New beer garden the place to relax in Leura

Wim Van Th Ielen and Claire Paproth in the beer garden with the fabulous views, in Flemish Flavours at the top of Leura Mall.
Wim Van Th Ielen and Claire Paproth in the beer garden with the fabulous views, in Flemish Flavours at the top of Leura Mall.

It's a beer garden with a million-dollar view.

Claire Paproth and Wim Van Th Ielen have restored and revitalised the garden beside their Flemish Flavours business at the top of Leura Mall, turning it into a leafy, relaxed, family-friendly space with a view over all of Leura-Katoomba and to the Jamison Valley.

The Bullaburra couple, who have run Flemish Flavours restaurant for the last four-and-a-half years, are now ready to welcome locals and visitors into a laid-back space to try a beer, a wine, some bar snacks or maybe a full meal afterwards.

Beer is Belgian-born Van Th Ielen's specialty. He can explain the processes that go into making fermented sour ale (aged for two years in oak) and spontaneously fermented (too complicated for this reporter to relate).

Such is his love of beer, he and a cousin have actually bought a Belgian beer company and will soon introduce their own product - Mokke - to their extensive range of brews.

The pair was encouraged to clean up the overgrown garden by the historic house's new owner, who acquired it about two years ago.

It has taken nearly that long to cut back some towering rhododendrons, thin out some conifers that were obscuring the views, remove endless weeds, uncover old paths and rockeries and lay a new lawn among the trees and gentle gravel paths.

They have also set up a children's playground in the fully-fenced site.

"It's perfect to leave the kids while you have a drink," said Ms Paproth, adding "that's what we do with ours" (their nearly four-year-old Elian, and his two-year-old sister, Mae).

There are small tables and long benches to accommodate all manner of groups, and a bar menu that includes the likes of chickpea fingers, kransky and pork pate or more substantial burgers (pulled pork, barramundi or brisket).

All foods are created on site in the kitchen, apart from the bread, which is sourced from Black Cockatoo at Lawson.

The couple met in Paris 13 years ago. Mr Van Th Ielen was working in a restaurant there, Ms Paproth, originally from Melbourne, was travelling.

There followed a fair bit of coming and going between Europe and Australia until, six years ago, they made the decision to settle in Australia.

They were on a road trip to see Ms Paproth's family in Melbourne when they stopped in Blackheath and decided the Mountains was the life for them.

"We just thought it's a great place to live," said Mr Van Th Ielen.

It also had so many opportunities for a couple who have always worked in hospitality.  

When the old Hillcrest Coachman closed down on site, they jumped at the opportunity to start up their Flemish Flavours.

"We want to open it up to the community and let people know there's more than a European restaurant here," said Ms Paproth.

Flemish Flavours is minutes away from Leura station,avoiding the need to bring the car.

As well as casual drinks, snacks and full meals in the restaurant, it can also cater for weddings, parties and other events.

It is open until late Thursday to Sunday - from 5pm Thursday, and from noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.