Leura Garage

What a happy surprise. I guess it’s been just over a year since I had a little getaway to the Blue Mountains. Not long after that visit the Leura Garage was transformed from a working mechanics shop to a cafe/restaurant. The process of renovating the space, responsibly and creating a low carbon footprint cafe is well documented on their website. So successful were their efforts that they have won 2 MBA Excellence in Construction awards.

The place is light and airy, the furnishings are comfortable with touches of the industrial, in keeping with the buildings prior function. There are tyres stacked high above one wall, reproduction industrial light shades, concrete floors, old mufflers above the bar and a wall dedicated to look like rust.  I also noticed some knee blankets tucked away for those chilly days when diners may be keen to sit outside.

Owner James Howarth and chef Misha Laurent have definitely thought carefully about their menu, keeping it relatively simple. Breakfast is only available on the weekends, there is a limited lunch menu available til 3pm and an all day menu available 1130am until 6pm. They are also open late most nights, details of which can be found on their website here. The owners have been clever in servicing a huge gap in the lunch time dining options which exist around Leura and Katoomba. There are some interesting cafes around but most seem to be stuck in the 90’s serving quiche with side salads of chopped lettuce, grated carrot and alfalfa, sorry, but that’s what I ate for lunch on my last visit. I mean it was fine but a little boring.

It looked like I had arrived just in time before the lunchtime onslaught. I couldn’t believe how busy they became, even turning people away. I guess it was the week after Easter and there was still a holiday crowd lulling around, or maybe that’s a normal Tuesday for them.

Still the menu is interesting and I thought I’d ask the waiter for some recommendations. He thought the bruchetta was a good choice but I wanted something more substantial, paella. Water came to the table quickly upon being seated, follows by a glass of Canobolas-Smith Chardonnay. I love that they support wines from Orange and Mudgee. I’m crazy about the wines coming out of there at the moment. Great new discoveries, I can’t remember trying one I haven’t liked yet, seriously. And if anyone knows me, I can be a pain when it comes to choosing wine. I don’t think it went with the paella but a great wine never the less.

The paella was full of flavour and the seafood soft and perfectly cooked. The dish was elegantly portioned, which was fabulous because I could easily fit dessert in.

Baked stone fruit, meringue, gelato (your choice of 4) and pistachios. Just look at that dessert, beautiful and it tasted just as good. The meringue was both crunchy and chewy, great.

A few people around me seemed to be getting frustrated with the slow service and inability to get the waiters attention. All I can say is chill people, your in the mountains, it’s relaxed here and you might need to relax too!

Did I mention that you can also get takeaway coffee as well! There is a little window to the outside world, near the coffee machine, where the barista can take orders.

As you can probably tell I was pretty happy to stumble upon this place. I can imagine it would be great for a relaxed evening meal too. If your walking up the main street in Leura, take a right when you get to the roundabout at the top and your there. Enjoy.

12 thoughts on “Leura Garage

  1. Ooh nice! spent formative teenage years on the mountain – know it reasonably well and still have brothers and sisters there – will pass this on to them!
    Looks gorgeous

  2. I’ve read about this place on Billy’s blog and it looks FANTASTIC! We often for for a day trip up to Leura so I’m going to hit this place up asap…looks like so much fun.

    • I didn’t know about this place but I just found it on his blog, great photos! They didn’t have any pastries left after the long weekend, just as well I would have definitely purchased a few for later on.

  3. Good to hear that there is a decent cafe opening up on the mountain. We were in Katoomba last summer (winter for you) and you are so right about the quiche and side salad approach. That said, we found somewhere that did some decent food in Leura, much better than what was on offer in nearby Katoomba. Would love to go back and explore.

  4. Wow I am surprised. We had the worst service of our life there and swore never to go back. We were waiting for 15 minutes with a hungry and babychino wanting 3 year old. Called out to a waiter who blatantly ignored us. Then we asked another waitress who referred the request back to the original one who ignored us by saying, those people are waiting to order. His response was “so is everyone else”. When we decided to leave and i said to him you outright ignored us “he shrugged his shoulders and ignored again” no apology. Much nicer local operators around that aren’t working on their current “hype”. We walked around to good old Cafe Madeline who gave us exceptional service. Never again. I got the impression this waiter too could have been an owner from his attitude. Especially when the woman seating us didn’t seem to care. Which I looked on eatability before as seems a common problem!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s always good to hear another persons experience, especially when it wasn’t the same as your own.
      I must admit I’ve only been once. I wasn’t there on a weekend and I was there early. To tell the truth I was surprised when they said they had been open for a year as the wait staff seemed all over the shop. Shame, it could be so good if the service was better.

  5. Pingback: Blog Review for - LEURA GARAGE Leura - Blue Mountains Food Guide

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