There is something about the change of the seasons that makes me want to seek and try different flavours. As the onslaught of winter starts to bring colder days, falling leaves, and daydreams start to fill with a desire to sit in front of an open fireplace with a freshly made apple strudel. Down along the infamous orchard enriched Bells Line of Road is a treasure of a winter escape come true, welcome to Apple Bar at Bilpin.
Cosy ambience inside Apple Bar
A cottage like establishment, Apple Bar is a vital part of the local community sourcing a significant supply of produce from the area.
Don't miss the Apple Bar sign - parking out the back
It has a cosy and inviting ambience, which is why locals, tourists and like flock here like seagulls. To avoid disappointment, it is advisable that you reserve a table. Diners have the choice to sit inside the timber adorned cottage, or amongst the giant pines and fresh air on the enclosed verandah seating.
Out the side of Apple Bar
I had spent the morning visiting local butchers and farms with my appetite continually teased by the aroma of fresh produce. The menu changes regularly, but during my visit there were a great variety of starters, mains and deserts. Starters have a fresh produce focus and feature meals like : Panko crumbed salmon fingers with a salad ($17.50), or the Salad of Jeff’s Bilpin labneh cheese, local roma tomatoes, crispy capers, basil and Rylstone olive oil ($17.50). There are also items with an Asian twist like the Indonesian Spring rolls ($17.50), and Traditional Chinese chilli salt and pepper cuttlefish ($17.50).
Main meals are generally cooked within the wood fire oven - adding to the rustic flavour influence which shapes the menu. Theres the Woodgrilled salmon fillet with lombok served with honeymoon sauce ($29.90), and the Woodgrilled Kangaroo with chilli plum sauce on poached Pak Choy and chips ($29.90). For steak lovers the Woodgrilled Rangers Valley Black Angus three-week aged rump (marble score 3) soaked in red wine with sweet potato mash and dijionaise or cafe de Paris butter with crispy onions and chips ($36.50). For Italian food fans there are a range of wood fire pizzas at $26.50 each.
Crispy Indonesian Spring Rolls
The famous wood fire oven
Only after something light I ordered the Indonesian Spring rolls, with a Hillbilly crushed apple cider ($8.50). The spring rolls had a crispy pastry which crunched open to a steamy fragrant centre constructed of pork, king prawns, roe on scallops, shitake mushrooms, and glass noodles. There were two accompanying dipping sauces; one tasted like Thai Green curry and the other was a lighter soy with fresh chilli pieces. There are two medium sized cigar shaped rolls, which could easily be had as a light meal or shared between two as an starter. Apple cider seemed the perfect drink choice (when in Bilpin) - served icey cold and made from apples from the local Shields Orchard. There is a delicate crispness in the flavour, yum.
The fresh centre of Indonesian Spring Rolls, full of flavour
Hillybilly Apple cider made fresh from the local Shields orchard
It was a bit of a no brainer when it came to dessert selection time. Wanting to keep with the local produce theme I ordered the ‘ Our own orange cox pippin apple, lemon ricotta and walnut strudel with whipped cream (Don’t try and say that after a few ciders). Other options included the Apple Bar’s famous caramelised upside down cake with local Shields Orchard Braeburn apples, custard and house made vanilla bean ice cream, or the Belgian flour less chocolate cake with whipped cream. All deserts are $12.50
Apple Bar's famous caramelised upside down cake
Nestled under the verandah with a bruised black sky imposing, the strudel was the most decadent comfort food to indulge in. Delicate layers of pastry wrap, together with chunky pieces of apples cooked with a slight crunch, decorated with pockets of lemon infused ricotta combine...everything you could expect from homemade strudel.
Not too sweet and fresh with flavour the Apple strudel
There is something nice about feeling like you're on a holiday when your’e not far away from home. The surrounding landscape of Apple Bar makes you feel like you're out in the wilderness surrounded by ancient pines and orchards. The country like ambience transcends to the service, which is welcoming, friendly, and takes it time unlike some fast paced, rush in-rush out city venues.
A must visit establishment in the Blue Mountains
Pull up a seat at the bar and try some local cider
There is a lot of charm and appeal about Apple Bar. It is cosy, refreshing and warm, being a fantastic location for a romantic weekend getaway or an evening family dinner.
Local produce for sale
Where: 2488 Bells Line of Road Bilpin NSW
Why: Fresh local produce showcased in a creative menu, together with warm and cosy ambience in the wilderness.
Cost: Starters $17.50, Mains $29 and Pizzas $26.50
Lunch: Friday to Sunday - 11.30pm to 4:00pm
Dinner: Friday to Sunday - 5.30pm to 10:00pm
Good for kids: Yes there is a kids menu, and room to stretch tired travel legs.