Hunter valley is world renowned not only for the wines and the cheese that the region has to offer, but also for the exquisite restaurants that is spread across the region. On my most recent visit to the wine country, I visited one of the hidden treasures of The Hunter - The Estate known as RidgeView. Driving down the dark deserted road, the city dweller in me was questioning my hosts choice of restaurant - but I assure you that the road does not do justice to what lies at the end of it. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted when we turned off to the estate, of which the only comparison I could come at that moment was a vineyard that I had seen in a movie.
Am amazing experience overall
The ambience within the restaurant at RidgeView proved to be quite up market in appearance, and I was glad I had dressed up for the occasion. The seasonal menu that is offered at the restaurant is quite extensive, and runs from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to wines, and the Cypriot Meze.
The delicacies that the chef cooks up are made, and hence utilise seasonal vegetables grown in their own gardens. If you are thinking of settling with the RidgeView Cypriot Meze option, as my party and I did - it is best to have a designated driver for the night, as every course comes with an accompanying wine ($85 per person with wine, $65 without wine).
The meze experience requires time. The restaurant staff strongly recommend you arrive early, so you can enjoy savouring every course without haste.
Timing is of the essence. Enjoy.
Although each dish is second to none, my personal favourite would be the second course of grilled Greek Haloumi - of which comes with caramelised pears and pistachios. When the third course of lamb and chicken arrived, I was quite full. At this point, I wished we had taken the advice of RidgeView staff - and come early for dinner. Never the less, I did manage to take my time and savour every bite of the dish to go on to some dessert and coffee.
Time for the sweets
Finishing the meal with a sweet note, we were treated to a Cypriot orange and poppy seed cake, that came with a delightful Greek yoghurt accompaniment. The dessert menu offers a selection of other tantalising desserts, from the Belgian Chocolate Fondant ($18) to the Amaretto Brulee with pistachio biscotti and vanilla bean ice cream ($15). If you are one with a sweet tooth, it is best to ask the staff to plate up a few of the RidgeView desserts on a tasting plate - so you can experience true RidgeView sweetness.
Where: Hunter Valley
Why: Good food, great ambiance - together with a relaxing atmosphere and friendly staff.
Cost: Lunch and Dinner mains $32 - $40
Wednesday 10am to 5pm. Snacks are also available at the cellar.
Thursday - Lunch and dinner.
Friday/Saturday - Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Good for kids: Yes - there is a kids menu available. Furthermore, there is plenty of space for kids to run around in the gardens.
Take away: N/A