There’s everything you could wish for on a Hunter Valley Wine and Food Indulgence weekend or short break, from cellar door tastings to long lunches and delicious dinners. Wednesday to Sunday are main opening days for many restaurants and bookings are recommended/essential for signature dining experiences.
Arriving in the afternoon/early evening, plan to eat where you are staying or close by. Redsalt Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is open for dinner Thursday–Sunday. Goldfish Bar & Kitchen at Riche Estate is a retro bar/meeting place with an extensive cocktail menu and food designed to share, open seven days. Next door, Oishii is a Japanese/Thai restaurant –dine in or order takeaway.
Breakfast at your accommodation or head out to Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery. Café Enzo at Peppers Creek Village on Broke Road is also big on delicious breakfasts and, next door, taste olive oils, tapenades, pesto at Pukara Estate . Next, taste wine at David Hook Wines specializing in single vineyard wines.
Head out, turning left along Broke Road to De Iuliis Wines for fresh takes on Hunter classic wines. Turn left again then right onto Hermitage Road where Scarborough Wine has one of its two cellar doors and and a flagship Chardonnay. Opposite, drop into the Keith Tulloch sublime cellar door and upstairs tasting room (charges for tastings apply). Muse Kitchen here is open for lunch Wed -Sun and dinner Friday and Saturday, but you should book. Cocoa Nib at the Keith Tulloch Cellar Door has artisan chocolates made with French chocolate.
Don’t miss Thomas Wines because Andrew Thomas is one of the Hunter’s most passionate wine makers, producing 100% Hunter Shiraz and Semillon. Estate Tuscany is also the home of the Brokenback Bar serving wine, beer and spirits and with a cafe menu including the likes of momo dumplings, beef cheeks and coq au vin.
So for your Saturday night out you might consider Muse or Muse Kitchen, Restaurant Botanica at Spicer’s Vineyard Estate, Esca Bimbadgen. Or Yellow Billy because of its delicious fire pit cooking or rustic Circa 1876 with a farm to fork ethos. At Broke, much-loved Margan Restaurant grows much of its own produce or sources locally.
Panino Caffe Restaurant at Wollombi hits the spot for dinner at weekends with Sardinian-inspired dishes, specials and faves including including Angus beef fillet with porcini jus and duck pappardelle with mushrooms, black truffle and mascarpone. Open for breakfast and lunch (yummy pizzas!) Thursday-Monday and a la carte dinner Friday-Sunday.
More Hunter Valley Itineraries
Planning your time around a long lunch? Try Baume at the Ben Ean Complex, McDonald’s Road or Bistro Molines (booking ahead essential!) on Mount View Road for delightful French food in a wonderful hillside setting. Locals love it so much they celebrate significant anniversaries and birthdays here.
This road is worth travelling just for the views so from Pokolbin follow McDonalds Road, stopping at the Small Winemakers Centre. Next, turn right following de Beyers Road to the Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard, one of the Hunter’s best vantage points. Back on McDonalds Road, Brokenwood make some of the best Hunter wines.
Follow Broke Road west to the Broke-Fordwich designated wine area where Margan is in superb setting – perfect for a long lunch.
Broke-Fordwich has many cellar doors to discover such as Whispering Brook. In the mood for a meandering drive, loop back through Wollombi, visiting the biodynamic Krinklewood vineyard on the way.
Wollombi has its own vineyard trail including pretty Undercliff (wonderful birdlife wine labels by super-talented Janet Luxton). Noyce Brothers cellar door (run by the family of film director Phillip Noyce) at Grays Inn between Panino Caffe Restaurant and the photogenic Wollombi General Store.
Returning to Pokolbin via Tourist Drive 33, visit inviting Stonehurst Cedar Creek with superb local wines. Return via Mount View Road OR via Cessnock with an historic streetscape on Vincent Street, supermarkets and pubs.
Note: Of course you mustn’t drink and drive so working out who tastes and who drives is essential to the plan or join a wine tour by limo, horse and carriage, vintage cars and by bike.