This delicious dish was apple wood smoked ocean trout, pasture raised truffled scrambled eggs, watercress, toasted sourdough and lemon.Read More
The whipped goats curd arrived in a big creamy delicious mound mixed with truffle honey for some sweetness and topped with shaved almonds.Read More
The fruit salad comes with sides of Byron Bay Brookfarm muesli and vanilla yoghurt, but we added an extra of honey. This really was such an impressive meal.Read More
2198 Broke Rd
Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW
Blaxlands Inn is clearly a pretty place in a lovely location. What's not to like about the Hunter Valley and this place is right smack bang in the middle of everything.
First things first, Blaxlands Inn has had some mixed reviews. We were actually reading them while we were there - and it made us a bit nervous.
Price was said to be high - but it is the Hunter Valley people, and if you're not used to the area then it can really surprise you. True there were some pricier dishes on the menu but there were also some reasonably affordable ones too - and we were only after something light.
Next was food quality and serving sizes - well for us both were fine. Again true - the food arrived within and instant of ordering and we had very basic dishes - but it was fine and a decent size. Service was attentive as well.
Anyway, Mlady had a basic salad and a coffee - we weren't overly hungry and this was sufficient.
Sir had a Caesar Salad and a coffee. Again the serving size was decent and even tough it perhaps wasn't presented as well as it could have been, it tasted fine.
Blaxlands Estate is a pleasant place. The rustic building has a lot of charm with plenty of stone and timber and a bygone age appearance.
It's perhaps hard to comment on the food much, as we really didn't have a full meal.
While we ordered fairly basic dishes, what we got was what we expected.
The food itself was decent with good serving sizes.
(Inside The Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens)
2090 Broke Rd
Pokolbin, Hunter Valley NSW
Elements is the new restaurant inside the elegant and picturesque Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens.
It offers a French/Australian fusion menu put together by Executive Chef Jean Marc Pollet.
The menu draws on both seasonal offerings and local produce and much of the local produce comes from his own gardens on his 5 acre farm.
The restaurant is lovely inside - simple and elegant. Outside are absolutely lovely views overlooking the manicured gardens, a stunning fountain bubbling away further down the lawn and a spectacular large fire pit on the verandah crackling right in front of the windows.
We started with some lovely fresh house baked bread.
There are two choices as well, mixed herb bread or garlic bread - so we chose one of each to sample both and they were certainly nice.
We also had a serving of olives, balsamic glaze and virgin olive oil to nibble on as a nice appetiser to get us in the mood for food. It was so pleasant!
It was a great pairing with the plump juicy scallops attractively presented alternating with fluffy tortellini filled with blue swimmer crab.
Down the side of the plate was a line of tomato salsa that not only looked great but added further flavour to the dish.
The scallops looked beautiful topped with red caviar beads that also tumbled off the sides onto the plate.
The tortellini was also a winner - either of these would probably have been enough as a starter on their own with the salsa.
It was artistically presented with the scampi piled high on the souffle.
The dish was one of delicate and very subtle flavours with each combining nicely with the others while not dominating the dish. The scampi and souffle were nicely cooked too.
The dish was made from slow cooked corn fed chicken with Hunter Shiraz, tarragon, mushroom and onion.
It arrived quaintly presented in a lovely cast iron pan and it was a substantial serving of a rich dish with nice bold flavours. Mlady really enjoyed this.
It was Hunter signature select beef, cross breed, pasture fed 250gm eye fillet that was wrapped with bacon and then topped with baked mushrooms
It was a nice piece of meat which had great textures and it was very tender and nicely cooked to order - medium rare.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Elements Restaurant and the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens. Thanks to Eliza, Kimberly and Cassie for looking after us. Special thanks to David Lowe for arranging our visit.
430 Wine Country Drive,
Lovedale, Hunter Valley, NSW
It's hard to know where to start with this lovely place. The minute you leave the main road and weave your way through the manicured golf course and beautiful gardens towards the main building it seems like you're in another world - and a very pleasant world at that!
This place is more than just a place to stay - a lot more than that in fact! It has so much there - luxury accommodation, golf course, sprawling pool, function rooms, volleyball court, several bars and their own brewery even, and of course lovely food in several spots.
