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Canberra Today 2°/6° | Monday, May 20, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Fabulous, fun and formal in Bowral

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON takes in three very different eating experiences in Bowral.

It’s amazing that the Southern Highlands (Mittagong specifically) is the “Australian stage” for Thailand’s Michelin-starred Paste Bangkok. Sister restaurant Paste Australia promises and provides a palate-tantalising adventure.

Wendy Johnson.

We were also excited by a new tapas bar in Bowral, The Parting Glass. Our third experience – Onesta Cucina – has been in Bowral for over 15 years.

Paste Australia is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in a long time. Each dish looks divine and tastes divine. It’s no wonder the restaurant has received a Chef’s Hat by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 and Australian Good Food Guide 2024. 

Multiple set menus are available, starting from $105 for two people. 

The watermelon salad, a signature dish from Bangkok, was a plate of perfection. It was created with ground salmon, fried shallots, and Huon River trout caviar. Equally gorgeous were scallops with lychee (so fresh on the palette), sea urchin and young coconut.

So succulent was the salt and pepper duck with Australian native ingredients shining through (lemon myrtle and mountain pepper). The duck was carefully plated atop a bright pool of vibrant citrusy juices. 

Our fresh sorbet – a grand finale – was a piece of art, painted with ruby red and orange colours. 

The Parting Glass had been open about six weeks on our visit and the young, enthusiastic team were wonderfully friendly and eager to please. I fell in love with the signature Bees Knees cocktail, created with Bee Pollen Tanqueray Gin, Yuzushu, citrus and honey ($21). It was a beautiful way to kickstart our tapas experience.

Share plates are the go at The Parting Glass and the garlic prawn and Betel Leaf skewers were succulent and made our taste buds sing. The chilli glaze was sweet, but the lemon cut through ($20).

We were intrigued with the rabbit and quail profiteroles, served with crème fraiche and Vandouvan quince ($20). They were fun and delicious. Another delightful share plate was the juicy, earthy Portobello mushrooms ($22).

The Parting Glass is a welcome addition to the main street, with a refreshingly different approach and a funky interior. 

A more formal experience was Onesta Cucina, which has been in Bowral forever and a day. The interior is dark overall and formal, in line with the cucina’s promise to provide a traditional, fine-dining Italian dining experience.

While we’d heard good things about Onesta, we had some issues (sad face). It took so long for us to be served that the beef cheeks we had our hearts on were all gone. The figs and prosciutto married well with truffle honey and an intense basilico ($27.50). The braised meatballs were so salty we couldn’t finish them (we mentioned this but were still charged $26.50).

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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