In Kurrajong Village, just an hour outside of Sydney in the foothills of the lower Blue Mountains.PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Despite being one of the first settlements in Australia, Kurrajong Village seems to develop fifty years behind the big city. Wandering through the tiny country town, a cute cottage named Sassafras Creek Café peeps out from behind the tall leafy trees that line the street. Old-fashioned community spirit and contemporary stylings come together under the high ceilings of this restaurant. With the mask of a country cottage, it opens into a modern gallery with ever-changing exhibitions. The artistic minds from which these mysterious portraits, whimsical watercolours and contorted glassware come are as local as the ingredients found on the menu. The view of verdant bushland that fades into the Sydney skyline in the distance draws diners through the the veranda, nearly missing the artworks that hang around the restaurant.
Mrs. Ege sought out this restaurant with her husband, moving especially from Germany to take over the Sassafras kitchen. She now sweetly attends tables and makes suggestions on her husband’s menu to indecisive diners. Chef Mr. Ege revels in the bountiful vegetation of the fertile area and so changes the menu weekly to include the best harvests of the local farmers.
This week, butternut pumpkins are bright and abundant and can be enjoyed in pancakes for entrée with sour cream and a sharp black olive tapenade. For dinner, plump little truss tomatoes sit beside grass-fed sirloin with merlot reduction, truffle mashed potato and earthy mushrooms and onions. Delicate zucchini flowers fragrant from their tomato and basil stuffing lay on rocket risotto with a pinot gris foam making a colourful contrast to the bright petals. Nothing says country heart like a slice of home-made tart, and fig beads pop with sweetness through the custardy layer of this one, while accompanying honey caramelised walnuts and mascarpone cream give a heart-warming honey-and-milk feeling.
This quaint country cottage has the pleasure of abundant local ingredients that other restaurants can only dream of. Its delicious dishes are a true taste of the area served with old-fashioned community spirit.