Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson (closed)

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson (closed)

Pouring water into a glass at Native Kitchen & Bar

When a business has a name like Native Kitchen & Bar, it’s more than enough to get my attention. I’d actually only learned about it when some friends mentioned we could try this spanking new eatery and drinkery in their neighbourhood, when we came up for the weekend.

Single Origin Coffee at Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

I’m beginning to expect something new every time we head up to Lawson in the mountains for our little city escapes. The latest offerings are PanTree Produce at the historic Lyttleton Stores, a new Thai restaurant and whispers about an upcoming wine bar next door to and by the same folk at Cortado. It’s all happening in Lawson, and it makes me wonder whether the sea changers from Sydney’s inner west – or so I’ve been told – has something to do with part of the flurry of activity up in the mountains.

Native Kitchen & Bar is a stones throw from the Blue Mountain Hotel, occupying a corner in the relatively new retail development along the highway. It’s open, airy, earthy and fits right into the organic community that the Blue Mountains is now known for.

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

Our first taste was the coffee – beans from Single Origin Roasters in Sydney. It’s lever-extracted from a refurbished 1950’s machine, deftly poured and served in gorgeous handmade stoneware from a Melbourne ceramic artist. The cups can also be purchased, plus a bunch of food items as well as small camphor laurel serving boards. Yep, I got one of those!

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

The nature of the menu is to serve up tasty, produce driven food with ingredients grown organically and sourced locally. It shows on the plate that nothing has been overly complicated – from the house-made sourdough bread (5) to the irresistible cakes and pastries on the main counter. I was kind of hoping to get a taste of the native pepperberry olive oil the menu said we were getting with the bread, but the house-churned butter that replaced it was enjoyed by all.

Of the eight ‘mains’ available, two of them feature meat; so it looks like vego’s get the upper hand at this point in time. Vegans are looked after as well, might I add. Just let ’em know and they’ll do their best to accommodate.

Zucchini salad at Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

A few specials are featured each night they’re open – such as this raw zucchini salad served with black olives, herbs and organic olive oil.

From the bar snacks, we swooned over the kangaroo & bush tomato empanadas (11) – impossibly light and flaky pastry, tender meaty innards and a sharp and fruity chutney to smear all over.

The kids in our small group swooped into the rice with raisin & hummus (10) before I could photograph it properly, but the simplicity was what we liked about it. Deliciously coarse hummus, some tomato, pile of sweet raisins and a couple of rice crackers. There isn’t a kids menu per se, but this plate was geared towards the rug rats – and they loved it. Not that they didn’t help themselves to the rest of our plates, especially the crispy spiced chat potatoes (10).

Kangaroo empanadas at Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

A plate of seared greens (16), or green beans on this particular evening, are so close to being fresh and crunchy that they barely qualify as being seared. It’s exactly how I prefer my beans, so this pile of crunchy greenery doused in pumpkinseed oil and garlic got a tick from us.

Thanks to Native Kitchen having their own fermentation bar, the currently ubiquitous fermented kombucha tea makes it into the slow-cooked lamb. There’s some great flavour going on in there, despite the noticeable dryness of the meat, but all is forgiven when it’s teamed with the pickled daikon and spiced fruit accompaniments.

You don’t often see kangaroo appear on a menu twice, but seeing it did, we ordered both. A juicy pile of seared kangaroo (23) plated with grated raw beetroot as well as cooked, caramelised beetroot. Nice touch with the tiny cucamelons, or Mexican cucumbers, which bring an acidic crunch.

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

The dessert menu didn’t offer more than a slice of plum tart with ganache (12), but I’m sure you could request one of the small purple carrot loaves or nutty friands, providing they haven’t all been snatched up.

Native Kitchen & Bar, Lawson

  • Native Kitchen & Bar
  • Shop 9/10, 292 Great Western Highway
  • Lawson 2783
  • 0424 924 231
  • website
  • facebook
  • Native Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
  • Josie Spicer

    Yep, this has been added to the list for when I eventually make it down to Sydney this decade.
    The ceramics and cutting boards are beautiful – looking forward to seeing yours used in future recipes.

    • I really wish I could get my hands on some of those plates. So beautiful!

  • John, your pictures are so exquisite, I can almost taste the food. This post makes me feel that I’m living on the wrong half of the planet!

  • KevinIsCooking

    Really enjoy your writing, wish we were down there to check this one out. I’d jump at getting one of those camphor laurel serving boards (sweet!) as well as the empanadas and chat potatoes.
    We love to hit up new places and spread the word. We recently had a local one that was outstanding have to close due to lack of community support. The Bison Osobucco was killer. It was our new “place” though I’m sure another will pop up soon enough. Cheers!

    • Thanks Kevin. Next time we’re up in the mountains I’ll have to drop in to see if I can get you a board!

  • There are two things I want from this post. First, that little cutting board with a branch of the tree coming off to the side. Second, the plum tart. No, not just a slice. I want the whole tart.

    • From the short stack of boards, it was the one with the branch that was most appealing. Imperfectly perfect! As for that tart, I didn’t even try it. Kicking myself. Al least I can hope to they have it next time we’re up there.

  • A shame you missed out on the native pepperberry olive oil. Sounds incredible!

  • I am slowly going through this post not only savoring the recipes and the shots of the food but your photos are incredible. I am so glad I was introduced to you through Nagi. You’ve shown me what really good photography is all about.

  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    I like how the menu is veggie heavy, and I’m saying that as a big carnivore.

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