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Apple Bar

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The area around Bilpin has deservedly a good name for growing some of the best apples in the state. The altitude has something to do with it, and the cool climate.

Several years ago when chef-restaurateur Michael Jaggard decided to leave his city restaurant and look for somewhere he could live and work, he chose this area, opening the aptly named Apple Bar.

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Knowing that the crisp country air invigorates appetites, he made sure he included his favourite way of cooking - a wood-fired - and sourced local ingredients to create a hearty seasonal, regional menu.

Today's Apple Bar is busy and redolent with the aromas of roasting meats, fresh-baked pizzas, olive oil, tomatoes, rosemary and cheeses.

The long L-shaped dining room is packed most nights. Many diner order pizzas, even though they may need to wait: the oven only takes three at a time, and lots of other dishes on the menu are also 'wood-grilled'.

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No one cares. The wicker chairs are comfortable, the view of the scurrying chefs in the open kitchen and the glow of the oven's mouth is reassuring. There are always the antique 'bits' hanging over the open servery too - colander, rabbit traps and a copper pan or two.

The menu features as much as possible local produce, although they admit the mussels are perhaps the greatest hit. Otherwise it's things like juicy lamb rissoles with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, tzatziki and chips. Good chips, the same ones served with the popular mussels.

Many do go for the pizza - satisfyingly topped, crisply bottomed - and if local mushrooms are out of season or unobtainable, so be it. The four seasons pizza, becomes three seasons. It's that kind of place! 

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There's a bar and a winelist with just enough offerings by the glass or bottle to fit with the menu, and an outdoor deck too. for warmer days or nights.

Apple Bar, 2488 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin, NSW, +61 2 4567 0335. Dinner Thursday-Monday. Licensed. Bookings recommended.

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