The Weekender: Bowral, NSW
Bowral – The town of fine dining, wineries and Australia’s best pies.
Looking for another perfect escape for the weekend? Whether it’s a day trip or an overnight stay, Bowral is the perfect getaway – especially for you foodie, wine lovers & explorers.
A dining experience you won’t forget.
Biota Dining is a beautiful, clean line, Scandi-chic restaurant found on Kangaloon Road. As you walk in you know you’ve entered a new kind of modern, fine dining experience. The room is vast, yet warm and centres around a large wine station in the middle of the room. It’s a well spaced restaurant with methodical table placement, yet it doesn’t feel lonely or cold. As you wait for the menu, you can eagerly watch the chefs in action through the open kitchen. And when that menu arrives, boy are you in for a big surprise! The menu usually changes weekly, occasionally daily, depending on the beautiful fresh produce the chefs use.
You can opt for a 5 Course ($100pp) or 7 Course ($155pp) sitting and add matching wines if you wish. The menu is filled with exotic and modern twists, but we guarantee you will leave impressed! Our absolute highlights were the Steamed Sandcrab Custard with winter sea vegetable, and the Beef Rib Meat with Smoked Prunes and Chicory. Tiny dishes, but flavours that you won’t forget. Another skill set Biota has mastered: desserts – their Quince & Butter Ice-cream and Mandarin Surprise were out of this world! Just make sure you book, they are always busy.
Biota Dining, 18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral NSW 2576
Ok, so for some more fine dining you must try the beautiful Eschalot. It’s located in the historic village of Berrima and operates from one of the most significant heritage buildings in the area. The stunning house divides the restaurant into elegant dinning rooms to ensure a sophisticated and quiet fine dining experience. A large vegetable garden surrounds the restaurant, which is where the chefs source as much of their produce as possible.
But let’s get back to the dishes… every bite we took was delicious! Of course we had highlights; our recommendations include the Scallops marinated in squid ink, cucumber cornichon gel and potato crisp or Semolina linguine, spanner crab, shellfish roe beurre blanc for entree, and the Lamb rump, white bean puree, olive, preserved lemon & broccolini for main. You won’t be disappointed!
Eschalot, 24 Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW 2577
The Press Shop Cafe
The prettiest cafe in Bowral – but make sure you get in early, this one is always busy! The Press Shop offers a unique cafe experience where you can enjoy delicious coffee, colourful lattes, freshly made meals and sweet treats, as well as gorgeous stationery. Could the combination get any better? The space is an accumulation of a design studio, print studio, letterpress stationery store and cafe all contained within the one beautiful space. Most days you can even watch their vintage presses in action!
One of the standout features is the heavy curved door – a stunning feature which is the quintessential English inspired finish. Make sure to pop by for breakfast and order the Potato gnocchi with Mittagong train tunnel mushrooms , calvo Nero and a fried egg ($21). The gnocchi is incredibly light and fluffy yet slightly charred, and perfectly paired with the bitterness of the calvo nero. We can’t deny it – pasta for breakfast is always a win.
Forget everything you thought you knew about pies. The Gumnut Patisserie’s pies will truly blow your mind. It’s no secret, hence why you could be waiting up to 45minutes in a queue on a long weekend- but we assure you, it’s well worth it. Owners Tracy and Vicki Nickl are Pastry Chefs of the Southern Highlands, utilizing the finest of ingredients, combing tradition and pride to craft exquisite pastries, deserts and pies with no compromise on quality.
The Gumnut Patisserie has numerous pies that will leave you wanting more. Our ultimate must try pies include; The Eden, Lamb & Rosemary, Chicken & Leek, and surprisingly the Roast Vegetable Pie. We can’t stress to you further how amazing these pies are!!
Harry’s on Green Lane
Harry’s on Green Lane is our No.1 spot for a drink in Bowral. The cosy & stylish venue is the perfect eclectic mix of nostalgia, cool vibes and a splash of the old world. From the sky high ceilings, to windy nooks and crannies filled with books, mismatched lamps, portraits and cane furniture, Harry’s is the perfect spot to escape the cold and sip on delicious wine and cocktails. It’s open daily from 10am so you can spend all day there if you wish. Sit back, relax and sip on a full bodied red and unwind after your bustling day around Bowral.
