A 150-year-old wood oven powers Ates, a Blue Mountains destination diner in Blackheath’s original bakehouse. Named after the Turkish-Ottoman word for fire (a nod to its famed former tenant Vulcan’s), this place deals in Mediterranean flavours and local ingredients licked with flames and ironbark smoke.

The kitchen is led by former Tetsuya’s and Rockpool chef William Cowan-Lunn, who co-owns the restaurant with business partner Terry Tan. Focaccia and flatbreads are cooked towards the front of the fire where it’s hottest. Vegetables and proteins – including the signature duck – exit the oven and are paired with seasonal accompaniments. A perennial favourite of roasted scallops is presented in the half shell with chicken-skin butter.

Fire is also unleashed for Ates’s weekend bake shop. Peer through the French windows to find focaccia topped with sweet and sour grapes, pecorino and roquette; house-made ricotta, tahini and honey; or tomato, anchovy and olive. Even the Basque cheesecake and apple galette aren’t spared from the flames.

The wine list is mainly composed of natural drops – but it’s more informed by what tastes good and is complementary to the kitchen’s smoky plates. Blue Mountains producers such as Darragh and Frankly This Wine Was Made By Bob are on show, alongside beers by Katoomba’s Mountain Culture.

It’s not just the roaring fire bringing warmth to the pint-sized space – its cosy charm is bolstered by walls painted in rustic orange tones, bentwood chairs, and tables made from local timber.

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Updated: August 9th, 2023

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