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
Best Eats, Blue Mountains
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