I must say, I have been rather diligent these last couple days. I can foresee the storm of posts coming after my trip to Spain so I'm mentally preparing myself by clearing the decks, so to speak. Biota Dining is situated in Bowral, nestled in the Southern Highlands of NSW. En route back to Sydney we made a little detour which definitely paid dividends.
|Bienvenue! You know you're in the country when you actually have space for a sign out the front.|
Opening in the third quarter of last year, executive chef and co-owner James Viles and the team have already been awarded two chef's hats (16/20) as well as the Good Living Sustainability Award by the SMH Good Food Guide 2013. It was also ranked within the Top 100 restaurants by the Australian Gourmet Traveller for 2013 (at #100 mind you, but I'll pay that).
The menu works like this, there is no à la carte as such - the minimum you can order is 3 courses. The plates are between entrée and main size and you pick which dishes you like from an impressive list of 12 dishes. Oh, decisions! There was a pretty clear delineation between what was considered an entrée or main (+/- slab of protein) but there aren't any rules! You can go for 3 savoury or 2 savoury + one sweet. There were also the options of having a 5 or 7 course degustation but these were both 'set' already. I'm sure the portions would be greatly reduced as well (not a bad thing when you're still facing 5 to go).
Something that was almost immediately obvious to me was how the kitchen would call wait staff for service. A chef would 'clap' twice for them, and then minutes later a waiter would come scurrying to the kitchen. There is something inherently wrong in this. Not only is it plain out rude (we do live in the 21st C people, not in the dark ages) but it was extremely off-putting for me and I'd assume other diners. What ever happened to ringing a good ol' bell?! They have a point of difference here that does not do them any favours.
And most importantly, DOLCE.
|Cherries & their juice, almond milk tofu, white grape & eucalyptus sorbet. I must say the wobbly cylinder of almond infused tofu looked great. Pity I couldn't steal any haha|
So there you go, my impressions on Biota Dining. The moderately new kid on the block, making waves in regional NSW. A few flaws in the running of the restaurant (clapping?!) are almost completely offset by spectacular food at its core. The dishes were bold, experimental and looked like fine art. Pat Nourse of Australian Gourmet Traveller writes, "