Biota re-run

I could not visit Bowral without going to Biota, the restaurant holds a special place in my heart because that is where TimmyC proposed to me. We have been there multiple times; the first visit was an eye widening, jaw dropping meal as we had never had that kind of dining experience before. The second time, I didn’t love it as much and I was starting to wonder if they were doing unusual things for the sake of being avant-garde and the third was a casual encounter on the bar side trying to eat as many croquettes as I could.Keen to add it to my birthday dining list, TimmyC booked weeks in advance so we didn’t miss out.Cooler months Five courses ($110.00 pp)

Snacks~Pear and cheese. This reminded me of a sheep milk cigar I had at MoVida, the outer layer is chewy and sweet which offset the tartness of the cheese.Kangaroo and Acacia jerky This was really tough jerky (but I guess most of them are), but the kangaroo flavours were subtle which is good because I don’t usually enjoy the strong aftertaste of kangaroo.Tasty Dory roe fish smoked roe with charcoal lavosh bread, garlic oil and salsa verde. I could not believe how much I enjoyed this. When I ran out of lavosh bread I started slathering it on the rye loaf.

Molasses and Rye loaf with cultured butter. I found the crust a little too tough and chewy but that is my personal preference.  The soft bready centre created a wonderful transportation system to get all the tasty dory roe into my mouth.

The bread is hiding in the fur pouch.Mains~

Creamed eggs, spanner crab and persimmon. This was perfection. The richness of this dish reminded me of the delicious crab dish from Noma but the flavours reminded me of a burnt butter sage pasta.Whipped potato, hen yolk and cabbage buds confit hens yolk, whipped potato, garden Brussels sprouts and egg white pearls. I was really surprised that the cabbage leaves were more sweet rather than bitter. The whipped potato was light in flavour and texture which went well with the rich yolk and refreshing cabbage leaves.Peek-a-boo, there is the egg yolk!Pastured fed beef cooked over coals beef cooked over coals with leeks and potato. My favourite things on a plate. The beef itself had lots of flavour but the leeks and potato it to another whole savoury level. I would have preferred a bigger portion but that’s just me being selfish.Dessert~

Sheep yoghurt and our honey. Tim was ready to hand over his plate when they said sheep yoghurt, but he was probably glad that I prompted him to try it first as he was scraping the last of his bowl while I was finishing up with my photos. There was no strong aftertaste that I usually find with most sheep dairy products. The tartness of the yoghurt was sweetened with the perfect amount of honey and I loved the abundance of the finger lime. It was so ridiculous how good this dessert was even though it was so simple, it was just a perfect balance of flavours.Mandarin and goats milk custard. The mandarin powder coating had a slight bitterness to it but it quickly dissipated as the delicate sweetness of the meringue and centre hits the palate. The softness texture of the ball with the icy sorbet reminded me of the snow egg from Quay.

It is so sweet that they put a candle in for my birthday.Beverages~ I ordered the non-alcoholic juice pairing which was really good and I loved how complex the flavours were ($50.00pp?).

Lemonade, smoke apple and pear juice, red grapes with cinnamon cloves and bitters and ending with caramelised pomegranate and grapefruit. 
I loved how the menu keeps evolving and changing almost every week to encompass local fresh produce. We really enjoyed our meal and the service was perfection. Ingredients are not puréed, chopped or foamed, they appear  whole and are paired perfectly with each other. It is almost like there was minimal cooking (but a lot of talent) and it was showcasing the best produce.

Venue: Biota

Address: 18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral NSW 2576

Phone(02) 4862 2005

Entertainment book: I’m so annoyed I forgot to use my Canberra 2016/17 book, I told TimmyC he will have to take me again.
Biota Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Palate Pleasure Cafe

After a wonderful day of over indulging yesterday, I didn’t have a breakfast location scouted out but my friends had heard good things about the Palate Pleasure Cafe, just off the main street.

There was six of us without a booking but they were very accommodating and we were seated after a bit of a wait and a table shuffle.

