- Amazing views
- An extremely limited menu
- Lovely, friendly staff
Halfway through our stay in the Snowy Mountains, we headed to Thredbo for a day in the snow! We packed Milly off for an afternoon of ski lessons, and Michael, Bell and I headed up the mountains to Eagles Nest for a spot of lunch.
Eagles Nest Restaurant is Australia’s highest restaurant perched on Crackenback Mountain, at 1937 meters above Thredbo Village. To get up to Eagle’s Nest we took the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift from the Valley terminal in Thredbo Village. Before we could buy lift passes, we had to buy My Thredbo cards which are $5 per person. Once we had our My Thredbo Cards, we bought two Back Country Access passes for $45 per adult. Children under 3 are free.
The chairlift up to the restaurant takes about 15 minutes each way. While we were sweating in our snow gear down in the village, the trip up to Eagles Nest saw a drop in temperature and I was grateful to have my gloves and hat. Michael sat with Bell on the way up and I sat with her on the ay down, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous taking Bell on the chairlift. She was really good though on the lift, enjoying the views and watching skiers zip down the slope! Michael and I enjoyed looking for the lost property of misfortunate chair lift users – gloves, hats, scarves!
Once we reached the top, we hopped off the lift and headed into the building. This was around 1pm and there was a wait for tables at the restaurant. It wasn’t particularly busy but the covid restrictions meant there were limits on the amount of people allowed into the dining area. We sat in a little alcove at the entrance of the restaurant and waited around 20 minutes for a table. We were given the choice of a large table in the middle of the room, opposite the fireplace, or a table by the window. We opted for the window seat because if you’re going up a mountain for lunch, you should take in the views!
The restaurant space is a large square, with windows along three sides and the bar and kitchen access on the fourth side. In the middle of the back wall of windows, there was a fireplace with a very cool, gold, ornate eagle statue on top. The seats and tables were all sturdy and wooden, and the furnishings were grey. The space didn’t have the typical alpine feel I had expected, but it was warm, bright and comfortable. It did have a taxidermy eagle though, staring menacingly at the patrons from above the bar!
When we were seated, the very friendly staff member explained that due to the covid restrictions, the menu was available online accessed by a QR code so we brought up the menu and had a browse. Eagles Nest offers two pages of drinks menu and a one page food menu containing some breakfast and lunch options, a couple of sides and desserts, and 2 kids lunch options. There were three gluten free choices marked on the menu.
Halfway through, the wait staff came up to take our drinks order. We wanted hot chocolate and I was pleased when the wait staff checked with the bar, and returned to us saying I could have the hot choc but shouldn’t risk the marshmallows which had been decanted from their original wrappings and placed in a jar so the ingredients couldn’t be checked. I ordered the Classic hot choc, Michael had the Go Nuts hot choc and we got a baby hot choc for Bell.
When the wait staff came to take our food order, I explained my coeliac requirements and asked about the hot winter soup. Unfortunately, despite this being marked gluten free I was told the soup-of-the-day was minestrone and not gluten free. At this point, I was left with smashed avo on toast (from the breakfast menu) or a salad. After hearing about the soup, I wasn’t filled with a great deal of confidence regarding the other options, but the wait staff was very apologetic and recommended the Wood Smoked Tasmanian Salmon Salad. She told me that although it was cold, and most people preferred a hot meal, the salad was really good, so I took her advice. Michael opted for the Apple Strudel from the dessert menu (having already shared some lunch with the girls in the Village).
Our epic looking hot chocolates arrived after a short wait. They were nice but looked more impressive than they tasted. My classic hot choc was good but it was watery and could’ve been chocolatier. It would have been better made with milk than water, and Michael’s Go Nuts hot chocolate was the same but with crushed hazelnuts in it. Bell was quite satisfied with her baby hot choc!
Michael’s apple strudel came out promptly after the hot choc. It was yummy but a bit too sweet, and needed a bit more ice cream. It did add to the alpine feel though! It was quite a long wait between Michael’s strudel and my salad coming out, so Michael had already finished eating by the time I started my salad.
The salmon salad looked really good with little rosettes of salmon on top of a bed of greens. There was spinach, green beans and fennel, and it was sprinkled with hazelnuts and had a hazelnut dressing. The salmon was really good, it was smoky and fresh, and there was plenty of it. I think the green beans had been blanched so they were crunchy, and the fennel added a nice, crisp burst of aniseed. The dressing pulled everything together so it was overall, a lovely dish! I was far more impressed with it than I had expected to be!
I ate slowly and did not feel rushed at all by the staff. It was warm and comfortable in the restaurant watching the snowboarders and skiers’ whizz down the mountain. Eventually, I finished eating and headed to the bar to pay. In total, our food and drinks cost $62, which was a bit steep mostly because the salad was $28. It was delicious though and I think it was worth it just for the experience. If you factor in the cost of the chair lifts too, we spent a massive $162 on lunch but you only live once!
Before heading back down to Thredbo village, we piled on our snow gear and played in the snow for a bit at the top of the mountain. Overall, it was a really enjoyable day!
On top of the big Mountain but not the biggest Mountain!
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