You’ll find The Blue Fox Bar & Kitchen on Main Street, set away from the bulk of the commercial district. It’s an inviting space, with brick-lined archways and dungeon-like sliding wood doors allowing lots of different perspectives though the dining room.
Industrial metal-footed tables, with metal struts shining through the wooden table-tops, pay homage to Lithgow’s iron and steel past. Large, ball-of-string inspired statement lights and strings of fairy lights crisscross the dining room.
The double-wide cottage’s front yard is also decorated in fairy lights, with a mad hatter’s tea party scene paying homage to Ironfest’s Once Upon A Time theme. The twenty-year-old festival is Lithgow’s biggest drawcard, benefiting hotels and restaurants alike. Tonight the dining room is full of locals and visitors, many still dressed in their festival costumes.
Craving something fast in the cold weather, we order Potato Skins ($14), which come with a too-cold pot of caramelised onion cream. They’re too thick to really be called skins, and under-seasoned, making them a bit boring to eat, particularly with such a paltry amount of onion cream.
There’s more flavour in our Crispy Chicken Wings ($18/half kilo, $24/kilo), half-smothered in sticky hot Korean sauce (gochujang) that has nice, lip-tingling heat. We accompany these share-plates with a 2017 Heslop Chardonnay ($45/bottle) from the neighbouring wine region of Mudgee. It’s served quite cold, but improves as it warms, throwing fresh melon with the tiniest suggestion of oak.
With the Kiln-Braised Sticky Pork Ribs ($27) sold out by the time we placed our order quite early on a Sunday night, I downgrade to the Chicken Schnitzel ($25) served with standard fries, and a decent apple ‘slaw. The crumbing feels a bit oil soaked, but the bird itself is fine. It's served with a pot of the chef’s own take on Diane sauce is a weird, sweet disaster, I’m guessing through the use of overly sweet wine.
Saucing doesn’t improve with Scotch Fillet ($36), which arrives with a vaguely beefy, brown water that tastes of Bovril, and purports to be a red wine jus. Seasoning is just not done on anything - steak, mash, chips or schnitzel. The plates are too thick not to be heated, particularly in such a cold place, meaning our honey carrots arrive stone cold. The greens are completely undressed, making the truffle mash the plate’s savior, and a good foil for the grain-fed, Cowra fillet steak.
With more attention to detail on the plate, this attractive space could be more than a popular drinking hole.
The Blue Fox Bar & Kitchen
277 Main Street, Lithgow
Ph: (02) 6352 1259