Nestled amongst towering 100 year old Canadian Oaks and a string of fairy lights, is the French bistro inspired Bon Ton, Leura in the Blue Mountains. Built approximately 130 years ago, the historic building plays host to visitors with a bygone era feel. Approximately one hour and thirty minutes (120km) from the Sydney CBD, Bon Ton is the perfect excuse for a sunday drive.
The Divine Garlic Bread and Warm Cheese Dip
Leura is opulent for dining options, each offering their own twist on a cafe-attempting to lure the masses of backpack clad tourist and locals as they peruse displays of menus hanging in the decorative front windows. There is definitely a diversity of platters and blackboard specials - however if classic and charming is the theme of the day, Bon Ton comes up trumps.
As you walk through the main door, hospitable and warm staff are quick to greet and attend guest to the choice of the cosy indoor dining room; the semi alfresco covered verandah seating or the outdoor garden section. Perfect for all seasons, and offering a good variety of dining options from the solo flyer to the troupe of tin lids in toe.
Quaint verandah seating
Outdoor dining area amongst the 100 year old Canadian Oaks
A French accent is predominant throughout the menu creating a classic bistro feel. For a traditional French starter, why not try Escargot ($15 for 1/2 dozen or $3 each) - snails, parsley, garlic, escallot butter and freekah crust. A true comfort food delight can be found in the indulgent Garlic Bread with Warm Cheese Dip ($16.50). Serving size would be ideal between two people, with four triangular slices of the bread, and a small ramekin filled with the delicious dip.
The moorish warm cheese dip with garlic bread triangles - delicious.
Relaxing and peaceful dining on the verandah
It was an unseasonably cooler December day when I visited, adding to the cosy and inviting ambience. Feeling a touch like Christmas in July, it was only fitting for a glass of French red to celebrate the beginning of the silly season. The 2011 Chateau Sainte Marie Bordeuax Rouge ($11.50 a glass, $36 for a 500ml carafe, $48 750ml bottle) is full bodied, and has a intense depth worth savouring.
Warm and inviting - the indoor dining section.
After a few sips of the red, a storm brewing in the horizon; I started to feel reminiscent of my time in France a few years back, and was slowly transported right back in time. The smell of shallots and garlic come wafting out from the kitchen, and I can feel my taste buds anticipate the upcoming main meal.
The welcoming front door entry
The menu is well designed, offering classic and modern dishes. For the non-carnivorous diners out there, the Warm Roast Vegetable Wrap ($18.50) looked enticing - made with roast seasonal vegetables, local goats curd and toasted walnuts. As an avid pasta lover I could not go past the Potato Gnocchi with wild mushroom ragout ($24.50) - a generous serving of the freshest mushroom married with melt in your mouth fluffy pillows of amazingness. This would be a meal I could easily have over and over again. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Potato gnocchi with Mushroom Ragout
Fresh and tasty
Fish and chips have received a make over as the new and improved Fish and Pont Neuf Chips ($24.50) - fresh crispy pieces of battered flathead, served with a mixed salad and lime mayo. Tasty and delicate, this meal could be easily shared as a light afternoon lunch between two.
Fish and chips get exciting
Feeling content and ready for an afternoon siesta, the perfect pick me up can be found in the unsurpassable friendship of caffeine and sugar.
Hello deserts menu.
An impressive range of options all $16.50 each, from the classic Creme Caramel (which was unfortunately sold out), Blue Mountains Honey and Buttermilk Pudding served with preserved Cherries, and A Trio of Sorbets. If the classic cheese plate is more to your liking, Bon Ton have it covered. For $9.50 choose from the Jannei Buche Noire (a local mild goats cheese), the Brie de Mon Sire (a cows milk variety from Normandy, France) and the Tomme de Chevre Muscadet (a medium flavoured goats cheese from Loire, France).
The extensive Deserts Menu
Lots of cakes to choose from
I went with a skinny Cappuccino ($3.80) which gave me the perfect wake me up, and shared the Trio of Sorbets - once again a generous serving size. Three fresh fruity flavours of lime, raspberry and one of Rosewater/Turkish Delight. A perfect ending to a fabulous dining experience.
The Trio of Sorbets - to die for
Intriguing and colourful flavours that pop
Wonderful Caffeine hit
Also offering a breakfast and dinner menu option, Bon Ton at Leura covers all bases. For the weekend mountain tourist, or for locals looking for a French escape; you will not be disappointed with the food, service and welcoming ambience.
Where: 192 Leura Mall (corner Megalong Street)
Why: Warm service, and a delicious menu that transports you directly back to a French bistro. Beautiful location in the township of Leura, Blue Mountains.
Cost: Average of $45 pp
When: 7 Days per week
Weekdays From 11am
Weekends From 9am
For lunch, snacks and all day breakfasts.
Dinner from 5.30pm
Good for kids: Yes. The outdoor dining area is great for kids to look around the garden.