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Escarpment Group, Blue Mountains: indulgent dining on the edge

Local and regional produce is served throughout Escarpment Group properties

Local and regional produce is served throughout Escarpment Group properties

 

 

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group                                        Photos: David Hill

Discerning foodies seeking to savour the flavour of crisp Blue Mountains air and earthy tones of the Central West will find it in every bite served at Escarpment Group properties.

With few exceptions, food and wine served at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Lodges & Gardens is sourced from within a 100 mile (160km) radius of the kitchen and served to a delectable standard.

Executive Chef of Darley's Restaurant Lee Kwiez.

Executive Chef of Darley’s Restaurant Lee Kwiez.

A growing proportion of ingredients are even sourced from the 1000sqm edible garden at the Parklands property at Blackheath. Menus across Escarpment Group now carry a specially-designed logo printed next to items which include at least 80 per cent local and regional ingredients.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger, himself a career chef, compared the Blue Mountains food scene to that of northern Italy: “The food I have tasted up here is absolutely sensational.

“Our eventual aim is total fruit, vegetable and herb sustainability for all kitchens at all four Escarpment Group properties.

“It makes sense economically, it fits in with our business ethos and our guests expect it.’’

Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg

Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg

 

Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg, whose team served 21,000 guests during May alone, said: “Things I can buy locally I will buy locally for my kitchen.

“We roughly know what type of produce is around at what time of year and we talk to suppliers about what’s coming up. We always know that artichokes are good in autumn but don’t use asparagus because it’s not in season here and comes from Peru or Mexico.’’

All items sold at the Hydro Majestic Pavilion are locally sourced from areas such as Lithgow, Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.

Escarpment Group restaurants routinely use local and regional produce such as apples, chocolate, berries, herbs, bread, eggs, carrots, nuts, nasturtium flowers, tomatoes, quince, pears, plums, kale, broccoli, carbonero, trout and yabbies. Regional meat is served wherever possible.

Escarpment Group is committed to further developing the Parklands Kitchen garden and has also installed a state-of-the-art composting system which already takes all kitchen waste from Parklands and the Hydro Majestic.

Darley's Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez

Darley’s Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez

Multi award-winning Darleys Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez said: “I grew up on a thirty acre farm at East Kurrajong in the Hawkesbury so I really appreciate quality fresh food.

“It’s easy for us to serve our guests food fresh from the garden. We just send through a list of ingredients we would like to use in our menus and it is grown for us. The gardener also sends us lists of what is in the garden, as do our other local and regional suppliers and we incorporate those ingredients in our menus.’’

While he creates unique fine dining dishes for five-star guests at the hatted restaurant, the underlying influence on Kwiez’s cooking is his childhood.

“Mum was cooking shepherd’s pie when I was 14 or 15 and I thought `I want to be a chef’. For me, it’s all about the flavour – it’s all about the yum. Simple.

“Freshness, seasonality and locally grown: there’s not much of a carbon footprint because you’re not hauling vegetables from here to Sydney and then back again. We’re also looking after other local businesses.’’

(l-r) Darley's Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez and Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg at the Parklands kitchen garden

(l-r) Darley’s Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez and Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg at the Parklands kitchen garden

Mr Bruegger said Escarpment Group was committed to regional produce in its delivery of high-end tourism and hospitality on a scale rarely seen in regional NSW.

“The Blue Mountains has been renowned for its innovative cuisine and fine wines for a long time and we are proud to be a part of that reputation through our established Darley’s and Echoes restaurants at our five-star properties and now the various dining venues at the Hydro Majestic.’’

The full suite of Escarpment Group dining experiences is:

Wintergarden, Hydro Majestic: The light-filled restaurant with spectacular views over the Megalong Valley offers a premium afternoon high tea and a gourmet dinner menu in refined surrounds.

