Bianca: Celebrating a recent 30th, I thought I’d surprise the old ball and chain to a weekend away. Mostly everything in my life revolves around food but sometimes I like to slow things down and enjoy the quiet life. Step in Cedars Cottages Kangaroo Valley. Our perfect home away from home.
But before we made our way to the Kangaroo Valley we stopped in for lunch at Centennial Vineyards, Bowral. Vanessa did a pretty lengthy write-up which you can find (Here) a little while ago. The grounds themselves are stunning, it’s easy to see why this is such a sought after wedding location and even though it was raining, it made it all the more picturesque. After picking up a few bottles of vino over at the cellar door (a 2015 Tempranillo and a 2013 Late Autumn chardonnay) we settled in for lunch.
Starting with Pork scratching’s, smoked apple salt and apple sauce $8. You really can’t go wrong with these as a snack but whether it’s a thing with scratching’s but after a few, that stuff can really get stuck in your teeth. Not the greatest feeling once you’re getting ready to tuck into a meal.
Jules was drawn to the Crumbed King Prawns –w/ chilli jam $23. Plump juicy prawns, with a crispy outer coating. The kaffir lime was a genius touch to add some citrus notes.
We both wrestled with choices for mains but as soon as I saw the pork belly on the menu my fate was sealed. The Master stock braised Pork Belly, baby bok choy, crispy crackling, capsicum & chilli relish $38. A generous sized piece of pork belly sat atop a bed of veggies. It was incredibly tender with a luscious gelatinous layer of fat. The prized crackling was served separate to the actual pork but as long as it’s on the plate, I’m still a happy girl. A tasty dish but probably not one I’d order again.
And with the winner of the day, Julian with the Persian Spiced Duck breast, potato and pea samosa, smoked eggplant puree and duck & orange glaze $39. An interesting mish mash of flavours – with the Middle Eastern duck and the Indian slanted samosa. One thing I cannot fault is the cooking of the duck, with a perfectly executed crispy skin.
We made a pit stop in Bowral to pick up a few provisionals and then headed over to http://www.cedarscottages.com/ . The Yurt was the perfect base, with a unique circular lay-out. It was drizzling slightly as we pulled in and with the high mountains of the NSW Southern highlands as a backdrop and rolling fog making its way through. It really was almost too beautiful to be real….And then the flies made an appearance!
We took the opportunity to unwind and have a mostly technology free weekend (reception was patchy). We went for a few bush-walks, went mountain biking, petted a few horsies and attempted to swim in the creek (it was game over once I found a leech on my shoe).
I came to the conclusion after three days of what I called “Going bush” that nature, whilst beautiful, is best enjoyed in sporadic spread out moments and with excellent cellular coverage!
I’ve always enjoyed Kiama for some strange reason and will segue a visit if I’m in the vicinity. But when I can tie it into a neat little bow with a burger then all my Christmas’s have come at once. I’d been admiring the burgers at The Hungry Monkey for a little while so naturally we made a beeline.
Julian got my subtle hints to order a different burger and so he went with the Lambert – Ground Aussie lamb, marinated labne, spinach & onion jam $13. Now these prices are on the upper end of the scale for a burger and on par with Sydney prices. But these are petite. This sounded good in theory but it had a fair few faults. I’ll start with the foundation, the bun. Potato in this case, they were mostly sturdy and held up to the job. But this was a very wet burger. There was moisture seeping outta everywhere. In my opinion a sharper/saltier cheese such as fetta would have been a far better accompaniment. The spinach leaves were neither here nor there for me and Julian complained of over oxidised avocado. Never pleasant for anyone. He was far harsher in his assessment but I’ll give it a 2.2/5 pickles.
I fared much better with my Royale – 150g ground Angus, monteray jack, dill pickle, house tomato ketchup & Dijon $10. What a great little cheeseburger. Again on the petite side, which honestly is perfect for me. But if I was a big honking man one of these wouldn’t be enough to satisfy. Bun was great, cheese perfectly melted. I really enjoyed the generous slices of dill pickle, the tartness really just amps it up to a whole other level. But the star, unquestionably was the beef patty. Seasoned perfectly, cooked to a medium with a good bit of pink in the centre. But this was a notable case of the patty staying remarkably juicy and the grind being quite loose. A well deserved 4.2 pickles.
The Sweet Potato Fries $8.50 were neither here nor there, definitely should have gotten the Fries. But the accompanying sauces were ace!