Then there's the wineries of the beautiful Hunter Valley right there on your doorstep to wander around by day - sheer bliss!
They seem to have everything here, from giant chess and chequer boards in a lovely outdoor seating area through to comfy lounge areas inside to sip a drink and relax.
They also have a day spa downstairs and if you're looking for something a bit more adventurous there's helicopter rides and segway tours available right there.
Ours was spectacular with plenty of space, light and comfort.
With its own lounge room, dining table and the benefits of a spa bath in the massive bathroom it was almost a pity to leave it to explore!
And lets not forget the view right outside our balcony door.
The grounds here are manicured and simply beautiful.
The lush green lawns are kept so well and there's so much space here - it just seems to stretch into the distance in every direction. Its certainly worth spending a little time exploring - we did.
There's just so much to do here - a weekend is almost a teaser! After exploring the grounds we decided to pop in to the Lovedale Bar and Restaurant for some refreshments - a drink to be more specific!
As they also have the Lovedale Brewery and Distillery next door it seems only right to have one of their drops!
We sat at a table on high bar stools and looked out over the lagoon-like pool and forgot the day to day issues we all have. It's amazing how quickly you can relax when you're in the right place.
Then we felt energised and decided to have a game of table tennis on one of the tables available.
If you prefer pool that's there as well.
As food lovers, a visit to Redsalt, the signature Crowne Plaza restaurant, was a must.
Redsalt is probably best described as fine dining quality in a slightly more relaxed environment. You still get the same quality of service you'd expect but as you'd expect in a holiday setting the overly formal edge isn't there. They have a great reputation for their food and we were keen to sample it!
The caramelised leek and goats cheese tart just sounded so good on the menu.
It came topped with watercress and soft herb salad and a lovely drizzle of balsamic around the pastry tart. The pastry was beautiful - which is always the first test - and the filling lived up to my hopes as well.
It arrived beautifully presented on an elongated slate tile dotted with heirloom tomato, avocado puree and verjus.
This was a more delicate starter than my more substantial one - and it also tasted just as good as it looked.
I fancied something hearty for my main course so grabbed the 500gm dry aged T bone. Dry ageing isn't that common these days and it's nice to see some places still use this more traditional method. In this case, the fact that the meat was 120 day grain fed Certified Angus with a marble score of 2+ didn't hurt either! It was a lovely piece of meat with full flavours that was cooked medium rare as ordered. The hefty potato dauphinoise was lovely as well.
Mlady went again for something a bit lighter - although still substantial. The handmade linguine with basil pesto, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, rocket and grana padano appealed to her inner vegetarian. It actually turned out to be very filling with plenty of tangy flavours that worked well together.
A decent sized green leaf salad with herbs and dijon mustard vinaigrette went well with both main courses.
It was hard to concentrate on the food at times when we also had the opportunity to gaze out over the pool/lagoon. As the sun set the pool lights came on and it looked even more spectacular.
It was rich, gooey and decadently delicious and came with maraschino cherries and vanilla cocoa nib gelato.
If you want a rich dessert to finish your meal - and many of us do - then this is for you.
It was described as also having textures of raspberry, which confused me a bit until it arrived.
This turned out to be a great mix of different raspberry treats across the plate that went nicely with the lemon tart but were also just as nice on their own.
Breakfast the next morning was again in
Redsalt - gazing out again over the pool. It's busy here at breakfast, really busy, yet everything seems to move seamlessly. They have plenty of staff on board which clearly helps a lot. Whilst it's a buffet you can also order for a list of cooked options and the eggs Benedict was always going to be my choice. The two perfectly cooked eggs on smoked salmon and muffin halves were absolutely delicious!
If you prefer to simply visit (and revisit) the buffet selection you won't be disappointed either. There's a huge selection of both hot and cold food ranging from fruits, cereals, nuts and seeds, juices, pastries, breads and of course all the cooked foods you would expect here.
They also have a dedicated coffee station with its own barista - because we all know how important a good coffee is to start the day.
