On our recent two night stay in the Blue Mountains, I was adamant that I wanted to visit Leura Garage for a meal. It had come highly recommended for innovative and modern cuisine, the like of which is reportedly difficult to find in the more traditional Blue Mountains. I found it easy to convince K as all it took was for me to mention that wine consultant Peter Bourne (a good friend of his father’s) had chosen the wine list and he was raring to go.
Located just off the main tourist drag, Leura Garage is a funky and unique cafe that caters to locals and tourists alike. Decorated to look like a refurbished service garage, it’s very family friendly with four families dining there at the same time as us. If you get a table outside, it’s a great place to people watch as well, especially as people arrive and try to get a table. At times there can be a queue five or six groups deep – make sure to arrive early (around 12pm for lunch) to ensure that you get a table without waiting for too long.
Service was prompt and attentive, and before long we had our orders taken and our drinks on the table.
“House citrus & spice infused brandy with a Mudgee, Spanish red wine blend” (500ml carafe), $18
The sangria was quite strong and fresh, unlike the sangria that I am apt to make at home for social gatherings. I tend to weaken the strength of the alcohol by adding a spritzer such as lemonade to the mix (as well as a lot more fruit!), which makes it more easily drinkable for a backyard BBQ. The strength of Leura Garage’s version of sangria means that this is definitely a carafe that needs to be shared between two, especially if one intends on operating heavy machinery after the meal!
“Quinoa, Smoked Trout, Roasted Fennel, Peppers, Pickled Quail Eggs and Celantro Salad”, $19
I really haven’t eaten much quinoa in my time, so I didn’t quite know what to expect with this dish…but it probably wasn’t this presentation! My idea of a salad includes lots of green leaves, and somewhat messy presentation. The precision of this salad was quite the antithesis of what I imagined, and was quite attractive in its own way. The highlight was definitely the strength of the flavours in the peppers – the smokiness of the trout didn’t cut through the dish as much as I had hoped it would.
“Home Made Gnocchi, Napolitana Pancetta & Feta”, $23
Gnocchi is one of those food items that is consistently on my “one day, I’ll make this at home” list. It seems like such a simple item, yet it can be so hard to get right, as evidenced by the many times I’ve eaten terrible versions in restaurants. Leura Garage’s gnocchi was delightful though, light and not too heavy, and it really absorbed the flavourful pancetta in this dish.
“Leura Garage Tarte”, $13 (tarte of the day: strawberry)
Truthfully? Not an amazing tarte. I’ve had similar, if not better, tartes for better prices at smaller continental bakeries and pastry shops. The highlight of this tarte was probably the chocolate coated inside of the pastry, but that wasn’t enough to redeem the less-than-sweet strawberries and runny custard. I recommend skipping dessert at Leura Garage and heading up the road to Josophan’s Fine Chocolates for some artisan chocolates to satiate your sugar cravings.
Overall, I rate Leura Garage an 8 out of 10. It offers an atmosphere and range of menu options unmatched by 95% of other eateries in the area, and for that alone is well worth a visit the next time you are in the Blue Mountains.