(N.B. Lochiel House is now under new and far inferior management so this review no longer applies)
One of my all time favourite destinations for degustation is Lochiel House at Kurrajong Heights west of Sydney. Housed in a low-ceilinged historic cottage, this two hatted restaurant is a treasure trove of taste treats. Owners Tony and Monique serve up meals using ingredients sourced either from their own garden or from the local Hawkesbury region. And every dish is both art on plate and a sensory delight.
But getting there can prove difficult. Hooning up Bellbird Hill to the familiar bell-like calls of the local bellbirds, Peachy Pops and I smelt a strange odour emanating from beneath Ravina’s bonnet. When a weird flapping noise ensued, we pulled over to investigate. The manifold was glowing orange and the whole engine looked set to explode. So we called NRMA road side assistance who were there in a flash. The mechanic pulled out his standard issue cardboard mat and slid under the vehicle for an inspection. He popped back out clutching a ragged piece of belting and asked how far we had to go. Luckily we were within 500 metres of Lochiel House which he assured us we could drive to safely.
So with Ravina’s manifold cooling in the fresh mountain air outside and our appetites stimulated by the averted catastrophe, we swooped in like a couple of seagulls and ravaged the menu with gusto.
First up, we devoured the restaurant’s signature dish of Steamed Dashi Custard with Smoked Eel, Scallops and Avruga Tartare, Sea Vegetable, Freshly Grated Truffle and Mushroom Soy – a dish fit for a High Lama if not the Dalai himself! The Celariac Souffle looked tempting too but we opted instead for A Series of Things, those things being warmed baby beetroot, housemade kefir cheese, organic chickpeas, chia carrots, coriander and cardamon Zhoug oil – wholesome but not quite as naughty and nice as the souffle would’ve been on such a winter’s night.
We took our paper thin concertinaed celariac in the main course roasted with Heidi Tilsit Cheese and sauteed exotic mushrooms. And shared a pan-seared organic Duck breast with smokey eggplant puree, fresh figs and roasted Jerusalem artichokes – scrumptious!!
Heartened by a lovely Mudgee red, we rolled on in to the valley of deserts with an amazingly fabulous warm chocolate mousse tinged with peanut pate, salted peanuts, a caramel chocolate wafer and peanut pebbles! And a quat of cum in the form of Cumquat cake, cheesecake ice cream, cumquat jam, poached cumquat and a cumquat glass followed hot on its heels – oh, joy!
Filled with this fabulous food, all made with true heart and soul, Peachy Pops and I left with our bodies aglow. The manifold, thankfully, was not so we confidently ventured forth with a promise to return at least seasonally, if not much more frequently.
1259 Bells Line Of Road
Kurrajong Heights NSW 2758
(02) 4567 7754