Palate Pleasure chai tea our blend of organic leaf tea, exotic spices, brown sugar and honey. Regular or soy milk ($4.95). This had such a great description, I imagined a well steeped tea that was creamy and sweet. This was really watery and not sweet at all, very disappointing. I did enjoy the chocolate bullet though.Flat white coffee (regular $3.85).Eggs Benedict two poached eggs, bacon and wilted spinach topped with house made zesty hollandaise ($18.50). My friend’s poached eggs were completely overdone and the hollandaise tasted a bit funny. She didn’t eat much of her breakfast. B&E bacon and eggs, with buttered toast and roast tomato ($16.50) with a side of mushrooms ($4.40). The poached eggs were also over done but it didn’t ruin the dish because the bacon was nice.Palate speciality pancakes soft buttermilk pancakes with mascarpone cream, and a poached strawberry compote ($16.50). Even though we explicitly asked for the compote to be served on the side, it still came drizzled all over the first time and we had to send it back to the kitchen. Luckily my friend is a fast eater so he still finished his breakfast at the same time as everyone else.The Big Breaky with all the trimmings, bacon, two eggs, roast tomato, mushrooms, sausages, hashbrown and buttered toasted ($20.35). No complaints here, everything was done well and the buttered toast was a welcome treat.Banana bread with honey and ricotta ($7.70) and a side of bacon ($4.40). When a mini loaf of banana bread with placed in front of me, I thought it was adorable. I have eaten a lot of banana bread which usually come out as a slice but I’ve never seen a mini loaf. Unfortunately, that is where my good impression ended. The banana bread was dry, not sweet at all and didn’t taste like banana. Thank goodness I had a side of bacon to drown my disappointment.We had mixed reactions over brunch but no one was overly impressed. They were really busy which might have been a contributing factor, but there are many other places to eat in Bowral so we will not be back.

Venue: Palate Pleasure Cafe

Address: Shop 1-3, 350 Bong Bong Street, Bowral NSW 2576

Phone: (02) 4861 7411
Palate Pleasure Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Katers restaurant 

We had just booked our accommodation in Bowral when I saw the Groupon voucher that was an absolute steal for Katers restaurant at Peppers Manor House. The deal included three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people.

We were slightly amused with our waitress. She was an older woman who didn’t seem too fussed that the restaurant was really busy and had a very blasé attitude about everything as she casually pottered about.

Groupon voucher: three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people, but I’ve written the prices from the menu.

The white and red wine options that are included in the Groupon voucher.Complimentary bread and butter~

The bread was served warm and there was plenty of butter, the perfect combination!Amuse bouche~

Rockmelon with goats cheese, ash and prosciutto. When I asked our blasé waitress about where the prosciutto was, she simply shrugged and said she would ask the kitchen but she never came back with an answer.Entrees~

Seared scallops and Rodriquez spiced chorizo, roasted cauliflower puree, squid ink meringue, coriander oil ($24.00). These scallops were much plumper than the ones we had at lunch and it has been a while since I’ve had such delicious scallops. The chorizo was also very nice, while the puree really help meld all the strong flavours together. We were very happy with our entree and were quite excited for what was to come.Confit quail terrine, toffee parsnip, spear, watercress, cumin ($23.00).Mains~

Pan seared duck breast, kumara, hazelnut crumble, cherry glaze, whiskey coffee gel ($40.00). My friend joked and asked where the rest of his carrots were as they mostly appeared to be the tops. I jokingly replied that they were on the lamb dishes.Maugers lamb back strap, braised baby leek, roasted garlic crushed, roasted Kipfler potato, eggplant caviar, chilli fig, rosemary jus ($39.00). I was really disappointed with the portion sizes; there was just two tiny pieces of lamb for almost 40 bucks, I’m glad we came in with a voucher. Marseille bouillabaisse, today’s market fish, cold water langoustine, scallop, saffron rouille ($40.00). I loved the intense prawn head flavour throughout the soup base and it had nice meaty seafood textures to compliment but it is these same aspects that made my friend not like her main. It goes to show each to their own.Desserts~

Chestnut bitter chocolate torte, raspberry egg, espresso and hazelnut ice cream ($21.00).Lemon panna cotta, rhubarb foam, coconut parfait, lime cannoli ($18.00). This had way too much gelatin in it, we could tell from the moment it was placed down in front of us with its stiff movement.Blood orange and almond pudding, lychee sorbet, pomegranate ($21.00). We had to remind the waitress that this dessert came with lychee sorbet and she rushed back into the kitchen to have it added.Toffee apple tea cake, camomile  ice cream ($18.00). I liked how the cake looked like a cross between a toffee apple and a real apple but made the cake very messy and difficult to eat. The cake’s sweetness comes from its sticky toffee coating which was balanced by the ice cream.House cheese: aerated Manuka honey blue, lavender Bergamot, rosemary and thyme labna, local Camembert, local goat’s cheese, selection of breads and crackers ($26.00). The last cheese platter I ate/stole from was amazing (see my post here) but I left most of this on the platter. I found some of the cheese bland while some of the other cheeses were pungent, especially the goats cheese.We definitely got our money’s worth considering my three courses was more expensive than the voucher for two people. The food quality was okay, but definitely nowhere near the calibre of which they had advertised to be (it is supposed to be a hatted restaurant by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide). It was a shame because they started the night off so strong with our entrees.

I think everything sounded really fancy on paper but the execution missed the mark and therefore the prices are too high for the actual food quality. I wouldn’t come here again considering there is so much good food around the Bowral area.

Venue: Katers restaurant

Address: Kater Rd, Sutton Forest, NSW

Phone: (02) 4860 3102

 

Katers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gumnut patisserie is a must!

