Southern hiatus – Biota Dining Bowral
Location: 18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral, NSW
Chef: James Viles
Awards: 2 hats
Having the last day of a long weekend to spare the Foodie Mookie crew and friends looked around for for a foodie day trip destination. Pookie had asked “where is Bowral” a few times when looking through regional NSW dining so on this day the Foodie Mookie crew chose Biota Dining and made a booking. Having set out at 10am the crew and company arrive to Bowral right on midday at the appointed time and progress into the restaurant proper on what was quite a chill day.
James Vile is a bit of an icon in Southern NSW dining helped no doubt by Biota and his recent release of a book by the same name.His championing of sustainable, ethical ingredients is done in a less spectacular, but no less commendable, manner to the efforts of Eneko Atxa (see Azurmendi review here). Biota’s garden was small in comparison to the total grounds size but it was nice to see local ingredients, a few rarely encountered, on the menu.
Foodie Mookie is excited by the fruit juice match, something that she has been noticing more frequently (see Brae review here). Favourite dishes for the day were whipped dory roe and charcoal (think taramasalata), the Spanner crab – creamed eggs and persimmon, Goose and Prune smoked in paperbark and Squid gently steamed in chicken and pine juices. The standout dish was a dessert – goats milk softie and honey which was served with a Rosella and finger lime gems to makes for a superb combination.
The food did not sing on the day – perhaps because the great man himself was not at the helm. We also would have preferred the plates to have been warmed a little and for all our crew to be served before the dishes were explained. It was excellent to see some rarely used ingredients and Mookie noted that there was none-of-the-usual fare which was enjoyable for its novelty. Should James have been at the helm Mookie is sure that Biota would have lived up to its many accolades. We will try again, thought not any time soon, as its a long drive to be finishing anything less than impressed.