Berrima’s Eschalot – sadly didn’t live up to high expectations

12/04/2011

After hearing so many wonderful things about Eschalot in Berrima and waiting over two years to eat there, my husband and I finally dined there last Friday night for our 6th wedding anniversary.

Sadly though we were rather disappointed, as we had such high expectations. The food was “nice” but not “wow”. With the built up expectation and the price tag, we were expecting “wow”.

Perhaps it was an off night or the head chef not there, who knows? My parents eat there often and were also disappointed that our experience hadn’t matched theirs as they love it there.

On paper the food lived up to expectations, with lobster, seared scollops, foie gras and the like on the menu to tempt the taste buds. Presentation wise the food looked amazing, but each dish lacked flavour and punch. As I said, it was nice but nothing special. We have eaten at many fine dining restaurants in Sydney and were expecting a similar quality.

The creme brulee was amazing though – yummo! It was certainly the highlight for me and won my heart.

The waiters were lovely and very attentive. Of course you can’t beat the venue in an old sandstone cottage in the heart of historic Berrima.

It is also BYO Wednesday-Friday – always a plus for the cost conscious!

I am glad I can now tick it off my dining list, but unfortunately it won’t be one restaurant we will be rushing back to. Please don’t let it deter you though as it may have just been an off night. It does have all the makings to be a top restaurant, just not the night we visited.

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Caffe Rosso – another dining gem discovered in Bowral!

27/07/2010

There is nothing more exciting for a food lover than to discover a great restaurant where you can’t fault the food, the bill doesn’t make you feel ill and you can’t wait to go back! A place where the food completely grabs your expectation, knocks it on its head and takes it to a completely different level ……. a very good one at that!

Thank you Caffe Rosso – you’ve left me wanting more!

I had only ever been to Caffe Rosso for coffee with a friend and kids during the day, before popping in to neighbouring Harris Farm in Bowral. So I had only ever thought it was just a cafe …….. boy was I wrong.

At night it transforms into a fantastic dining experience, which certainly goes way past simple cafe food. A modern and sophisticated Italian menu had me salivating as soon as I started reading.

For a seafood lover like me, the problem was there were too many delicious fresh seafood dishes to choose from causing a major dilemma in my thought process ……. but also insuring I come back another time to try the others.

Don’t worry for those that are not into seafood, there are plenty of other delicious dishes for all taste buds. My mind just couldn’t get past the seafood so the shutters were up.

For an entree I had a drunk seafood soup with fresh chunks of seafood within a beautiful tomato based seafood soup. It was a perfect winter’s dish that warmed me up on the inside and had me drooling in anticipation for the main meal. My husband had a grilled seafood starter, which was simply amazing ……. a beautiful combination of grilled scallops, octopus, prawns and fish. He isn’t the biggest seafood fan but had him in awe!

Main meals saw a prosciutto, pea and truffle risotto head my husband’s way and a whole baby snapper cooked in a paper bag with mussels, truss tomatoes, capers and lemons land in from of me. Both were simply beautiful and rustic meals. There were plenty of tastings across the table happening – the food was too good not to share!

Why has it taken us this long to discover? We could not fault the food at all and the service was very friendly and attentive …… in the right way! Of course, we had booked at the very beginning of the dining service at 5.30pm as we had a movie to get to, so we were the first to arrive. But by the time we had left it was packed and bustling, but the service never changed.

The only thing that does let it down for the evening menu is the cafe decor. It doesn’t match the quality of the food. But at the end of the day we weren’t there for the decor were we!

Don’t just take my word for it, read the reviews. Please don’t make the mistake I did and let the daytime cafe atmosphere form your opinion – you won’t be disappointed. A restaurant with the highest quality food, but without the pretentiousness of many other restaurants I would classify in the same league ….. with the added benefit of being licensed and BYO.

I can’t wait to go back!


So much more than sushi at Toshi’s Japanese Restaurant

26/01/2010

Well I am pleased to add another fabulous restaurant onto my list of great dining experiences in the Southern Highlands. There appears to be no shortage!

My husband and I are big Japanese food lovers and Toshi’s Japanese Restaurant in Mittagong certainly didn’t let us down. 

Don’t let the exterior form your opinion – inside is a different world. There are two dining rooms – the western and the Japanese room. To experience Toshi’s you really have to dine in the Japanese room, where you ditch the shoes, sit on cushions with your legs in purpose built holes in the floor.

After perusing the extensive menu, my husband and I didn’t know where to start so we chose the Toshi’s banquet for two.

To start off, we enjoyed a small asparagus digestive, which was served at the same time with beef carpaccio. Now I am normally fussy with how my meat is cooked, but this dish was delicious. 

My personal favourite was the sashimi platter. I am a huge fan of sashimi and good sashimi isn’t always the easiest to find. According to the very informative waiter, Toshi’s orders its sashimi from the same supplier as Tetsuya’s (which I have also been fortunate to dine at). With amazing ocean trout, tuna and white fish on offer, I was in sashimi heaven. But a first for me was eating a raw prawn, scallops and a delectable dish of shark fin with something else I unfortunately can’t remember. All I can say is yum! 

The teriyaki chicken was nice, but unfortunately not the best I have had and was the only thing that I couldn’t rate as amazing.

Dessert included tasters of green tea ice cream, Midori splice ice cream and a chocolate mouse.

We have actually had Toshi’s before as take away, but I can’t say their food works in this format. Toshi’s is a definite eat in experience.

We will certainly be dining there again – with sashimi high on the agenda.


Happy dining at Josh’s

26/07/2009

Having two very small children, we rarely get out these days for dinner. But yesterday was my husband’s birthday and what better reason to go out and celebrate with some friends ……… with the kids in tow!

We were hoping to try Red Olive in Mittagong after many recommendations we’ve had on the fabulous tapas, but unfortunately it was booked out for a private function. My parents recommended Josh’s in historic Berrima and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Naturally my husband jumped on Eatability to check it out and all the reviews were glowing.

Josh’s has a wonderful, warm atmosphere with friendly service and is BYO. The food was to die for and excellent value! I enjoyed yummy scallops wrapped in prosciutto for my entree followed by tuna on top of kipfler potatoes and capers. Yummo! We skipped desert as we had delicious caramel cheesecake waiting at home to celebrate my husband’s birthday, but the desert menu sounded delicious.

There were no problems at all accommodating our children either (4 months and 2 years), with paper and pencils provided or entertainment, as well as a high chair.

It was a great place to take our friends from Sydney – it helped to make them realise that we aren’t missing out on all the finer things that we had in Sydney in the Southern Highlands – good food and good wine!

We certainly recommend it and will be going back for sure!