Posts tagged ‘Bilpin’

March 14, 2011

A small story of old cars and orchards…

Following on from my first posts about the joys of Bilpin I just had to share these photos I took when we were up there last. I was busy photographing the old post office and hardware shop when I noticed these beautiful old cars parked together. I got talking to the man who owns them, they have all been done up by him, even the leather upholstery was all redone to match the original. He takes them to vintage car rallies and shows but doesn’t hire them out…apparently the brides are too rough with them, (you know how those bridezillas can get)!!

I’m afraid I didn’t get the owners name…thank you for letting me use your beautiful cars!

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February 1, 2011

Apple bar – the restaurant at the end of the universe

I know, I know, it’s a bit of a schlep to get all the way out to Bilpin just to dine, but believe me, both the drive and the eating are well worth it! Apple bar is named a little oddly, in that, yes it does have a bar, (quite a wee one), but it is (justifiably) famous as a restaurant. It is a cute little old-cottage-type house set on a long sweeping road lined with huge fir trees and jacarandas, quite literally in the middle of nowhere.

For a quick guide on how to get there and things to do on the way, check out my first post about Bilpin itself, for now I have to concentrate on this haven of culinary delights!! Yeah, I know that’s a bit excessive but I only write about places I really enjoy and this is one of them. Once you finish gawking at the scenery and go inside you’ll find it a quirky mix of rustic shearers shed and sophisticated chic.

The open kitchen idea I quite like, as well as the cool life-size metal statues lurking around…they are done by a local artist.

Being up in the mountains there is usually a cool breeze coming in through the shutters, there is also a stone double-sided fireplace which makes it cosy and atmospheric in Winter.

This is the view from the side verandah

This is the view from the verandah that wraps around the side and back of the building, if it’s a nice day you can eat out there and take in the view.

OK…I’ve exhausted all my scenic photos… now about the important bit, the food…firstly I should warn you that it gets quite busy up there on a weekend so it’s probably advisable to book…also, while the service is very good it can get a little overwhelmed so be prepared for a good lunch not a quick one…the wood fired pizza’s are to die for but seeing as there is only one smallish pizza oven it can take a little time but the wait staff will let you know how long to expect when you order.

So far as is practicable the ingredients are sourced locally and of course there are vegetarian options. The entrees range from $13.50 – $19.50, the mains $23.50 – $39.50 and the desserts $12.50.

 For an entree I had the zucchini flower fritters stuffed with ricotta, lemon, herb and grana padano, (which is a rich Italian parmesan cheese) on Napoli sauce. They were delicious, not oily at all and the sauce was well-flavoured and a perfect counterpoint to the creamy filling.

MD had the local Hawkesbury squid cooked with salt and pepper, it was tender and juicy with the addition of fried whole green chillies which he loved but which were ferociously hot!

 

For mains we decided to split a pizza, (on account of MD saw one being carried past and fell in love instantly), deciding on the sopressa which had a combination of sopressa della nonna, (a tasty mild Italian salami), provolone, garlic, tomato and grana padano.This pizza would qualify without doubt as one of the best we have ever eaten, deceptively simple but with a complexity of flavours that shows the need for top quality ingredients in a dish. The base, (as you would expect), was light and crisp and the toppings were a perfect match for each other. I have dreams about this pizza…

Then we arrived at dessert, the piece de resistance of any meal if you ask me. MD wussed out, (probably because he had the lions share of the pizza), so I was left to carry the torch on my own. I picked the raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio clafoutis which managed to be light, tangy and sweet all at the same time. All up it cost us $86.20 including 3 cokes and a beer. I must also recommend from previous experience the apple cake, (made of course from locally grown apples when in season), it is really yummy!

If you would like contact details or for more information on the Apple bar this is their website: www.applebar.com.au.

I might add while I have the chance that convict stock contains completely my own views from my own experiences. I am not affiliated in any way with any of the businesses I write about, this is just my idea of fun!!

January 25, 2011

Bilpin: my favourite place for orchards and cuteness!

Do you like the succulent taste of fresh-off-the-tree fruit? How about vistas so picturesque they almost bring a tear to the eye? Maybe lots of quaint old buildings and a restaurant that people drive from Sydney to experience – then folks, you will just have to trek it to Bilpin. Bilpin is a small blink of an eye and you miss it town about an hour and a half’s scenic drive from Sydney, (a little more if you strike freeway traffic), and due to its altitude is perfect for growing fruit, (especially apples), as well as being a lovely cool spot if it’s hot and humid in the burbs.

OK get ready cause I’m going to get all Google maps on ya… firstly head to Richmond, the flagship of our Hawkesbury area, good for watching cricket on the town pitch, (look out for the stand reminiscent of the Bradman era), and plane spotting at the RAAF base, (there’s a cool little park across the road complete with a miniature plane the kidlets can climb inside). On the weekends if the weather is good you can watch the towing planes and gliders taking off and landing. From Richmond follow the Bells line of Road, (yes, that’s really its name), over the Hawkesbury river then up through North Richmond and Kurmond, past the turn off to Kurrajong, (another really cute village, more on that in another post). Now you’re beginning to really climb, the road has lovely sweeping bends and some tight hairpin corners perfect for a drive and as you head up the aptly named Bellbird Hill be sure to open the windows or your visor and listen for the sound of them, they never fail!

Here is an example of the scenery to expect on your drive: this is a laneway that runs off the main road in Kurrajong Heights…

I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the gate to someone’s house:

There is a lookout on the right as you exit Kurrajong Heights, with a view that stretches all the way to Sydney, I’m afraid the photo doesn’t really do it justice but you get the general idea…

Stay on the Bells line of Road and soon you’ll have all the fruit you can handle!! A few of the growers will let you pick your own, some have cute stands by the side of the road, some such as the Bilpin Fruit Bowl have big shops laden with jams, preserves, pickles, fruit pies, mustards etc as well as the fruit.

We got talking to the lady who owns the stall in these photos…her great grandfather used to log in this area using a bullock and dray…this International truck belongs to her 92 year old grandfather who used to use it to cart logs as well…it has fairy lights on it for Christmas…how cute would it look all lit up at night?

Directly opposite this old shop is the Apple Bar, (confusing name, it does have a little bar inside but is actually a restaraunt), and the food there is worth the drive on it’s own! But…more about that on my next post…