Monday, October 10, 2016

Pins on Lurline

It's been a long time between posts (about 3 years in fact!) and there have been countless food adventures that have gone undocumented. One recent experience has jolted me back into action.

Pins on Lurline, in picturesque Katoomba was the perfect evening stop in the Blue Mountains. About 800m from the Three Sisters/Echo Point, the restaurant is housed in the former Church Hall of a charming 118 year old house.   

Previously run by a Scottish and Japanese husband/wife team, the restaurant developed a loyal local following serving a mix of Japanese, Italian and Modern Australian. New owners, Jody and Kim took over in July 2016. Streamlining the menu, it is much more coherent and doesn't try and span too many cuisines. The focus is on high quality, seasonal produce all prepared in-house. You know you've stumbled across a good menu when there are multiple dishes competing for your choice and you just can't decide. 

House photo courtesy of Management of Pins on Lurline/TripAdvisor

Starter: House-baked rosemary and pine nut bread

After a big day, we arrived at the restaurant ravenous. Overcome by our appetites, we devoured the bread without even taking a single photo! It's a treat to eat freshly baked bread and the herbaceous flavour of this shone through. Moist and not overly crusty, the addition of pine nuts lent a little extra body. Served warm and pre-sliced, we smothered ours with butter.  

Entree: Scallops on top of confit of leek, rich celeriac puree and cucumber citrus foam

Plump, sweet scallops with rich celeriac puree is a match made in heaven. The confit of leek added an earthy flavour and textural contrast. The cucumber and citrus foam is added for a bit of freshness but I found it wasn't needed. I was more than happy to eat these succulent sea medallions with their rich puree and leeks. If only I could order this as a main!  

Next was zucchini flowers stuffed with apple, ricotta, cranberries atop a butternut puree, with pine nuts and parmesan. These flowers were a little different due to the lighter, crunchy polenta crust. It was a nice change from the thicker and sometimes oily batters that you find elsewhere. The filling was rich and creamy, counterbalanced by the sharp/sweet cranberries. The butternut puree and pine nuts also added a nice sweetness to this dish. Very moreish.

 Main Course: Eye fillet served with potato galette, broccolini, heirloom tomatoes, baby pickled onions and beef jus. Option of adding Cafe de Paris butter or Dijon Cream. We went with the dijon cream which provided a rich creamy sharpness to the perfectly cooked medium/rare beef. Homely yet sophisticated, this beef dish ticked all the boxes and satisfied our red meat cravings.

Lamb backstrap served with asparagus, broccolini, charred/pickled red onion and polenta chips. It's welcome to see main dishes thoughtfully served with vegetables. City dwellers are so used to purchasing their meals as 'components' that a main dish is rarely balanced and only contains the protein element of the meal. This forces you to purchase your veges and carbs at additional expense. Of course you can add side dishes to your meal at Pins (salad, greens, polenta chips, potatoes and bread), but the seasonal asparagus was a nice pairing with beautifully cooked lamb. Unexpectedly, the pickled red onion help cut the richness so your sated appetite could happily continue devouring every last morsel.  

Due to food envy of the the table next to us, we ordered an additional bowl of thick cut polenta chips, with parmesan and rosemary (no picture again - sorry). Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, the polenta chips were beautifully seasoned with the parmesan. The rosemary help elevate what can often be a plain tasting mix of cornmeal. Some chips had one side which was a little chewy (due to the skin that forms when the polenta is left to cool), but these were easily sliced off. I'm definitely a polenta convert. 

Dessert: Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and house-made vanilla ice cream

With our stomachs about to rupture, we made the decision to share an old favourite in the sticky date pudding. The pudding itself was served in a shallow dish. I think a deeper dish would have made for a denser more moist pudding (at the expense of presentation). Still the flavour was excellent. The caramel sauce was lighter than the usual thick, cloying butterscotch sauce. Our stomachs were relieved. Then there was the house-made vanilla ice cream. Packed full of tiny vanilla seeds, you can taste the quality in the ice cream that unlike commercial products, is not packed full of emulsifiers and stabilisers etc. 

With that, our meal was complete. Other dishes I wish I could have tried included the pork belly, pork croquettes, duck tortellini, roasted chat potatoes cooked in duck fat, Chocolate trio, white chocolate panna cotta and their signature salted coriander cheesecake. 

Pins provides a sophisticated dining experience without straying too far from the homely feel you'd expect from a regional restaurant. The service was attentive, friendly and relaxed. Best of all, we weren't charged big city prices. We walked away thinking it was fantastic value given the quality of food served up. Already looking forward to our next trip to Katoomba.

M.S. Glutamate was a paying diner at Pins on Lurline

132 Lurline Street, Katoomba, NSW, 2780

Open for Dinner 5.30pm to 10.00 pm 
Tuesday to Saturday 

Ph: (02) 4782-2281