Another lunch in the Hunter Valley, this time in Pokolbin at Hope Estate’s Harvest Restaurant. After checking out and trying some wines at Hope Estate we decided to head upstairs to their restaurant. Although the wines were slightly on the drier side and weren’t quite to our taste, the food was really enjoyable.
After being seated, we were offered some Complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, butter and olives. Fluffy bread with more than enough creamy butter for a nice thick layer and some olives to finish it all off. Being super hunger and a little wobbly from all the wines we quickly demolished the bread.
To start our meal we got a Beef carpaccio with crispy croutons, aioli and rocket ($22). This was really nice, the aioli gave the fresh and flavoursome meat an extra tangy kick, it also added an overall creaminess to the dish. The slight bitterness of the rocket also helped out towards the end of the dish when it became just a little too rich whilst the croutons gave it some texture and crunch.
For our main we got the Nigella Crusted Lamb Loin with Peas and Celery Root Puree ($35). This was really nice, the meat was juicy and tender, the crust was slightly crunchy and gave the lamb a lovely herb flavour and helped to break up the texture of the dish. The peas were nice and fresh, their subdued flavour helped to lighten the dish overall, and gave it some beautiful colour. I also was a big fan of the celery root puree, not sure if this is actually celery, like the one you have with peanut butter or tartare sauce (yuumm) because I imagine that would be green and quite flavourless. This one was definitely not flavourless! It was super creamy and added a lot of flavour and complimented the herbed lamb brilliantly.
As an addition to our main we grabbed some Oven roasted potatoes with shallots ($8). When we were ordering we felt like we might’ve needed some starch to offset all the wine we were drinking and these looked great. They were soft and mushy on the inside but the skin was nice and crispy, pretty much a perfect way to have potatoes. Also a big fan of a little bit of shallot on everything, really adds some great flavour to the rather mild potatoes.
To finish off our meal we grabbed a Coconut panna cotta with late harvest poached pineapples ($14). This was amazing! Like all good panna cottas, it was creamy and smooth. It had a strong coconut flavour and was quite sweet however this worked nicely with the poached pineapples that balanced off the whole dish with a slight bit of sourness. I really liked the pineapples here, normally they make me a little nervous cos I’m not very good with sour foods. However the caramelisation and the sugar syrup that came from it was so good.
I really enjoyed the food at Harvest, overall it felt lighter and more refreshing than the other meals we had in the Hunter Valley, although the ingredients seemed dense on paper. The restaurant also had an amazing view, the outside dinning area sat on top of a hill and looked out on the rolling mountains of lush green grass, you could also see dotted vineyards here and there. Plus during the cooler days, like when we were there they also had some clear plastic sheets which kept out the cold winds but allowed us to admire the fantastic view which I thought was really thoughtful of them.
Also had a peep of the wedding venue whilst heading to the bathroom, I hadn’t seen any other wedding venues in the Hunter Valley so I can’t compare but the one here was really cool. On either side, the walls were lined with massive, 2m in diameter wooden wine barrels. The whole room looked like an historic winery, with an open roof and wooden pallets running through it and uncovered brick walls, felt really rustic. It also was a pretty large room, I counted ten tables fitting ten people each and imagining it, it didn’t feel cramped at all.
Amazing venue, view and food.
Check out some of our other food adventures from the Hunter Valley: