival. Prizes Galore to win including Lucky Door Prizes, Best Dressed Woman, Man, Couple & Best Hats.
Dancing will commence at 11am, led by the Swing Katz and Music in the Mountains on the grounds of the Hydro Majestic. Part of "Charleston for Charity" – all proceeds go to the RFS.
For bookings and more information, call 4782 6885 or head to hydromajestic.com.au/events/roaring-20s-festival
By Elissa Jamieson
Best Eats Contributor
Cocktail king Lamar Powell brings the taste of Spring in the Mountains with his fresh new recipe....
*Ironbark wattle seed gin 60ml
*St Germaine 10ml
*Dom Benèdictinè 10ml
*Ruby red grapefruit juice 30ml
*Lemon juice 20ml
*Strawberry syrup 20ml
*Peychaurd’s bitters 1 dash
*Orange Bitters 2 drops
*Add all ingredients to a shaker, shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a hurricane glass, fill with ice and garnish with fresh Wattle, Strawberry and a Citrus wheel.
Recipe by Lamar Powell
Our little village is a hidden gem at the top of the mountains. Start up on the highway with Mount Vic and Me for a range of greeting cards, tea towels and new Blue Mountains Socks made here in Australia. Get your cards read next door at Jennifer Marie’s Psychic Emporium, then head up to Victorious Interiors and The Other Lady where you will find a lovely range of furniture and french interiors.
Curios and collectables abound in the Pop Up Shop, Cobwebbs Collectables and The Gallery. Duck into the Baytree Nursery to see an array of cold climate plants. For history buffs, head to Mount Victoria Museum to see an array of historical pieces including dioramas from The Hydro Majestic and even Ned Kelly’s sister Kate’s bed!
If you are of the adventurous kind you’ll appreciate the bush walks in the area, you can head out to Mount York where Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth famously realised they’d crossed the Blue Mountains. If you walk up to Mount Piddington you’ll pass One Tree Hill – which Mount Victoria was originally named after – and is the highest point in the city of the Blue Mountains.
For eats we are lucky how many we have here. Petalura Eatery is where you can get a lovely sit down lunch by the fire. I recommend their Spanokopita. Further down is Piccolo Deli, a great place to pick up coffee and yummy homemade cake.
Victoria & Albert Guesthouse is recently reopened where you can enjoy a true Yulefest Christmas dinner. Mount Victoria Manor has beautiful tapas and eats available.
After all this head to old style Mount Vic Flicks where you can get yourself a cuppa tea and homemade soup while watching the film. You may even get to hear the organist play before the show!
by Kara Cooper
Local designer & Best Eats contributor
The Mid Mountains villages of Lawson and Hazelbrook are home to a thriving foodie scene. David Stott is your guide
If all you saw of Lawson was the view from the Great Western Highway, you’d be forgiven for cruising right on past its row of anonymous brown brick shops. So it’s a more-than-pleasant surprise to find, tucked away behind the Subways and real estate offices, a veritable village of gourmet delights.
Bookended by buzzing Cortado café and a great Thai joint, Maprang, are two bona fide food destinations all the sweeter for feeling like you’ve stumbled on a local secret.
Mesa Barrio is the landmark here, with a sophisticated tapas bar vibe and a tight menu of Mediterranean delights including vego-friendly fare such as the signature fried haloumi with oregano, sumac and grilled lemon. Pop in for a quick weekend lunch, or settle in for the evening and work your way through the awesome cocktail menu.
A few steps away, Black Cockatoo Bakery is where French baker Alex produces the most fabulously light croissants and pain au chocolat in (possibly) the southern hemisphere, plus the best sourdough west of Alexandria. Lines form before the doors open at 8.30am, and they close when the last loaf sells. Quite literally in this town – you snooze, you lose.
Smugly tucking your baguette under your arm, bound up the stairs to Rust and Timber Chocolate Bar, where you can warm up over a steaming mug of hot chocolate while pondering which artisan truffle to sample next.
Five minutes’ drive east, humble Hazelbrook has its own nascent food scene, headlined by the cool café and fermentation station Hasty Tiger. Sample their home-made kimchi on a burger, washed down with a draft of locally-brewed Bulla Booch kombucha. Or for a truly authentic Hazo good time, head here on a Friday night, when locals pile in to feast on wings and sample an ever-changing selection of craft beers. Grab a chair, make a new friend, and gaze upon the wondrous spectacle that is Hazelbrook car park – a Bolshoi Ballet of the parking arts.
Don’t leave the Mid Mountains without checking some of the area’s wealth of hidden riches. Whether you trawl the antique shops or head out on a worldclass waterfall bushwalk, this little corner of the Blue Mountains is much more than a quick game of I-Spy.
by David Stott
Food lover & Best Eats editorial contributor
Escarpment Group dining outlets located throughout the Blue Mountains are among Sydney’s finest. With three restaurants shortlisted in the annual Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) awards, besteats.com.au decided to have a closer look at the Escarpment Group’s triumphs on this mecca award night.
Darley’s Restaurant on the Lilianfels Resort & Spa property at Echo Point was this year’s runner-up in the Deluxe Restaurant category to Black by Ezard at The Star. Finalists for the mid-range category included Escarment Group’s Echoes Restaurant (also situated in Echo Point) and the Wintergarden Restaurant situated in the Hydro Majestic Hotel (Medlow Bath).
The “people categories” form a vital part of the annual awards, which this year saw a record-breaking 320 nominations received from 82 NSW hotels across 34 categories.
Operations Manager for the Escarpment Group Adam Holmes congratulated kitchen and wait staff at all dining venues for delivering consistent food excellence and customer service: “It’s great to see that the Blue Mountains was once again a favoured destination for Regional Deluxe travellers, with our colleagues at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley taking out top prize for the Regional Deluxe Hotel of the Year and the Fairmont Resort winning Rooms Division Talent of the Year.”
TAA NSW chairman Peter Tudehope said staff were the greatest asset of any hotel, no matter the size or location of the venue: “It is the quality of staff that really make or break a hotel.
“Well-trained, attentive staff are the difference between a routine hotel stay and a unique experience that will be enjoyed, remembered and talked about for years to come. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and all the winners on the work they do each and every day to provide a premium experience to all guests in our hotels – you really do make a difference.”