To experience fine dining with a country twist, look no further than Biota Dining, Bowral. Located just over 90 minutes drive from Sydney, this gorgeous restaurant has been serving up creative Modern Australian food for years with an emphasis on locally sourced food (it gets so local, a lot of their produce is picked fresh from the adjacent kitchen garden!)
Under the leadership of executive chef James Viles, Biota Dining has been awarded two chef’s hats (from The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide) several years in a row, which speaks to its high standards.
Biota Dining began life as a country motel, and after a signifiant refurbishment it is now home to a huge restaurant, bar area, courtyard, lush green space and 12 rooms to stay.
The interiors of the restaurant section of Biota are impressively designed, with a Nordic/rustic feel. There’s lots of timber and a muted colour palette used through the dining room, and a more relaxed version found in the bar area (complete with comfy couches and a great fire).
We fortunately arrived on a gorgeous Autumn day and chose to sit in the courtyard. We had the option of a 3 course lunch for $98pp or 6 courses for $155, and chose the former.
The cocktail list was impressive and it was tempting to order one of everything, but we behaved. The G & Tea and Old Fashioned both went down a treat just as our food arrived.
From the menu came the Whipped Roe Profiteroles, not only a unique twist on a traditionally sweet food, but they were plated so beautifully on a bowl of stones.
We also got some Malted Rye Bread (served in a gorgeous furry pouch) and the most divine homemade smoked butter.
Another plate that was gorgeously presented was the Clay Cooked Beetroot with Brunt Leek Dressing and Smoke Ricotta. I love how Biota lets the produce speak for itself by using simple, seasonal ingredients prepared with minimum fuss.
The Duck Pate with Olsson’s Spent Fruit Jam and Native Pepper Lavosh was incredibly rich and decadent, and the crunchy lavosh was the perfect accompaniment.
With our cocktails polished off, we turned to the wine list, which featured an impressive array of local and international options. Since we were in the Southern Highlands, we of course had to order a local wine. The award-winning Pinot Noir from nearby Tertini Wines was so delicious we visited the vineyard the next day and bought another bottle!
I’ve been know to love potatoes a little too much, and I may have demolished more than my fair share of this amazing side dish – Creamed Potatoes with Burnt Butter and Hazelnuts. The potatoes were impossibly smooth and creamy thanks to the generous amount of butter, and the hazelnuts and sauce provided a lovely nutty flavour.
A highlight for me was the Roast Pumpkin, Fried Blood Sausage and Wild Plants dish – hiding underneath all of that salty, crunchy blood sausage was an amazing bed of creamy pumpkin. I’ve never had a dish quite like it and I expect I never will again.
To finish our meal off we indulged in the Whipped Bitter Chocolate, Plum Sorbet and Cacao Praline dessert. We queried what the strange white topping was and it turned out to be dehydrated milk skin! It provided a unique texture and subtle milky flavour. The slightly tart sorbet offset the rich chocolate mousse, and the praline provided a nice crunch.
We went for a walk around the gardens afterwards, taking the time to sit in the sun and enjoy the fresh country air. A huge thanks to Biota for a special meal that I will remember for a long time. We’ll be back soon I’m sure!
Love Swah dined at Biota as a guest of Destination NSW. All thoughts and opinions are my own.