Many of you may not know that deep down, I am a mountains girl at heart. Since living in the Upper Blue Mountains whilst I was young, I have always felt that it was home, and luckily my mum still lives there so I can visit as often as I want! So when Mother’s Day came around, it was natural for us to find somewhere to wine and dine mum in the mountains, this time being Darley’s at Lilianfels in Katoomba.
Lilianfels is the place if you want to visit the Blue Mountains in style. Known for its stunning location and luxury accommodation, Lilianfels will cost you a small fortune, but is definitely worth it. And most importantly, you’re right next to arguably one of the best restaurants to ever hit the mountains.
Now despite the number of cafés and restaurants constantly opening in the area, I must admit the food is not of the highest calibre in the mountains, and visitors are often disappointed with the spread. Thank the lord for the refreshing breath of air that is Darley’s! Set in a stunning old converted home, Darley’s brings a little glamour to Katoomba. And if the décor isn’t enough for you, they have even personalised the plates! Being a Saturday night, the restaurant was bustling so I would definitely recommend booking well in advance (we booked 2 weeks before).
After being seated and our drink orders taken (they have a very impressive wine list) we were straight onto the menu! Darley’s focuses on local and seasonal produce, listing the specific producers of which their ingredients are sourced (big kudos!). It is their attention to detail and support of local producers that has earned the restaurant multiple awards, including their first hat! We were definitely in for a treat.
We were eased in with a complimentary amuse bouche; Marinated Kingfish with Sesame Cream and Bonito Jelly. This was the perfect invitation to the night, tantalising our senses with the interesting flavour of the bonito jelly against the creaminess of the sesame. Boy were we excited!
For entrée I opted for the 62 Degree Wolgan Valley Egg, Jerusalem Artichoke Purée, Artichoke Chips, Pine Mushrooms, Torn Croutons and a Pea Foam. I seriously cannot say one bad thing about this dish. The egg was cooked to perfection, exploding to mix with the pea foam and artichoke purée, giving me a delicious mouthful of heaven. Just speechless.
Unfortunately my main options were limited, only having one non-meat dish on the night. However, I wasn’t by any means disappointed. For main I had the Pan Seared John Dory, Parsley Root Cream, Globe Artichokes, Smoked Tomato, Broad Beans, Crisp Mussels and Anchovy Butter. This again was absolutely delicious. I will note I wasn’t exactly blown away like I was with the entrée but the fish was perfect, accompanied with a fish anchovy butter that gave me the perfect comfort food I was craving in the mountains weather.
And finally, my favourite part – onto the desserts. My order was the Quince Tarte Tatin with a Salted Lemon Foam, Macaroon Crumble, Cardamom and Woodford Honey Ice Cream. This was just spectacular. The honey ice cream added extra sweetness and richness to the stunning tarte, offset by the crunchy crumble which just made me want to climb inside and live in that bowl forever. Seriously.
We also ordered the Poire William Ice Cream with Pear Granita, Walnut Crumble and Chestnut Cream. This too was knock-your-socks-off good, but after that tarte…nothing compares to youuuuuu (sorry).
Darley’s is a must-visit if you’re heading up for a weekend in the Blue Mountains. At $125 per head for 3 courses, it’s not for a casual visit. However if you’re wanting to impress a special someone or are just like me, and want to live in a fantasy world where I can eat a 3 course dinner every night, do it! Even if it’s to visit the stunning house it’s situated in and sample their fantastic regional wines, Darley’s is now on my favourites list! X
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 6pm-10:30pm