I will stop and talk to anyone who will listen to rave about Gumnut Patisserie. The last three things I’ve eaten from there was phenomenal. Sorry about the price uncertainty, I was too excited about my baked goods to notice.

The award winning vanilla slice ($6.00?) was fabulous, ticking all the boxes by having great pastry, a rich custard topped with a sweet marbled icing.Caramel and macadamia tart ($30.00?). My great friends took a stab in the dark when choosing my birthday cake but little did they realise that this is my favourite tart from the patisserie. The whole tart is generously studded with macadamias, embedded in a not too sweet caramel which leaves you wanting more.Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce ($32.00?). I asked how to serve it and they said to microwave each individual slice and just to spoon on a helping of sauce and it just melted perfectly. The pudding wasn’t dense and overly sweet like you would  get in a Sara Lee version, it was more of a tall fluffy cake studded with dates.Catch them at their various locations in Bowral, Berrima and Mittagong.
Gumnut Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Centennial Vineyards re-run

It had been years since my last visit to Centennial Vineyards and yet I vividly remember the beautiful surrounds, the amazing food presentation and the lovely company I was with. I wanted to share this experience with TimmyC and some very close friends, so when we found ourselves booking a weekend away in Bowral, it was definitely one of the first places that I booked.

The menu had many crowd pleasers and that made it difficult to decide what to order, but TimmyC chose all three of his courses within two minutes of looking at the menu. I adjusted my order knowing that TimmyC was a light weight and I would get to try his meals as well.

Amuse Bouche~

Curried parsnip soup. A nice way to start the meal. It reminded me of the curry pasta from Continental range, but it was very smooth and silky.Grazing~

Pulled lamb shoulder, flat bread, yoghurt and mint jelly (2 pieces $15.00).Entree~

The Centennial tasting slate salmon, pork terrine, goats cheese tart, cauliflower soup, rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto, chicken pate with a crouton ($24.00). An option for the indecisive, so I obviously chose it as my entree as it had a nice range of things to taste. I can sense that my taste buds are changing and now I’m more open to pate and the like but still my favourite was the tart or the terrine, while my friend really enjoyed the rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto.

Seared scallops, bacon relish, apple and radish salad ($24.00). A perfect combination of juicy scallops and bacon with a little bit of sweetness from the apple. Definitely my pick of entrees if I didn’t want to try a bit of everything.Pasta~

Rotolo pasta of braised lamb, feta, olives and eggplant, romesco sauce ($29.00). I have never seen a pasta served like this and from afar it almost looked like lamb served with a big bone in. My friend enjoyed his pasta but the serve was on the smaller side.Main~

Cider braised pork belly, caramelised applies, sage and onion puree, smoked ham hock crouqette, crispy crackling ($38.00). The crackling was super crispy as promised and it provided a good contrasting texture to the ridiculously tender fall apart pork. This was definitely a winter warmer dish with all the rich components and very filling portion.Butchers weekly choice cut (Sirloin) cooked to your liking served with watercress, cafe de Paris butter and onion rings ($40.00). I would have much rather a lightly dressed salad if they insisted on greenery but instead they chose watercress and a lot of it. I really enjoyed the onion rings, they were well crumbed and crunchy without being overly oily. The steak was okay, I didn’t think it was well seasoned but that’s where handfuls of chips between each bite came in handy. I think I had food envy from the people who ordered the pork belly.Slow cooked duck leg, Centennial Pinot Noir sauce, crumbed beetroot gnocchi, Tuscan cabbage and bacon ($37.00)Sides~

Cauliflower and cheese gratin ($9.00). A nice cheesy cauliflower gratin, what’s there not to like?

Fries with Dijon mustard mayonnaise ($9.00). Came out hot and fresh from the kitchen and definitely went well with my steak.Desserts~

Banoffee ice cream sundae ($16.00). This was a delicious dessert with generous portions but I would not have called it a banoffee anything. With all the different ice creams and caramel sauce, it really just reminded us of a sundae.Trio of chocolate mousse ($16.00). I felt that the milk chocolate mousse was so light and silky, it quickly became my favourite amongst the trio, although the dessert as a whole was visually stunning. It isn’t a large dessert for the price but my friend and I still had to share since the entree and main sizes were ample.Everyone really enjoyed all of their courses but for me it didn’t live up to what I remembered it a few years ago. I don’t know if they have changed chefs, but the food wasn’t as good even though it still stands for a stunning backdrop for a wedding (the main dining area is always set up for a wedding as it is a popular choice for a venue). The service was very attentive and friendly. Though they made several mistakes on the bill, they were more than happy to adjust it.

Centennial Vineyards Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Who’s a lucky girl?

I am!

