Yesterday brought a return trip to Lochiel House and once again it charmed and delighted. The food in the historic 1825 cottage was delectable and the team on the floor as always did a lovely job. This time the trip was without mum. The last visit was part of a round circuit through the Blue Mountains, up the Bells Line of Road, a stop a Lochiel House then round to Mount Victoria and back through Katoomba before returning home. On that trip, I learnt that she had spent her honeymoon with dad at Mount Victoria and we shared stories and secrets.
Every time we’ve taken that road the first sound of the bellbirds started mum reciting the Henry Kendall poem.
By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.
The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.
October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.
Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.
Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.
Bellbirds by Henry Kendall was first published in Leaves from Australian Forests in 1869.
Sadly though now without mum, this trip was much enjoyed. After approaching our lunchtime destination to the resounding clear call of the bellbirds up Bellbird Hill we savoured and enjoyed our delightful three courses. All of my three courses enchanted though I did leave on a stunning soft sweet note – Soft Meringue Roulade, Vanilla Cream, Rosè Jelly, Strawberries, Shortbread Pebbles.
In the relaxing atmosphere of the day, cameras were forgotten, so there’s just a couple of iPhone photos (that don’t do justice to the food – but then again when does photography ever capture aroma taste and flavour) to tempt you.
It’s an easy day trip from Sydney and as a regional restaurant, Lochiel House is well priced - such a delightful way to enjoy a highly acclaimed restaurant. The team honour local ingredients with classic techniques that are mostly French in foundation then call some Asian influence into the mix. Matched wine suggestions are available for any dish. All is well with the world.
1259 Bells Line Of Road, Kurrajong Heights NSW 2758 Australia
+61 2 4567 7754