Tapas-style dishes, local produce and seven-days-a-week service 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.
Restaurant owner James Howarth has distilled the influences of the renowned Sydney chefs that have passed through Leura Garage’s kitchen over the years to offer a seasonal, locally sourced, European-influenced menu that is constantly looking to one-up itself with every new release.
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, just about every dish features ingredients sourced from down the road. 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 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, but if you decide not to be bothered with making decisions there is the plentiful Lamb Dinner – a three-course meal starring fall-off-the-bone slow-cooked lamb with sides and a choice of desserts for $68 per person (minimum two people).
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.
NOTE: Please check the Leura Garage website for the most up-to-date menu and dining terms and conditions.
- 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, lamb dinner $68 per person (min. 2 people)
- Cuisine: Modern European
- Licensed: Yes, no BYO
- Bookings: Yes
- Views: No
- Wheelchair access: Yes
- Cards accepted: All cards
Images supplied unless indicated.