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Eat, love, stay

Bowral's Biota Dining adds room to its service.

Eat, drink, be merry, for a bed is close by. In the European tradition of restaurants offering a place to stay, Biota Dining in Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands, has opened 13 rooms, transforming the well-regarded restaurant and lounge bar into a dining destination.

The 1960s-era motel beside the restaurant has been stripped and refurnished, rather than rebuilt, so the rooms remain boxy and simple, but they're comfortable and share the Biota dining room's calm, clean lines, with wall-mounted willow branches and mid-century Parker furniture.

"They're a resting spot in the grounds of the restaurant, not a hotel," says Biota's chef and owner James Viles, who cites as inspiration Magnus Nilsson's remote Fäviken restaurant in Järpen, Sweden. "We wanted people to arrive, relax, and enjoy our food and wine, and not have to worry about driving afterwards."

It makes sense, then, to settle in and order a five- or seven-course menu paired with wines from a strong list favouring organic and regional labels.

It might start simply with an oyster dressed with native lime, cucumber several ways and bronze fennel, and end with the forest-floor flavours of blueberries, verbena sorbet and iced chlorophyll. Linger for weekend brunch and, on the last Sunday of the month, continue grazing outside at the Biota Produce Showcase. Packages include a one-night stay and three-course meal midweek for $120 per person twin share. Biota Dining, 18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral, NSW, (02) 4862 2005.


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