It was way back in the early 80s, I was a little tacker in primary school living a great life in Bayview on the Northern Beaches when I was told I was moving school and would be living in a pub in Leura in the Blue Mountains, a place I had never heard of. There was a lot of kicking, screaming and hatred from an eight year old me. I think it was in 1980 my stepfather purchased the ALEXANDRA HOTEL and in 1981 we hit the road. We only lived there a little over a year but it still remains one of the greatest times in my life, a place I reminisce about regularly and a place I was eager to return to. I gathered some foodie mates and we headed off to Leura to have a yummy pub lunch.
I USED TO LIVE IN THIS PUB WHEN MY FAMILY OWNED IT:
It could nearly be said this place started my food passion. We had a grumpy Chef at the bistro in The Alex and one day he resigned on the spot. It was a small emergency but mum stepped into the kitchens and increased patronage and food quality tenfold. I would sneak in and see mum cooking, the kitchen operating, catch a little late night action of bands playing and I clearly remember seeing my first smoke machine in action, life changing. Add to that going for a ride on the back of a motorbike with a certain bike club known as the Bandidos, telling ghost stories and being scared shitless by the actual ghost that walked the upper corridors and listening to 80s music while stealing 20c coins from the tip jar to play Galaga. It was heaven and when we left I was more upset than when we arrived.
ALEXANDRA HOTEL VENUE AND HISTORY:
Originally built in 1903 and named after Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, the Alex incorporates a grandiose, traditional design masterminded by local architect F.C. Goyder, combining it with all the modern features one might expect from a destination hotel.
The real selling point of the Alex, though, is the range of views offered from its hilltop location. Whether it’s the Leura Gap, the renowned Gordon Falls or any of the Blue Mountains’ numerous rugged cliff faces, visitors can be sure they’ll wake up to a picturesque paradise. The hotel was renovated in 2014 and it is a lot more modern than when we owned it.
The front or public bar has remained untouched however and most of the fossils drinking in there and watching sport while a huge open fire roars were probably all the same people in there in the 80s. The back bar isn’t much different but the fire place seating area is a little fancier and the bistro section is amazingly rural, it is as you imagine places in the Blue Mountains should look. The outside has also had a huge makeover and the tables were installed the week we visited.
The only downside (or it could be seen as a positive for some) is that the Alexandra Hotel used to sit on the highway. It was on the corner of the highway, the turn off into Leura and it backed onto the train line – it was location location location. Now it sits a little hidden and cars don’t see it driving on to Katoomba as they go through a small bypass tunnel right in front of the venue. The immediate traffic is significantly less.
The bistro is fine dining and the dishes are mostly pub food done fine dining style. The meal is extensive and they have a Bread section, a To Graze section, Mains, Steaks, Sides, The Alex Burgers and Kid’s sections. Confit Garlic and Rosemary Salt bread looks insane – no idea why I did not order this – I am drooling just re-reading the menu! The “To Graze” section offers Soup of the Day, Wings, Burrata, Salt n’ Pepper Squid, Wings, Pate and a Salad – they all look impressive on the menu.
The mains section is huge and ranges from Fish of the Day to Beef Cheeks, Spanner Crab and Chilli Linguini to Barra, Gnocchi and a sexy sounding Panko Chicken Schnitty!!
Steaks are a 300 day grain-fed rump, sirloin and scotch fillet – all 350grms. They come with chips and salad or mash and veg. But the bonus is the choice of Café de Paris Butter or Béarnaise Sauce – I need to return just for the Scotch Fillet in butter sauce. Droooooooooooolllll
They have a Brisket Burg, a Tenderised Steak Burger and a Veggie Burger – none of these are really burgers to the letter of the law but my god they sound amazing. No patties!! I would love either of the first two thanks!!
The Kid’s Meals are basic – Nuggets, fish and chips or a Ham and Pineapple Pizza – more than enough to impress ankle biters.
WHAT WE ORDERED:
Beers, lots of Beers – they have a great selection of drinks
Slow Braised Lamb Shanks, Spiced Cous Cous, Yoghurt and Pomegranate Molasses
Chargrilled Irish Pork Sausages, Creamy Mash and Coopers Ale Onions
Suckling Pig with Beans, Mash and Apple Sauce (guessing this – no pics of the specials board – got a half pic of it at the bar)
Homemade Beef and Guinness Pie, Creamy Mash and Mushy Peas
AND WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Beers rocked – but don’t they always :).
Damn Katy and her divine Lamb Shanks – we all had meal envy for the shanks – they won best dish of the day and we all loved them. Thanks for giving us all a bite Katy!
I had the Bangers and Mash and they were divine. The heavy stock flavour from the onions and gravy paired brilliantly with the pork sausages, I was stoked with my dish.
The suckling pig read the most impressive, it looked amazing but was the most disappointing dish of the day. Claire was sad she ordered this one. It was way too dry, the cut was incredibly fiddly and I only just realised now going through the pictures. In one pic taken not long after we ordered the special was wiped off the menu, Claire literally got the last of it so sadly she didn’t get any of the better bits.
And Brendon was happy with his order. He devoured his Beef and Guinness Pie with glee. I would happily order this one myself.
It warmed the cockles of my heart returning to a venue my family owned back in the 1980s. A venue now 114yrs old with some of the best views of the Blue Mountains. The food is way up there as fantastic fine-dining pub fare. If this was in Sydney people would be fighting to get in. The Alexandra Hotel will always be a fave of mine and I cannot wait to return.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
ALEXANDRA HOTEL DEETS:
PH: 02 4782 4422
62 Great Western Hwy, Leura NSW 2780
BOOKINGS: Not a bad idea if you want to dine in the bistro – it was packed when we were there
PRICING: The most expensive meal is $32- for the Special
Daily: Confirm with Venue – there Website is being updated
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** This Meal was Paid For ***
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