It has been more than two years since Chopinand and I had a weekend away in one of our favourite places in New South Wales.
We love the Southern Highlands because of its fresh air, lush greenery, beautiful gardens and most importantly great food and wine.
One of the first few restaurants that has earned a great reputation in this region is Eschalot in Berrima. I remember discovering this place when I first visited its original premise in a motel in Moss Vale. I was impressed by the authentic French flavours with an inventive twist and the friendly service.
Housed in a sandstone cottage, cosy rooms are adorned with paintings by local artists, some with its own fireplace to keep its customers warm and cosy during the cooler months.
A warm day is good weather for a bottle of San Vito Pinot Grigio.
Crisp, herbaceous with a strong citrus note on the palate, it is a great start to our lunch.
A plate of freshly baked warm sourdough with butter and olive oil is soft and fluffy.
An amuse bouche of dehydrated beetroot with goats curd and mint is a delicate start to our lunch.
We decide to share a pea purée with broad beans and spanner crab for entree.
The crab meat is refreshingly sweet with the crackle of rice wafer and finger lime pops for textural contrast.
I order the Rockpool – a seafood medley of seared barramundi, braised octopus, just-opened clams and poached squid swimming in a light seafood broth. This showcases fresh seafood at its best though the broth was a little bland.
Chopinand orders a hanger steak with pumpkin purée, purple carrots and rocket.
The steak is juicy and tender but being a purist, he prefers his steaks unadulterated -without it swimming in condiments so this is a little fancy for his liking.
Cherry blossom sorbet
Nothing says spring more than cherry blossoms and at Eschalot, they decided to turn cherry blossom into a sorbet rich with floral sweetness, passionfruit ice cream and crisp meringue.
It is a light and refreshing end to a rich meal.
Eschalot has indeed gone from strength to strength since it first started in a humble motel. From a new seedling, it has now blossomed into a mature establishment with its own herb and vegetable garden and a loyal following.
24 Old Hume Hwy, Berrima
New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 4877 1977
Opening hours: Sunday 12:00-2.30 pm Closed Monday & Tuesday Wednesday 6:00-8:30 pm Thursday 12:00-2:30 pm 6:00-8:30 pm Friday 12:00-2:30 pm 6:00-8:30 pm Saturday 12:00-2:30 pm 6:00-8:30 pm