Grand Openings

 

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It takes a bold and brave business to open on the tail-end of a pandemic – but for these Blue Mountains restaurants, initial challenges are all part of an exciting future.

By Julie Miller

Despite the success of their popular café, Sparrows Leura, opening a fine dining restaurant midway through a pandemic was a courageous move for local restaurateurs, Jess and Josh Watts. Three days before their much-anticipated opening of Mr Collins of Leura in late June, however, lockdowns were imposed - casting uncertainty over their exciting new venture.

“We were all ready to go, with a full cool room, we’d taken on new staff - and then we couldn’t open. It was really deflating,” Josh says.

Five months later, however, Mr Collins of Leura – located in the venerable premises formerly occupied by Silks on Leura Mall – has finally opened its doors, continuing the tradition of elegant fine dining and creating the perfect ambience for a special occasion or to impress visitors to the Mountains.

Meanwhile, Blaxland’s newest bolthole, Bramble Bar, kicked off business during lockdown with Bramble-to-Go, delivering gorgeous grazing boxes featuring cheese or desserts, served with a pre-mixed cocktail jar showcasing local spirits such as the award-winning Karu Affinity gin. After more than 100 days of lockdown – and importantly having already won the hearts of locals - they also have finally opened their doors.

The tenacity of these new businesses to open in challenging times is to be applauded – and as they join a cast of impressive new venues opening in the region, it seems the Blue Mountains restaurant and bar scene has a very exciting future.

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Mr Collins of Leura

128 Leura Mall, Leura.

www.mrcollinsofleura.com.au

Drawing on their past experience working at some of the Blue Mountains’ most lauded restaurants, Jess and Josh Watts have created an enticing brasserie-style menu with Asian flavour profiles at their new fine dining restaurant, Mr Collins of Leura. A two or three course menu is on offer, with each delectable item presenting a fresh twist on a classic dish. A carefully-curated wine list and signature cocktails are a worthy accompaniment. Open Thursday to Monday for dinner.

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Bramble Bar

Shop 3-4, 17 Great Western Highway, Blaxland.

www.bramblebar.com.au

Showcasing local wines, spirits, craft beer and cider, Bramble invites locals and visitors to taste and experience the best the Mountains has to offer. They are proud to partner with local providers, and where they can’t source from the Mountains, they support regional neighbours and independent businesses. Their vision is to create a welcoming space for the Blue Mountains community and visitors to our beautiful region, making it a must-visit stop on your next weekend adventure. Join us and taste the Mountains. Open Friday to Sunday, 3pm to late.

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Tempus Bar & Restaurant

66 Katoomba St, Katoomba

www.tempuskatoomba.com.au

Pairing local seasonal produce with an all-Australian drinks list, this latest addition to the Katoomba dining scene presents a Modern Australian share-plate menu incorporating influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, with plenty of choices for vegans and vegetarians. Sustainability is a huge part of the restaurant’s ethos, from design and construction through to the products served on the menu. Even food excess is dehydrated, pickled and preserved to be put back into the menu, while other waste is sent to the restaurant’s own worm farm and compost. Open Fri and Mon 5pm-10pm, weekends 12pm-10pm.

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Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern

Fairmont Resort & Spa

1 Sublime Point Rd, Leura

T: (02) 4785 0000; www.fairmontresort.com.au

The Fairmont Resort is revamping its food and beverage offerings, including the fine dining French-inspired Misty’s (open Friday and Saturday for dinner) and a new casual dining space under a marquee. Wander downstairs at the resort’s front entrance and you’ll find the Mountain’s most sophisticated speakeasy-style bar, Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern. Offering a massive range of local and imported spirits, cool cocktails made from craft spirits and native ingredients and a punchy, innovative food menu, this cosy and welcoming space is made for lingering, a welcome addition to the Blue Mountains bar scene. Open Thursday to Sunday.

Untamed Beauty
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