After celebrating my birthday all month-long, it was really topped off this week! My work mates decorated my work space, making it look like I was walking into a school dance and then threw a big morning tea on my actual birthday day with lots of delicious cakes and tasty cheeses. Some other friends then took me out to a fabulous lunch at Da Rosario in the city and I finished off the day with TimmyC who surprised me by taking me out to Lantern Rooms for dinner.

Celebrations continued north as I headed up to Sydney on Friday and had dinner at Mr. Wong in the CBD, followed by watching The Lion King musical at the Capitol theatre. Saturday was spent leisurely enjoying a lunch at Berowra Waters Inn followed by a big Chinese banquet with all the seafood trimmings and finished with a birthday cake from Gelato Messina, which was no small feat getting it to the restaurant before it melted (thank you sis)!

Today, TimmyC and I went to Bowral to go catch lunch at the ‘bar’ side of Biota and it happened to be their market day (I’ve always wanted to go). Despite catching them during the tail end of the event, it didn’t stop me from buying fresh local produce, wonderful homemade dips and obtaining pies and relish from another place that I’ve been wanting to visit – The two skinny cooks, who happened to have a stall there.

When we drove back to Canberra, a friend of mine went to the trouble of getting me macarons and my favourite dessert of all time ‘Endless Love’, all the way from Lux bite in Melbourne. I’m now trying to write some blog posts before my eyes and body shut down into a food coma. I am super grateful for all the people who are in my life, they celebrate the good times with me and pick me up when I am down.

Needless to say, I had a fantastic weekend.

Biota- dining

                            bio·ta noun: “Animals and plant life of a particular region.” 

Ta-da! Like I promised, my Biota-dining in Bowral post. This restaurant is spacious and lovely inside. We were warmly greeted and seated near the kitchen area where we had prime seats to see the chefs preparing our dishes. They have a private dining room at the other side of the restaurant where they have TVs set up so you can watch the kitchen preparing the plates and not miss out on the action.

It was inspiring to see so much care was taken on presentation. Each leaf/vegetable/ garnish was placed onto the plate deliberately in a particular way with large forceps.

Before I had even started looking at the menu (I was too busy taking photos and taking in the lovely setting) we were served with fresh warm bread

‘eggs on toast’- compliments from the kitchen. How lovely, while you’re browsing the menu you get to eat delicious fresh warm bread served with a quail egg dusted in garlic ash sitting in a creamy sauce. Not a bad way to start the dining experience.    p.s. love the bowl!

This was my entree– banana prawns, cured scallop broth, cucumber with green tea and dill seeds. Wow this was very delicious and everything from the prawn to the cucumber tasted so fresh!

My partner’s entree– barbecued calamari, tuna ham dressed with sugar snap peas, celery and kohlrabi. This looked beautiful like artwork! I didn’t mind his entree but much preferred my own.

Pinapple with snow- compliments from the kitchen. Lovely palate cleanser.

Crackling pork neck, broccolini, amaranth cooked with blackened onions and licorice- the pork meat is very caramalised and sticky which made the inside a little dry but it was still very nice.

Lamb rump in olive caramel, baked carrots, oat milk, hazelnut and garlic ash- The oat milk and hazelnut made this a very unsual dish but delicious none the less. It takes great skill to get me to eat brussels sprouts so hats off to the kitchen.

After our mains were taken away, a waiter came to ‘de-crumb’ out table with a folded napkin bound together with a sprig of rosemary and cute tray to capture the crumbs. It made me giggle because I’ve never seen that before in a restaurant.

Dessert time! Caramel pear, raw cacao ice cream, warm buckwheat and malt- The chocolate chunks were so light and airy- almost like homemade ‘aero bars’. The creamy ice-cream was a refreshing contrast to the sweet caramalised pear. The wafer log was unbelievably light and delicate.

Cold infusion of eucalyptus, blood plums, rhubarb and hibiscus preserve, native lime- A very unique dessert with all flavours being very floral and fresh. A dessert for the adventurous at heart.

Traditional italian thick hot milk chocolate (left)– when I saw the size of the hot chocolate, I knew it was going to be strong! Just imagine stirring cocoa into hot milk at a 4:1 ratio. I couldn’t finish it, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to sweet and it was also a little lumpy.

biota ‘fairtrade’ coffee (right)– my partner said that the coffee was a bit bitter and not the best he has had.

The warm atmosphere at ‘biota-dining’

The relaxed atmosphere of the ‘biota-lounge’ with a more ‘down to earth’ menu. I would love to come back and try the ‘biota-lounge’ menu, the croquettes and mini wagyu burgers sounds delicious!

The lovely tranquil surroundings makes it an ideal nice stop/overnight stay/day trip from Sydney/Wollongong/Canberra.

They even have their own vegetable garden at the side, no wonder everything tastes so fresh and delicious!

Their menu often changes so check out the website (which is very lovely btw) for the current menu. The photos on there are stunning.

Biota Dining on Urbanspoon