From cafes with house-fermented kombucha to heritage-listed pubs with leafy beer gardens, and delis helmed by award-winning chefs, the Kangaroo Valley restaurant and cafe scene is surprisingly strong.
This tiny township occupies a prime slice of country New South Wales’ real estate, sitting pretty in a wide valley, and flanked by lush farmland, freckled with waterfalls and surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Highlands. If you’re spending a long weekend capitalising on the valley’s many outdoors adventures, then these are the cafes and restaurants to visit on your travels.
The Friendly Inn Hotel
This laidback, heritage-listed pub, dating to 1897, is one of the region’s oldest. Beyond its menu of crowd-pleasing pub staples (think burgers, steaks, salads and schnitties) ‘The Friendly’ certainly lives up to its name, welcoming dogs and families with open arms. Relax in the pub’s beer garden around a picnic table with a cold schooner or a glass of rosé, and watch the kids scramble around the covered playground area. There’s even a petanque court, and often live music.
Address: 159 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 2 4465 1355
This heritage-listed pub is one of the region’s oldest, dating back to 1897.
Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop
You’ve got to get in early if nabbing a handmade pie from this Kangaroo Valley stalwart is on your agenda – especially if you’re a veggo after their coveted curried vegetable pie. Made with love, and flaky pastry, the Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop turns out all the classics: steak and mushroom, beef and Guinness, and, of course, the traditional Aussie meat pie. But there are also sausage rolls, apple pies and milkshakes on offer, as well as a whole wall full of locally produced pantry items to stock up on. Sit out on the covered deck of this quaint little weatherboard cottage with a hot pie and a cold and creamy milkshake and watch the world go by.
Address: 2053 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 2 4465 1360
Hampden Deli, Dining & School
Part deli, part wine lounge, part cafe, part cooking school, part occasional restaurant: Hampden wears many hats, and wears them well. This highly rated Kangaroo Valley establishment makes a mean coffee – coffee flights are even on offer – and it’s serious about preparing everything from scratch in-house too. Pickling, fermenting, brining, baking; you name it and Hampden Deli probably does it. After all, chef and co-owner Nick Gardner was once named Young Chef of the Year by The Sydney Morning Herald, and counts stints at greats such as California’s celebrated The French Laundry and Sydney’s Quay among his resume experience.
Stop in for a soup, salad or toasted sandwich, or grab a Scotch egg and a pastry for the road. Check Hampden’s website for updates about their rotating roster of cooking classes (think bread-making and charcuterie) and one-off dinners. Or swing by the Wine Lounge on the weekend for a glass of New or Old World Wine, as well as grazing plates.
Address: 4/160 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 477 002 102
Enjoy one of Hampden Deli’s many offerings, from a great cuppa to delicious food and wine.
The General Cafe
Homemade organic sourdough? Tick. House-fermented small-batch kombucha? Tick. A bounty of fresh, seasonal produce gracing the cafe’s breakfast and lunch menu? Tick. Perch on one of the tables out front and people watch, or head to the tranquil, leafy, sun-dappled veranda out the back. The kind folks at The General can cater to veggies, dairy-free and gluten-free diets, and there’s often new specials to try, many of which are Asian-inspired (hello black rice porridge, lightly spiced congee and Korean-style wok-fried eggs with white kimchi).
Address: 51 Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 2 4465 1660
There’s often new specials to try at The General’s Cafe.
Jing Jo Cafe
This smart-casual Thai eatery is popular among visitors and locals alike – so much so that you shouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already sold out of several dishes on the menu by the time you rock up for dinner. Chef Chai uses herbs and vegetables from the restaurant’s very own kitchen garden, as well as locally sourced produce, to make dishes such as por pia (spring rolls brimful of minced veggies and served with plum sauce) and pad ka pao (fresh chilli and basil leaves stir-fried with squid, prawns or chicken). Not only are the prices reasonable, but it’s BYO wine to boot. And put aside some stomach space for the restaurant’s sticky date pudding, or lemon meringue pie too.
Address: 8/160 Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 2 4465 1314
This smart-casual Thai eatery is popular among visitors and locals.
It’s not strictly in the ‘KV’ township, nor is it strictly a restaurant or cafe, but it’s still worth highlighting this boutique, husband-and-wife run winery. Yarrawa lies just a 14-kilometre drive north-east of Kangaroo Valley. And beyond enjoying the owners’ warm country hospitality, weekend visitors to Yarrawa can sample Mark and Sue’s fruit-forward verdelho, buttery chardonnay and peppery shiraz. Chase your tastings with a cheese platter, accompanied by some of Sue’s homemade pickles
Address: 43B Scotts Rd, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, 2577
Phone number: +61 2 4465 1165
Weekend visitors to Yarrawa can sample various wines from the estate.