Eastern High Tea in Salon du The at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Eastern High Tea in Salon du The at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Salon du The, Hydro Majestic: The Flying Fox and Cat’s Alley have united to form the Salon du The, offering a refined Asian-inspired menu and a range of cocktails and wines with magnificent views of the Megalong Valley.

The Boiler House, Hydro Majestic: Casual all-day dining featuring traditional pizza, pasta and Australian cuisine overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Echoes Restaurant & Bar: The award-winning restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine with Asian influenced menus with specially selected local and important wines. Open daily seven days a week.

Darley’s Restaurant & Bar, Lilianfels: The multi-award winning hatted venue offers modern Australian cuisine served as a la carte or degustation menus with specially selected local and imported wines.

Go to www.escarpmentgroup.com.au for more information about individual properties, events and special offers.

The historic Darley's Restaurant

The historic Darley’s Restaurant

 


Shanghai chic at Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, after the recent opening of the Salon du Thé tearoom and bar.

Decorated in rich Oriental reds, far eastern murals and luxurious furnishings, guests can rediscover the understated decadence of the Empire with a refined Asian-inspired menu and a range of cocktails and wines.

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains.

Shanghai chic has returned to the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The Salon Du Thé is part of one of the most famous spaces in one of the most famous hotels on the planet, Cats Alley in the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

“Cats Alley is often remembered as notorious for prowling women and men seeking company from ladies other than their wives. But the décor and clothing was always classy.

“With blood red walls, peacock feathers and sumptuous furnishings, Cats Alley and the adjoining Salon Du Thé have been beautifully refurbished by interior designer Peter Reeve to reflect that naughty heritage.

“And who knows what history modern guests will make in the future.’’

The Salon Du Thé has a unique ambience in addition to its magnificent views of the Megalong Valley.

A range of Eastern snacks are now available Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

A range of Eastern snacks are now available Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Visitors can lounge in high-backed chairs while nibbling on Eastern fare such as dumplings, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and Chinese twice-cooked pork belly and sipping delicately flavoured tea or a fragrant drop from the regional wine and popular beverage list.

Cat’s Alley has once again morphed into a hip bar/gin palace where elegant visitors can meet over jazz and martinis at sunset.

The venue will complement the other dining experiences across Escarpment Group properties including the Wintergarden and Boiler House Café at the Hydro Majestic, Darley’s Restaurant at Lilianfels and Echoes Restaurant & Bar.

Nearly six years in the making, the Escarpment Group has almost completed its roll-out of the Hydro Majestic Hotel exquisitely refurbished facilities.

Visitors can experience the spectacular Casino Lobby and luxurious Wintergarden, the stylish Delmonte conference and dining rooms and casual dining at the Boiler House Café and bistro.

Eastern High Tea in the Wintergarden at the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Eastern High Tea in the Wintergarden at the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

One of the grandest ballrooms in Australia, the Majestic Ballroom boasts vaulted ceilings, open fireplaces and the glamour of yesteryear for weddings and formal events.

A new addition to the Hydro Majestic property is the providores pavilion showcasing quality regional gourmet food and wine and interpretive history displays.

Also new will be the Majestic Point Lookout, picnic and market grounds, providing public access to the best views of the Megalong Valley, perfect for picnics, markets, wine fairs, music and the lost art of public promenading.

“The Hydro Majestic is one of those rare hotels that is a true global icon,’’ Mr Bruegger said.

“In a way, it belongs to the people of Australia because everyone from everyday people to celebrities and prime ministers has a story to tell about staying here.

“Blue Mountains locals have also taken ownership of the Hydro, waiting (impatiently I’m sure) for the refurbishment to be complete so they can bring their friends and family here for a meal and a show, as well as have a look themselves.’’

The Salon du Thé is open from 4pm to 10pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au for more dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

* Escarpment Group, which owns the Hydro Majestic Hotel, is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Sip cocktails while watching sunset in Cat's Alley. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Sip cocktails while watching sunset in Cat’s Alley. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media