Solitary Restaurant & Cafe. Our first stop on the long-awaited 4 day trip to the Blue Mountains and Mudgee. I found out about this place through some simple Google searches of must-try restaurants when you’re passing through the Mountains.
“Solitary strives to provide organic produce from the restaurants own extensive garden and the best possible local produce available seasonally.”
I always love when a menu is available online. It gives me ample time to peruse and (roughly) decide on what I want to order before we arrive to our destination, otherwise I just get too overwhelmed when I can’t take in all the menu on the day. We decided to sample some items from the café menu (didn’t want to blow the budget completely on the first day with the more elaborate but equally spectacular restaurant menu!). And FYI, although the website says the restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday, this also applies to the café side of things. I found this out through emailing them earlier the week before and received a near instant, personalised email response of confirmation. Has this ever been heard of?! Dramas averted.
Getting to Solitary proved a little more difficult (despite the ‘GPS WARNING!’ on the website). It doesn’t help that I’m a terrible map reader/GPS follower even when I’m the passenger and not driving. Dramas increased. So hint: use Google maps, not Apple maps (according to expert Big Bear).
Their website claims to offer “one of the most fortunate sites in all the Mountains”. Can’t go wrong there… It overlooks Mount Solitary, Kings Tableland and the Jamison Valley. It also provides a gorgeous history of the happenings at Solitary before the Solitary arrived in 2000 – a worthwhile quick read if you’re interested.
After arriving at the restaurant/café we were greeted and chose a seat outdoors to bask in the picture perfect beautiful weather that Leura put on show for us that day. Once you pull up to the parking lot and walk through the front gate you first walk to the back area where Solitary’s spectacular views greet you. Seating is split up between an outdoor area positioned to look out at the lawns and view and the indoor house/cottage area which is more formal and caters for weddings and functions too. A lovely, and I would say a pleasing-to-everyone, canapé and function menu is available online too with some prices (and bonus floor plan) included. Oh and you might want to check out the wine list while you’re there too. It’s very comprehensive but I’m predicting would also flatten my wallet fairly swiftly.
We arrived just around midday and it was quiet and peaceful, not a heck of a lot of patrons there that early on a Wednesday. After sitting down we were provided with menus and a glass bottle of filtered water. We couldn’t sit down for long though, the views were too spectacular not to capture immediately. I settled on the vegetarian option of toasted sourdough, roasted eggplant, grilled haloumi, hummus, semi-dried tomato and spinach salad ($15). Big Bear/Mr. Can’t-get-enough-of-salmon chose the salmon croquettes, horseradish aioli, celeriac and red onion salad ($16). We didn’t want to indulge in dessert this time around (saving ourselves for the afternoon’s treats) so Big Bear got a full cream latte and I a lady grey tea with hazelnut and almond biscotti on the side ($6 package).
Whilst snapping the cameras away feverishly like tourists in our own State, our tea, coffee and biscotti arrived. The lady grey was lovely with great flavouring and a generous scoop of tea leaves in a good size, easy pour teapot. Big Bear said the latte was not too hot, but very smooth and creamy and the coffee beans weren’t over roasted. The biscotti’s had a subtle lemon flavour with some scatterings of hazelnut throughout. They were however crunchy (very crunchy!).
Meals were prompt as well. It’s safe to say my toasted sandwich was delish and elegantly presented. The filling was very juicy with the eggplant and haloumi working well together in their mushy texture. The sourdough was also nice and crunchy without the toasting of the bread going overboard. The hummus/semi-dried tomato spread combination was also really interesting and delightful with hints of turmeric providing a lovely spicy element to the sandwich. The haloumi was also not too salty or overpowering and worked well alongside the other ingredients. The side salad was a simple concoction of baby spinach with red onion and generous olive oil and balsamic dressing. Half way through the sandwich and salad I was pretty full though and had to give a good portion of the second half to Big Bear to gobble down.
Big Bear said the salmon croquettes were by themselves a bit bland. However, the tanginess of the sauce which was very light with hints of horseradish matched the croquettes well and seemed to ignite the flavours in both. A little extra crunch from the breadcrumb coating would’ve lifted it higher as well. Both meals were very generous but achievable. The staff were also attentive throughout the afternoon.
I wish more Wednesdays were like this – a beautiful and picturesque beginning to the holidays.
90 Cliff Drive, Leura Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW, 2780
(02) 4782 1164
Lunch: Wednesday-Sunday, 11.00am-4.30pm
Dinner: Friday & Saturday from 6.30pm
Bookings and enquiries can be made online.
Functions can be booked at other times by arrangement.
Different trading hours may apply for public holidays so check the website or enquire beforehand.