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A bush restaurant from the man who put Bondi icebergs on the map.
In a most unexpected location, an hour’s drive from Sydney on the Central Coast, is a new no-expenses-spared restaurant. Anywhere else, its boot-scootin’ cowboy aesthetic might be on the wrong side of kitsch. But here, on 25 acres overlooking a large dam and surrounded by thick and dry, sepia-toned bush landscape, it works. Saddles was opened by John Singleton, the most moneyed advertising big shot in Sydney – if not Australia – who once owned Bondi’s scene-stealing Icebergs.
Here it feels like the Man from Snowy River has retired in prosperity and turned his ranch into a daybreak escape for city-slickers. There are grand sandstone fireplaces and leather saddles doubling as bar stools – crafted at a cost of up to £4,000 each by artisanal master saddler Heath Harris. The food is simple and hearty, and completely unpretentious: whole roast chickens, tender lamb shoulder and meat pies packed with rich, slow-cooked beef chunks steeped in red wine. Everything from the tomato sauce to the still-warm sourdough is made here, and native ingredients such as finger limes, lemon myrtle and Davidson plums are picked from the restaurant garden; the drinks list, bar the Champagne, is all-Australian, too. Saddles has injected some oomph into the go-slow coast, a once lo-fi spot that’s now attracting a savvy Sydney crowd every weekend. Among a smattering of new openings in the area, this is certainly the place to be for Sunday lunch – worthy of a motorway detour in its own right.
Address: Saddles, 20 Ashbrookes Road, Mount White, New South Wales, Australia
Telephone: +2 4370 1152