Husband treated me to a weekend in the Southern Highlands as a little post-birthday escape. I’ve heard about Biota and always wanted to try it, so we built the weekend around our planned visit. We even stayed here on the Saturday night that we ate.
Both of us thought from the photos of the countryside on the website that both the restaurant and accommodation would be out in the bush, overlooking a field! But it’s just a little ways from the town centre, so not quite as pretty or remote as expected. The room is very stylish though.
Sadly, I can’t give a proper review of the experience though. I had a terrible cold, and my main effort at dinner was to not cough all the way through. I was full of phlegm and it affected my taste buds too, so the local wine, which I’m sure is very good, sort of tasted all the same to me.
The young wait staff were all very earnest and did a good job, though some seemed a little nervous. It definitely reminded me of tourist towns around the world where young people are providing most of the service, before they go back to school or manage to move away.
It’s not a very good photo but I think this was my favourite dish: artichoke and turnip and onion milk and pine oil. It was rich and creamy and interesting.
The other dishes were interesting and beautifully presented.
But as I said, I’m not sure I can fairly judge the experience.
The octopus jaffles didn’t really taste much of octopus though, even husband thought so.
And while I love the idea of wallaby stew, as it seemed really Australian and of the place …
I found the dish wasn’t particularly refined with the big bones and the meat, which was neither here nor there: neither the texture or taste stood out in any way to me.
But as I said: I was sick (though happier to be sick on holidays and away from Sydney then to have been sick at home).
All in all, I was definitely glad we did this, and I think it’s great that Biota is creating a dining experience like this in regional NSW, highlighting local ingredients, and promoting Modern Australian fine dining.
A quick look at reviews on TripAdvisor though and I can see that with good word of mouth, the prices and the chef’s hats translate into high expectations, which from quite a few reviewers are not being met. I wonder what’s going on.