Eating out never tasted so good

Such a simple thing: A steak with chips and a schooner of beer. But boy it felt good at the New Ivanhoe Hotel in Blackheath over the weekend.

Escape: Kyle and Melanie Lane with 18-month-old Matilda were happy to get out of the house and have lunch at the New Ivanhoe Hotel in Blackheath.

Escape: Kyle and Melanie Lane with 18-month-old Matilda were happy to get out of the house and have lunch at the New Ivanhoe Hotel in Blackheath.

With bistros allowed to have 10 seated patrons at any one time, there was a steady queue at the Ivy.

Half of the large dining room was closed off and only four tables set up, each at a healthy distance from the other.

For publican, Kerrie Ray, it was bliss to have customers.

"The place is like a morgue without anybody. I'm enjoying opening up to see people," she said.

The Ivanhoe has been open for takeaway meals during the lockdown and the bottle shop has done steady business.

The pub's accommodation has continued to be available, with several railway workers on site, but only in bedrooms with en suites, not sharing facilities.

At lunchtime on Saturday, Glenbrook couple Kyle and Melanie Lane and daughter Matilda were delighted to be out of the house for a day. The pair are hoping to buy in Blackheath and took the opportunity to check out the real estate windows - and to have lunch.

Cafe 2773 at Glenbrook, which also has been operating for takeaway, welcomed its first sit-in customers last Friday morning.

Manager Taryn Baldock said it all went very smoothly.

"We have pretty much had 10 people in all day," she said.

Some customers would go for a walk and come back if all the tables were full. Others waited for their order and often found a table spare by the time the food was ready.

Sitting customers weren't lingering over a long lunch, she said.

"I feel like people were noticing if others were waiting and they were just moving on."

But not all venues have reopened.

Katoomba RSL's CEO, Nick Darias, said it simply wasn't economically viable.

"We'll just wait for stage three, which is hopefully before August," he said.

The same applied to many pubs and clubs up and down the Mountains, which remained closed despite the easing of restrictions.

At Cinnabar Kitchen in Blackheath, social distancing made it impractical to open in the small space, said co-owner Mary-Jane Craig.

"We really miss our little dining room; all the smiling and appreciative faces that come through the front door bringing their appetites and thrum of conversations," she said.

"We'll be back with some old favourites and new tastes from around the globe when restrictions ease further."

The Blue Mountains local government area now has 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a rise of just one case in the past 10 days.