Darley’s Restaurant @ Lilianfel’s, Katoomba ($$$$)

Address: Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba NSW

Tel: (020 4780 1200

Email: reservations@lilianfels.com.au

Website: http://www.darleysrestaurant.com.au/about.html

Opening Hours:  6.00pm – 10.30pm Tuesday to Saturday

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One Saturday in summer, MC and I decided to go for a drive up to the Blue Mountains to check out Darley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels.

We spent the day in the Mountains and checked out some of the usual tourist spots, including the Three Sisters (below).

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Atmosphere

After a long afternoon exploring, we headed over to Lilianfels.

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Lilianfels is a luxury Blue Mountains resort, located around the corner from some of the main attractions in Katoomba.

It features beautiful manicured gardens, tennis courts, flowers, fountains, pools and five star accommodation.

Have a look at some of our pictures of the grounds:

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Darley’s is a multi-award winning hatted restaurant located in a world heritage listed area.

The restaurant was named after Sir Frederick Darley, the sixth Chief Justice of New South Wales.  It is situated in the original Lilianfel’s house, which Darley built for his daughter Lilian, on 11 acres of land that he bought in August 1888.

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Upon entering the restaurant, you are immediately transported to another era.

A beautiful and elegant hallway featuring a bright chandelier and extravagant wallpaper leads you from the door to the private dining room, the drinks room and the dining rooms.

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Hallway

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Private dining area

MC and I were soon seated by the window overlooking the beautiful flower garden, on what had once been Darley’s verandah, but had now become a covered and air-conditioned dining area.

Service

Service was exceptional.

Our lovely waitress was very easy going yet extremely professional. She explained the menu and our choices for the three course dinner with knowledge and confidence.

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First we ordered our drinks, followed by entrees and mains, and then, dessert.

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Our water glasses were always filled up and we didn’t feel pestered to buy more drinks or order more, unlike other places I have been to.

Overall it was a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

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Food

We were served some delicious soft and warm, locally-baked bread with herbed butter that was slightly salty, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth-good.

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The bread was fantastic and we already knew we were off to a good start!

Next up we were served the amuse-bouche. Amuse-bouche means literally, “mouth amuser” in French. It is served as a means to prepare a guest for a meal and get their appetite going, whilst giving them a look into the Chef’s inspiration and direction for the meal.

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This amuse-bouche was a cucumber jelly with fresh salmon. It was light, cold and superbly refreshing. The perfect way to cleanse and prepare the palate for the flavours to come.

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For the entree I chose the Poached Queensland Spanner Crab, Dashi Custard, Fennel Puree, Asparagus Shitake Mushrooms.

The crab was perfectly cooked and the woody mushrooms and silky, delicate custard were in contrast with the crunchy asparagus.

A delightful dish which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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MC chose the Slow Cooked Pork Jowl, Maltose Crackling, Seared Scallop, Cauliflower Custard, Roasted Cauliflower and Shellfish Sauce.

Of course, we tried some of each other’s dishes and I loved how the crackling was crunchy and sweet, light a sheet of toffee, and the scallop was crunchy and golden.

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My choice for the main was the Kanimbla Valley Lamb Loin, Smoked Eggplant, Chickpea Puree, Harissa, Cracked Wheat, Cumin and Coriander seed Infused Lamb Jus.

Presentation was exquisite and the shapes on the plate created a fancy piece of artwork that was vibrant and interesting.

The diagonal grain on the lamb was so neat and the meat was perfectly cut.

The eggplant had a deep flavour and the fresh bursts of cumin and coriander broke up the creaminess of the chickpea puree.

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MC chose the Roast Fillet of Cape Grim Beef, Sarladaise Potato, Heirloom Carrots, Cauliflower Cream, Confit Shallots, Horseradish Butter, Red Wine Jus.

He upgraded to the local wagyu beef, with a marble score of 9+ for an additional $10.  And boy was it worth it. This was the best meat I have ever eaten. It was well cut, perfectly cooked (medium well, the way we like it), and so tender and juicy. It just melted in your mouth.

The vegetables were neatly cut and tidily presented, and looked cute on the plate despite being standard cauliflower, carrots and potato.

The horseradish butter and red wine jus were just the right strength to compliment the meat without overpowering it.

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For dessert I couldn’t go past the dish that combined three of my favourite fruits: mango, lychee and passionfruit.

I chose the Toasted Coconut Parfait, Mango Sorbet, Italian Meringue, Fresh mango, Passionfruit and Lychee Salad.

Apart from being, well, beautiful, the mango was very fresh, just perfectly ripe yet still firm, and still sweet.

The lychee was fresh but a little sparse, and the fresh passionfruit added some tang, complimenting the creamy meringue and the cool sorbet.

Definitely one of the most beautiful tropical dishes I have seen.

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Popcorn lover MC went for the ‘Mena Creek’, Zokoko Chocolate Mousse, Salted Caramel Fudge, popcorn Ice Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb.

The dish was lovely, so well presented and such a wonderfully inspired combination of flavours.

The popcorn ice cream was salty and tasted a little buttery, with real popcorn to add some crunch.  The mousse was light and fluffy, delicious with the sweet cookie crumb, and the dark chocolate piece was beautiful and crunchy.

Sooooo goood!

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Cost:

The three course meal on Saturday was $125 per person. Wagyu beef was an extra $10 upgrade.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  9.5
  • Food-  9.5
  • Ambience- 9
  • Value – 8

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