Having lived in Blackheath when I was younger, and with my mum’s business and house still there, I try to visit the area at least once a month. Although Blackheath is packed with cafes and restaurants, the food in most of these places are sub-par, which is such a shame when some of NSW’s best produce comes from the Blue Mountains. That’s where Ashcrofts is different.
Taken over by renowned chef Adrian Hunt around 2 years ago, Ashcrofts prides itself on serving only the best, seasonal and local produce of the Blue Mountains. The menu changes according to the availability of the produce – just the way it should be. Flavours are paired so beautifully together, and the quality of the produce is beyond anything you can find in the Mountains. Plus, the food is served by extremely friendly and warm staff making each dish even more enjoyable.
To start off, we chose the 14 Hour Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Carrot Puree, Roasted Organic Carrots, Roasted Pearl Onions, Puffed Barley and a Grain Mustard and Cider Jus ($22). The pork belly itself was incredibly crispy, and so flavoursome inside. Paired perfectly with the carrots and jus, this dish was a huge standout of the night.
For entrée we also chose the Oak Smoked, Crispy, Confit Chicken with a 62 Degree Hens Egg, Chicken Liver and Madeira Parfait and a Hartley Truffle Infused Foam ($22). Having followed Adrian’s truffle hunt in Hartley on Instagram, I was definitely more than keen to try these renowned truffles. Using the truffles in the foam on this dish was perfect – adding a subtle truffle flavour that always goes so well with chicken. The egg was cooked to absolute perfection, adding an extra element of richness to the dish. But the real star of this dish was the chicken liver parfait. Much like a paté in its flavours, yet as light and creamy as custard. I wanted to order a plate of this with some crostini and eat myself into oblivion!
For a main, I chose the Hand Made Goats Cheese and Parmesan Stuffed Gnocchi, Swiss Brown Mushrooms, Toasted Pine Nuts, Raisins, Capers, Roasted Butternut Puree and Beurre Noisette ($36). This dish was absolutely indescribable. The gnocchi itself was by far one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life – and I have definitely eaten a lot! The gnocchi was huge, filled with the most incredible goats cheese that simply melted in my mouth. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection, and the butternut puree added even more creaminess that just put me into my own little food heaven.
We also ordered the Kanimbla Valley Beef Tenderloin with Slow Braised Wagyu Beef Shoulder, Baby Carrots, Baby Radishes, Pearl Onions, Sautéed Pea Tendrils and Red Wine Jus ($38). The beef itself was so tender it melted in your mouth, paired perfectly with the sweetness of the radishes and onions. The beef shoulder simply fell apart and gave extra fatty creaminess to the dish that just topped it off!
The final main was a Pan Roasted Lamb Rump, Slow Braised Oak Smoked Lamb Neck, Roasted Onions, Pea and Mint Puree, Golden Potato Fondants and Roasted Garlic Jus ($38). The flavours of this dish were exactly like the classic Sunday roast, however a lot fancier! The lamb was cooked to perfection, with a little fat to keep the moistness in an otherwise dry meat. The pea and mint puree cut through the lamb rump and neck perfectly, and always made better with a potato fondant or two.
Of course, dessert is always on the cards. First up was the Zokoko Dark Chocolate Marquise with Popcorn Infused Ice Cream, Peanut Praline, Dark Chocolate Mouse, Vanilla Anglaise and Chocolate Honeycomb ($18). The marquise was like nothing I have ever had before – it was dense and rich, I just could not understand how it was made with no air in sight! The saltiness of the ice cream really set off the richness of the marquise, complemented with a crunchy honeycomb that really made this dish a party in the mouth.
This was a special dish made for my egg and daily intolerant sister – being entirely vegan! As a side note, if you have any allergies, Ashcrofts is super adaptable and will always cater for any dietary requirements (I originally ate here when I was vegan and Adrian designed an entirely vegan menu for me!). This was extremely light and fresh, being exactly what you want after such a large meal. The strawberry sorbet and strawberry coulis was incredible – you could really tell how good the quality of the local strawberries were!
And last but not least, the favourite dessert of the night was the Calvados and Vanilla Parfait, Caramelised Apple Parfait, Candied Green Apples, Pistachio Praline and Compressed Puff Pasty ($18). The apple sorbet was so refreshing – almost like I was eating a frozen apple. The parfait with the puff pastry was absolutely delicious, and made even better with the caramelised apple parfait. Pure perfection!
Being my second time to Adrian’s restaurant, I knew what to expect. However, I was truly blown away with my recent meal here, even superseding any fine dining experience I’ve had in Sydney recently. I cannot recommend this place enough to anyone visiting the Blue Mountains, especially if you’re looking to sample some of the fine produce of the area.
18 Govetts Leap
Hours: Thursday to Saturday 6pm – late, Sunday 12pm – late