My usual personal rule is that if Google maps say the venue is over one hour from home then I won’t attend for a review UNLESS it is something I would be insane to miss. PINS ON LURLINE, in Katoomba, is exactly two hours from my place. My first reaction wasn’t in the positive but then I had an idea….. grab a mate, make a day trip of it, check out The Three Sisters, re-visit my old fave, THE PARAGON, check out the Pub we used to own and live in, THE ALEX (in Leura), and then enjoy this beautiful restaurant for lunch before some antiquing on the way home. Good friend Lady Claire was in and the Mountains’ Day Trip V1.0 commenced. Our day lasted for 12hrs – it was momentous and one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.
Big thanks to the folks at the venue and The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide for this wonderful opportunity.
PINS ON LURLINE VENUE:
The heritage venue is a wonderful homestead with a lot of Blue Mountains history. Built by HA Bundy in 1898, the house was originally called Rubyston, and was used as a furnished letting house. In 1911 it was a small private school, from 1921 to 1932 it was ran as a guest-house and it was in 1931 it was renamed Pine Court. During the Pine Court era the 1885 St Hilda’s Anglican Church Hall was dismantled and reassembled on the property as a dining hall. Not long after this it changed hands for the fourth time to the Thompson family and remained there for nearly 50yrs but in this time the property deteriorated.
In the 1980s it was lovingly restored by Matthew Jones and opened as the Lurline Cottage Tearoom (this was when I was living in Leura). In the 90s it was the Swiss Cottage Restaurant with added overnight accommodation. Then in 2012 it was purchased again and finally named PINS ON LURLINE and ran as a Japanese, Australian and Italian restaurant. Then boom – it’s 2016 and the final purchase occurs by the current owners. They are focusing on fine Australian cuisine while embracing the history and beauty of the Blue Mountains. How is that history!!! Check out the photo in the above slideshow to see the original house. I just love the history behind it. You can feel it in the walls and if only they could talk!!
Our service from Deb was exceptional. Sadly for PINS ON LURLINE we visited on a very hot and very windy day in the Blue Mountains. Business was terribly quiet. There was one other person dining when we arrived and they left soon after. We had Deb to ourselves and got to meet all the kitchen staff. By the end of the meal we were all basically family haha. It was great meeting and chatting to Deb and Chef Adam and the apprentice chef (I think?) Peter O’Neill who recently won GOLD at the World Skills Cookery Competition for his Ginger and Passionfruit Stack Dessert, down below! He also whipped up a surprise dessert of spiced nuts wrapped in gold leaf mint they presented at the end of the meal with Prosecco – you could say we were well and truly spoiled.
The menu is what I would call Modern Country Australian. Seafoods and meats, Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, Risotto, Kangaroo and Mudcake among a lot of other beautiful fine dining dishes. Head Chef Adam Shaw has developed a menu that uses fresh local produce, showcasing modern Australian cuisine and is in keeping with the traditions of the Blue Mountains area. Most of the produce is local and their wine menu is also sourced as close as possible with wines from Mudgee, Orange & The Hunter Valley.
If you are stuck for what to order I can’t recommend the Tasting Menus enough – there is a Carnivore one and a Vegetarian one. $80- and $75- respectively. Wine matching is an extra $30-.
To kick off we ordered wines. A Rowlee Pinot Gris 2015, from Orange, for me and a Windowrie “Eye Chart” Preservative Free Shiraz from Cowra for Lady Claire. We were then served…..
- Zucchini Flowers filled with ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, cranberries and fig, served with capsicum cream sauce
- Scallops with lemon gel, radish and spiced mayo and an orange and ginger sauce
The Scallops were the winner for me – so divine with the citrus flavouring. The Zucchini flowers were also delicious – something I tend to always order and wasn’t disappointed. I can imagine them grown a few doors down, in someone’s backyard, they were so fresh.
For the mains I moved on to a Manners Tempranillo from Hilltops, NSW and Lady Claire stayed on water as she was driving. Lucky me :).
- Eye Fillet served with Pave potato, house made Tomato relish, Broccolini, Red wine jus & your choice of Dijon cream or Truffle & Porcini butter (Claire went the Truffle of course)
Pork Belly – slow braised Pork Belly served with Truffle mash, Spiced cauliflower, Confit Cherry tomatoes & a smoky Fennel jus
Lady Claire had the Eye fillet, I scored a bite. It was a teeny bit over Medium Rare but the flavours were wonderful. A fantastic meat and veg in the country – I could have eaten both the mains, including the squash. Umami levels were delightfully high.
Now let’s talk about this Pork Belly. IT WAS INSANE!!! One of the best I have had. That separated crackling on top was heavenly and the belly itself was as tender as hand churned butter. 2017 saw me quite disappointed in bellies – so many of them were served dry and overcooked and it appeared my love for them was on the decline. The Pins on Lurline Pork Belly has restored the faith!
Now a tiny missed dish – we did order, as a side, Chargrilled Capsicum Polenta Chips but they never arrived. The food we ate was abundant and heavenly and I never followed it up so it was obviously missed in the order. No big deal – all I had to do was ask again but I chose not to.
- Cherry Ripe Cheesecake with coconut chocolate and Berry Compote
- Ginger and Passionfruit Stack – ginger biscuit, passionfruit curd and meringue served with sorbet, strawberry consommé and ginger crumbs
The cherry ripe cheesecake needed a base. It was more of a panacotta. The online menu has a Black Forrest Panacotta listed. It is possible this is in the process of transforming. It was delicious – just really needed a crunchy base.
The Ginger and Passionfruit Stack was a true delight – big gratz to Peter O’Neill for his award winning dessert. It was more solid than the pic before the shot – the curd started to soften and melt while I took pics. It was divine!!
And then they brought out some coffees and the surprise post-dessert snack I talked about earlier. The coffees are very old-school frothy cappuccino tops – not like Sydney styled lattes.
The venue did ask if I could think of any. There were two and I told them on the day. Firstly the need for cloth napkins is essential in a fine dining venue. The good news is that they were already on order and will be there by now! Secondly the venue was playing dance music and it didn’t suit. It yearned for peaceful quartet styled music or even more along the lines of meditation music. And Claire added a suggestion – why not on the wall space exhibit local artist’s paintings and have them for sale – this would add to the cultural embracing of the Blue Mountains. And finally, he website needs an update – it doesn’t match the current printed menus.
PINS ON LURLINE is near perfection. The food, the location, and the historical venue are a marvel and worthy of a visit to the Blue Mountains. 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 1/1 bonus
Pins on Lurline Deets:
PH: 02 4782 2281
132 Lurline Street, Katoomba NSW
6.00pm to 10.00pm – Every Night
12.00pm to 2.00pm – Saturday and Sunday
10% surcharge applies to all Public Holidays and Sunday service
TAKEAWAY: No – maybe coffee
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – limited
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – limited
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment and/or any PR agencies representing them. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such ***
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