Tapas-style dishes, local produce and opening seven nights a week is a winning combination for this Blue Mountains restaurant.
When guests staying at my Blue Mountains accommodation want to go out for dinner on a Monday or Tuesday night, there’s one place I always recommend.
Leura Garage is one of the few restaurants in the Blue Mountains open seven days a week and there’s not a night it doesn’t draw a crowd. People come for the atmosphere – a cool yet casual feel made so by the renovated car garage interior and rustic lighting; but they mostly come for the food.
Executive chef Regan Porteous from Riley St Garage in Sydney’s Surry Hills has put his stamp on the seasonal, European-influenced menu. Leura Garage always had a focus on local produce but now nearly every dish features ingredients sourced from down the road and – no surprises – the quality has stepped up.
You’re not just cramming your cake hole: you’re tasting, appreciating and experiencing the Blue Mountains and surrounds on a different level.
Offering light and heavier share plates along with pizzas, you might find yourself tasting pork knuckle from Mudgee, free-range chicken wings from Dubbo, lamb from Lithgow Valley, beef from Kanimbla Valley or bacon from Orange. It sounds clichéd but knowing where the produce comes from really does make the whole eating experience more enjoyable – you’re not just cramming your cake hole: you’re tasting, appreciating and experiencing the Blue Mountains and surrounds on a different level.
On our recent visit our appetites were seduced by the fried and starchy plates on offer, but there’s a big variety of other tapas-y dishes to choose from – from beef sirloin carpaccio with chevre, beetroot puree, candied walnuts and soy balsamic to smoked salmon and prosciutto spiked with lemon zest and thyme, to lamb skewers in chilli, garlic and rosemary. The idea is to order lots of different plates, and if you can’t decide there are tasting menu and banquet options starting at just $35 per person.
Entrées for us were the grissini pizza strips, tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with goats cheese and capers, and the calamari fritto with salt, chilli and oregano – all delicious and perfect with a glass of rosé wine from Orange.
For a shared main we couldn’t go past the paella with chorizo, mussels and prawns – more of a risotto in the absence of those crispy bits from the paella pan, but still satisfying.
Next: Eton mess with strawberries and rhubarb and a side of chocolate gelato. Really, you can’t go wrong with this combination of texture, colour and flavour, where meringue cracks together with cream and gooey, tangy stewed rhubarb.
While we skipped pizza on this occasion but I can highly recommend it, having had it many times past – the bases are crispy and the toppings fresh and well balanced. Favourites are the pumpkin, onion jam, fetta and spinach (quite sweet) and the smoked trout, crème fraiche, capers and rocket. The proscuitto, artichoke, blue cheese and rocket below is equally belissimo.
Wines are sourced from regional NSW as well as France, Italy and Spain. Plus there’s sangria – perfect for those laid-back pizza nights.
No matter what night of the week it is in the Blue Mountains, it’s comforting to know locally produced comfort food (and wine) is always available.
- Address: 84 Railway Parade, Leura NSW 2780
- Phone: (02) 4784 3391
- Web: www.leuragarage.com.au
- Opening hours: Seven days 12pm till late
- Prices: Entrees $5–$24, mains $26–$38, pizza $19–$30, banquets $35–$85pp
- Cuisine: European/tapas
- Licensed: Yes, no BYO
- Bookings: Yes
- Views: No
- Wheelchair access: Yes
- Cards accepted: All cards
Images supplied unless indicated.