Saturday, April 24, 2010

Did you hear about the Margan?

margan restaurant tasting room broke village hunter valley

I like the concept of dining at a winery. Vast rolling greens. Hard working vines. Delicious tasting plates for sharing. And the bonus? Wine tasting in between courses.

A two-hour drive from Sydney transports us to the region of Broke Fordwich in the Lower Hunter Valley, where the Margan Restaurant is located. The menu is designed for sharing and consists of a handful of tasting plates ranging between $20 to $28 and portioned for up to three persons. As seasonal produce is used, the menu also changes throughout the year.

margan restaurant hunter valley

We start off with the garden potato gnocchi wih grilled prawns and sage, brown butter ($26). The gnocchis are the heroes of the dish. Light and fluffy, they provide a good textural contrast to the prawns. Gary, George and Matt would have approved. The only complaint? The portion is quite small and the picture above depicts two portions.

margan restaurant hunter valley

All is (temporarily) forgiven when we head out to the adjoining wine tasting room while waiting for the next dish to arrive. I don't remember much about the wines (too busy taking pictures) but The Engineer thinks they are not bad. Yes, not bad. Can't you tell we are no wine connoisseurs?

Back to the food. The next dish is linguini nero with seared squid, piqullo peppers and chilli ink sauce ($24). It is optimal. Plenty of great sauce with a strong chilli kick. The only drawback is that it is difficult to photograph. Who says brown food is ugly? Try black. Shush, Donna Hay. Shush.

margan restaurant hunter valley

While we are wine tasting (again), our lovely French-accented waitress gently alerts us that the next dish has arrived. The quail with roated pumpkin, crispy pancetta and pesto sauce ($28) is on the specials board. Another optimal dish, with good quality ingredients and balanced flavours. Oh, there are some pretty asparagus with toasted pine nuts too.

margan restaurant hunter valley

The last tasting plate is the confit duck leg with buttered leeks, yellow beans and garlic potato puree ($26). The duck leg is juicy and moist. Wish there is more of it. We also order some zucchini flower fritters on the side. They are sub-optimal. I prefer more flowers, less batter.

margan restaurant hunter valley

Time for desserts ($15 each). Lavender panna cotta with toffee apples and almonds. Chocolate mousse with caramel hazelnut cruch and vanilla salt. And lemon and blueberry creme brulee, which is disappointingly runny. When we ask our waitress, we are told that their version won't set completely. Oh well. On the brighter side, we think that the chocolate mousse wins hands down. We all like how the vanilla salt accentuates the flavours of the chocolate mousse.

margan restaurant hunter valley

As we all pat S' back for recommending this restaurant, we decide to celebrate such a good meal with more wine tasting. After all, we are in one of Australia's most famous wine regions.

MARGAN RESTAURANT
1238 Milbrodale Road,
Broke NSW 2330
+612 6579 1372

p/s: Sorry about the lack of posts this week. I work in a profession of billable hours and deadlines, and let's just say I have barely survived this week.

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9 comment(s):

My name is Emma. April 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM  

Well the gnocchi with prawns must be a dish sent from above just for me... as these are two of my favourite foods! Although I am not sure I could be so forgiving on the portion size... don't go being stingey with my gnocchi sir!

Glad to hear Gary, Matt and George would approve. Off topic - Have you noticed how George holds his cutlery? My toddler does a better job! :)

Sydney Shop Girl April 24, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

Lovely photos!!

I was just thinking about zucchini flowers the other day too.

Have a lovely weekend.

Can't wait to read of what you get up to :-)

SSG xxx

Amy @ cookbookmaniac April 25, 2010 at 2:04 AM  

LOL with the Masterchef/Donna Hay reference :D You did very well shooting the black ink linguine!

The gnocchi with the prawns made me drool. nom nom nom nom.

Xiao Yen Recipes April 25, 2010 at 7:08 AM  

All the dishes look amazing. The price is not as expensive as I thought it'd be. $20-$28 for up to 3 persons is a very reasonable price. The desserts look mouth-watering delicious!

missklicious April 25, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

All that food looks amazing.

I'll have one of each dessert thanks. Haha

JT @ areyouhungary April 25, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

Tick tick tick for the gnocchi. Big fat cross for the portion size. I'm in furious agreement with you on this one!

OohLookBel April 25, 2010 at 10:11 PM  

The food looks *really* good! Shame it's so far away :P Hope you get more time to yourself this week.

Miss Kitty-Cat April 27, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

Oh, all the food looks amazing! I have only ever been wine tasting at Margan but never to eat and it looks like that has been a mistake.

I'm a massive fan of zucchini flowers - my favourites are from Cafe Sopra - if you haven't had them you need to get yourself there stat.

shaz April 27, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

Your photography is so gorgeous! I didn't realise that the Margan estate had a restaurant too. We visited the area years and years ago (in the era before kids so I think it'd have to be at least 8 years ago), and fell in love with the Margan verdelho but couldn't visit the winery itself as it was closed. Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories.

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