Southern Highlands Brewing & Taphouse
A little further out of Bowral you’ll find the trendy and fairly newly renovated brewery, The Taphouse. Home to flowing beer, patterned tiles, wood, wrought iron and many patrons. An extremely popular venue, it is the perfect location for both large groups or an intimate setting. They have an extensive beverage list,including craft beer, as well as some extremely delicious pub meals. Our two must eat dishes include the Grass-fed T-Bone Steak (400g) with Café de Paris Butter and Pommes Frites ($38) – honestly one of the best T-Bone steaks we have EVER eaten- and the Beef Porter Pie with Potato Mash and Mushy Peas ($25).
Surveyor General Inn
Meet the Surveyor General Inn – Australia’s oldest continuously licensed inn!
This quirky charmer is filled to the brim with history, sandstone, wood and the smell of a crackling fire. The original taproom is still the main bar, with it’s stone walls, pressed timber and metal ceilings, and features an 80 year old carved cedar bar. If you’re looking for a pub feed you can’t go past the Bush Ranger’s Bistro, with a traditional barbecue area and an extensive a la carte menu. The beer garden is another highlight spotted with long benches, umbrellas and oak barrels. This is the perfect spot to pop to after your fine dining experience at Eschalot. Head down for a drink, some live music and be challenged to a game of darts with one of the locals.
Centennial Vineyards is located just a few minutes from Bowral. The Vineyard is over 760m in altitude which means that grapes ripen slowly and have an enhanced flavour and intensity. It’s so high up in Winter it can snow here! Centennial grow numerous types of grapes across their 80 acres of vines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Albarino, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo. The Chardonnays are some of our favourites – light yet buttery. Pop by for a tasting at the cellar door.
Artemis Wines is a stunning family run winery who were the first to plant Pinot Noir in the region (thank God for them). The vineyard reaches altitudes between 600 – 700m which assists in growing beautiful grapes in the sub-temperate climate. The winemakers here focus on using a blend of the old world and new world wine making techniques making each bottle unique and of complex flavour. Not only can you enjoy their delicious wines, you can gorge on local produce (cheese & charcuterie boards) and on Sundays wood fired pizzas. Do we need to say more?
Tertini Wines is one of the most renowned wineries found in the Southern Highlands. Known for their exceptional Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay, this is a spot wine lovers cannot miss. The family run winery have a simple philosophy; to create the finest possible, small batch wines in an unique and sustainable way. For one of the friendliest cellar door experiences you’ll need to pop by and meet Nicole and Sandy, who pride themselves in showcasing the beautiful drops on offer. There can never be too much wine, so do yourself a favour and visit Tertini.
If you like antiques, artworks or just anything quirky, Dirty Janes is an absolute must. Run by the dynamic father daughter duo, Athol Salter and Jane Crowley, Dirty Janes offers you a museum like shopping experience, except you can touch absolutely everything! From collectables, furs, clothes and books, to sculptures, furniture and jewellery there is nothing you cannot find. And if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s still an entertaining experience as your senses are overloaded with colour. Once you get a little tired from all your exploring, you can pop by the Tea Salon for a little break. Sip your favourite tea blend from fine bone china cups and saucers whilst enjoying delicious scones, jam and cream. Shopping, tea and scones all in one go, how could you not love it?
After a weekend of pies, wine, fine dining and a hit to the ol’wallet, why not shake it up with a little outdoor fun which only costs a friendly $4.
The beautiful Fitzroy Falls is found in Morton National Park. Walk through the visitors centre, along the bush track, and you’ll find yourself at the breathtaking lookout where you will witness the beautiful waterfall plunging over 80m to the valley below. It’s an ideal base to explore the lush escarpment country of the Southern Highlands between Robertson and Nowra. Continue a little further along the track (300m-600m or so) and you’ll discover the Twin Waterfall lookouts- two smaller, yet beautiful lookouts across the valley. Word of warning, don’t eat at the Visitor Centre, it’s a little overpriced and the food is not as fabulous as in town.
Southern Highlands Markets
The Southern Highlands know how to do markets. They run them so well it’s likely there’ll be one on every weekend. With a mix of markets including public school, village and evening/night markets on alternate Saturdays and Sundays you’ll have a number of opportunities to source delicious produce, wine, arts and crafts, baked good and locally made furniture from Bowral, Bundanoon, Berrima, Moss Vale and more!