On our final night, we headed 15 minutes out of Bowral to Eschalot in Berrima. This was by far the best food we ate. Eschalot is a modern Australian fine dining restaurant in a heritage cottage. They grow their own veggies and source locally as much as possible. Despite being an old cottage, the interior is modern and clean – we overheard it had just been renovated. The walls were painted white and there was a fire place in the room we were in. There were perhaps 3 rooms with table seating in, and the kitchen was in the back of the cottage. When we arrived for our 6.30pm booking there were already a few tables taken and the place filled up quickly.
The staff were knowledgeable and friendly about the menu and explained that the majority of their dishes were naturally gluten free to make it easier for the chefs to cater to dietary requirements. I had plenty of options to choose from and they all sounded amazing! In the end Michael and I decided to split our entrees and mains, and ordered a drink each.
We started with an amuse bouche each – Michael had fried seaweed and I had a pea puree on a tapioca wafer. Delicious! We nibbled on separate breads with a subtle, woody truffle butter. The drinks were really good too. I prefer sweeter drinks so these were right up my alley – mine was a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri, and Michael had a very tasty rosewater mocktail. Both very pretty and delicious!
We ordered two entrees – the anise braised eggplant and the chorizo cabbage. The eggplant was so different to what I expected! They had managed to maintain the firm texture of raw eggplant, and although the anise was strong, it was not overly liquorice flavoured. It was plated on a slice of white cabbage, with firm green beans wrapped ina gluten free cannelloni type roll, and a tasty anise sauce.
The chorizo cabbage was also delicious. The chorizo was surprisingly delicate, and wrapped in a red cabbage leaf. This was on top of thin squid fettuccini – made from thinly sliced squid and gluten free, and with a healthy amount of Balmain bug on the side. It was topped off with a long, twisting cracker to add some crunch. It was all beautifully cooked and intriguing to look at! I was very impressed with this.
After a comfortable wait, our mains were brought out. We had ordered two mains, the smoked breast and pressed leg of duck, and honey glazed partridge with a side of crushed potatoes. The duck was beautifully cooked, and I especially liked the crispy texture of the pressed leg although Michael wasn’t as keen on the crispiness of the meat. It came with some tasty, ripe figs, curls of spiced carrot, and tiny pieces of chestnut, adding a woody flavour.
The partridge was probably my favourite dish. I don’t usually go for partridge, but this was beautifully cooked, with some lovely crispy skin and moist meat. It was on a bed of crunchy, deep fried mixed mushrooms with a mushroom ragout, and polenta pappardelle. I loved the crispiness of the deep-fried mushrooms and I was very impressed with the pappardelle. It was soft and if I hadn’t been told it was gluten free, I wouldn’t have known. It was topped with a truffle pecorino ‘nest’ that was crunchy and delicious, and complimented the mushrooms and partridge. The crushed potatoes were also pretty good – hot, crispy and herbed.
After our meal, I was too full to possibly fit anything else in but Michael went for the cumquat soufflé with chocolate sorbet. This wasn’t gluten free but looked amazing – the soufflé was tall, and didn’t sink and the plating was pretty.
After a leisurely couple of hours, we settled our bill. It came to $207 and was well worth it. The quality of the food was great and the service was impeccable.
Raw and Wild Market and Café
Before leaving Bowral, after a wonderfully relaxing few days, we stopped in the town centre and grabbed a late brunch/early lunch at Raw and Wild Market and Café. Walking in through the front, you have to head through the market into the back where they offer breakfasts and lunches.
There is indoor and outdoor seating but we opted to sit inside opposite the long counter and kitchen. The menu had a lot of options, all well marked with allergies, and a statement saying the kitchen is not a gluten or dairy free environment but to discuss dietary requirements with the staff.
After a short wait, a staff member came over to take our order. I explained I was coeliac which he said he would notify the kitchen of and admitted he didn’t know anything about pregnancy food restrictions. He was super friendly and attentive though, and I requested the organic potato rosti and poached eggs – checking that the rosti would not be cross contaminated and asking for hard poached eggs. For Michael, I ordered the breakfast special – buttermilk pikelets. These were labelled as gluten free so I asked about cross contamination. I also ordered two flat whites, one decaf.
After a short wait, the staff member came back and apologetically explained that the pikelets were not actually gluten free, and had been mislabelled. I was pretty disappointed because I haven’t been able to have pikelets or pancakes for breakfast out in a really long time – they’re difficult to find – but this did remind me of the importance of double-checking food labels when eating out.
The coffee was good and came out fairly promptly, and our food came out after about 20 minutes, not an unacceptable wait as there were a few customers when we got there.
Michael’s pikelets looked good and came with cinnamon poached pears, yoghurt and maple syrup. He said they were pretty good, but there wasn’t quite enough yoghurt to balance the sweetness of the maple syrup and pear. My food was really nice – the potato rosti were a good size, like little, chewy bricks and were really nicely cooked. The eggs were cooked hard as requested, and there was a healthy size portion of bacon. It was nice to have some cherry tomatoes to cut through some of the oilyness, but the avocado salsa was more like a little plain smashed avocado and it would’ve been nice to get a little more of this. The aioli was a bit unremarkable but it made the plate look pretty at least!
The two dishes and coffee’s came to $48.50. I’d return to the Raw and Wild Market and Café, the food was enjoyable and the staff were friendly and accommodating.
24 Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW 2577
02 4877 1977
Raw and Wild Market and Café
250 Bong Bong Street, Bowral NSW 2576
02 4851 5155