Day Trip to the Blue Mountains and Dinner at Old City Bank Brasserie, Katoomba


V and I took a day trip to the Blue Mountains this past Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend. We lucked out weather-wise: except for Saturday, the entire weekend was sopping wet with rain.

We needed a little training for upcoming hikes overseas and thought we’d tackle an easy one: Echo Point to Scenic World via Giant Stairway, a popular 3-kilometre walk in the Blue Mountains.

The most fun part of the walk was the descent from Echo Point to the bottom of Giant Stairway, 280 metres of narrow zigzagging steps. From the bottom it’s a mild 2.5km walk to the oddly named Scenic World, were you’re treated to a nice clear view of the Blue Mountains. From here, the modern visitor centre provides different ways to comfortably explore further, via cable cars and buses.

Having worked up a thirst and an appetite, we drove back to Katoomba for a pre-dinner beer at the Carrington Hotel, a beautiful hotel opened in 1882.

The hotel itself sits at the top of a stately driveway but at the bottom of the driveway is the Old City Bank Bar & Brasserie, an old bank converted into a pub. It’s a lively, cosy venue downstairs with the bar oddly situated in the middle with a small stage in the back, far removed from the tables at the front of the venue. Upstairs, which I’m advised were the old bank offices and staff quarters, is the busy brasserie (at least it was this weekend; we were advised it would be at least a 40-minute wait but we were thankfully seated in 15).

We started with a couple of entrees to share, beginning with the Pea and Ham Soup, which was perfect for the cold weather.

Pea and Ham Soup $8.50 (entree size)

Our second entree was the Seared Ocean Scallop with semi-dried tomato & rocket risotto, which were large deliciously succulent scallops.

Seared Ocean Scallop with semi-dried tomato & rocket risotto $16

My main was the amazing Bilpin Cider Marinated Pork Belly, whose tender moist pork had a very subtle sweet flavour. The crackling itself just sat atop it, like some porcine cracker to savour with the dish.

V had the Beef and Guinness Pie. Warm and hearty (with a strong Guinness flavour!), she devoured it.

Very satisfied.

The word? Fantastic place for a quality meal. I can’t believe this place hasn’t received more fanfare; the food is delicious and affordable and the alcohol is cheap. The next time I come to the Blue Mountains won’t just be for nature walks, it’ll be to have dinner here. It’s outstanding.

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  1. I haven’t been to Katoomba for AGES…I love the Blue Mountains and we’re long overdue for a visit. I love those green library lamps in the restaurant…and the food looks wonderful


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