Of course once you decide to venture outside the luxurious surroundings of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley you're in, well, the beautiful Hunter Valley. Now it's time to sample wines, olives, chocolates, cheeses and other goodies - and it's all virtually at your doorstep. Around every corner there's another great place to drop in on - don't be shy. We love this place - and clearly many others do too. As it's so close to Sydney its great for a weekend or a fully blown holiday!
It's another world that is really worth experiencing. The room was great and the food was delicious but the most impressive thing is simply the grandeur of the place. Simply amazing. Once tried, you'll be back!
Sir and Mlady were guests of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Special thanks to all the lovely people there that looked after us so well - it was impressive. Thanks also to Lea Nguyen of Pulse Communications for arranging our visit so professionally.
Hunter Valley Gardens Village
2090 Broke Rd,
Pokolbin, Hunter Valley NSW
Around ten years ago Sheryl Machain and her sister decided to recreate and sell the type of hand made home made biscuits they grew up with.
That has now become Hunter Valley Cookies, now with her husband Fred and daughter Hayley. They bake 25 varieties seasonally but there are 12 favourites baked every week.
These are seriously good cookies as well. Big, chunky, real ingredients and good solid flavours. It's what we all want in a cookie!
The Hunter Valley Cookies shop is also home of the Weird and Wacky Cookie Jar Museum, a private collection of over 60 old and rare cookie jars.
We tried a bag of these and it was very easy to see why they disappear so quickly every day. They were delicious!
Two thick but light biscuits encasing a rich sweet creamy filling - such a great combination and probably my favourite!
The Mochacino Creme is another really popular biscuit.
Its basically a darker version of The Full Monty - with a shot of coffee in each biscuit and chocolate and coconut in there as well.
These were Mlady's favourites - but anything with the word chocolate in it has a bit of a head start with her anyway!
|Hayley Machain at work hand making the cookies|
Sir and Mlady were given cookies to try by Hunter Valley Cookies. Special thanks to Hayley Machain for arranging our visit. Thanks to Sheryl and Hayley for chatting with us on our visit.
Hunter Valley Gardens Shop 15
Pokolbin Hunter Valley
Oscars is pleasant. It's what you would describe as nice, solid, reliable. It looks nice and has both indoor and outside seating. The outside seating looks nicer but on a cold day its not really an option without heating. The food was nice and the prices were fair for the Hunter Valley.
Oscars is a pleasant place for a meal.
(inside Sebel Kirkton Park)
Pokolbin, Hunter Valley
Yes I know that hotel restaurants are always ok - but often just ok. This one was better than that though. The food was well prepared, good quantities and the presentation was excellent. The service was solid too. It was a pleasant find.
Infuzion is a surprisingly good restaurant. The food quality, and quantity is very good, the presentation excellent and the service good as well. The decor is pleasant. Its worth finding!
|The entrance floor - impressive|
Rothbury, Hunter Valley NSW
We were tasting some wines literally next door and this place was recommended to us. After taking a look at the menu we decided to give it a go - and we were glad we did. The food was very nice, the service fair and the decor and outlook very pleasant.
1 Broke Rd
Pokolbin, Hunter Valley
This place has amazing appeal. The minute you arrive there you can see it, when you walk in the door you feel it and once you sit down you experience it. Its oozes style. The bonus is its a cafe as well as a restaurant too.
|Love a good fireplace|
|The elegant front door|
|Fancy a wine?|
|Artwork viewed from the cafe.|
Hunter Valley Gardens Village
Pokolbin Hunter Valley
Bliss is a nice place with a range of food and drinks. They probably get quite a few people through as they are well located in the shopping precinct of Hunter Valley Gardens right next door to the British Lolly Shop.
The coffee was surprisingly good. Very nice flavours and good aroma. We desperately needed them anyway so that may have helped a bit too. They disappeared quickly and we were content.
It has a pleasant ambiance. You can sit inside where most of the seating is located or if you want there a just a few outside seats - we chose one of these. We had a great view of the toy soldier outside the next shop and it was nice sitting in the sun on a pleasant afternoon.
Bliss is pleasant and worth a visit.
|The very large toy soldier|
|It was pleasant outside|