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Diamond days at Upper Hunter gem | Dining
Daniel Honan – Newcastle Herald
2 Dec 2016, 1:30 p.m.
Blue and green should never be seen, unless you happen to be in the glorious Upper Hunter.
A stunning vista of bright blue sky, strewn with white woolies, contrasts against row upon row of leafy green vines and their native counterparts, with the ancient, purplish grey ridgelines of the Wollemi National Park in the distance. All this can be seen from inside the woolshed-esque dining hall of Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate Wines at Jerrys Plains.
Set within this sprawling complex of soft green lawns and alfresco dining areas, Vines is open for lunch seven days a week, with breakfast and dinner on weekends. Giant timber beams reach out and across the dining space, above timber top tables and comfy cane backed chairs. Natural light pours in from outside through tall panes of crystal clear glass, while strategically positioned down lights and vine-themed chandeliers illuminate parts of the restaurant where the natural light won’t go. The high ceilings bounce around diners’ voices in a spacious echo, yet the place feels cozy, almost warm, were it not for the ducted air-conditioning that denies the soaring temperature outside. It’s modern country style ambience with food to match.
The lunch and dinner menu reads like a meditation on surf and turf with a Mediterranean twist. There are lots of seafood offerings, such as smoked salmon and nori terrine, caramelised sea scallops, and beer battered barramundi fillets, alongside more pastoral offerings, such as venison rubbed with juniper berry, slow-roasted pork belly, or glazed lamb with seasonal vegetables.
There are plenty of sides to share and to start, including Hollydene’s Moorish plate, consisting of crispy-spiced eggplant, hummus, pomegranate molasses, lemon oil, baby mint, sumac, and lavosh. We order this to start, followed by the venison rubbed with juniper berry and pepper and the glazed lamb served with seasonal vegetables, mint, mango and chilli.
Staff are friendly with an eagle eye for detail; our water is topped up almost as soon as the last drop is drunk, every time. We also order a glass of wine each from the list, which features many of Hollydene’s distinctive Upper Hunter drops. There are tap and bottled beers, plus soft drinks.
Hollydene’s Moorish is most definitely moorish. It arrives on a large white bowl with broad shards of lavosh leaning above a generous wave of hummus topped with little red jewels of sweet, acidic pomegranate and fried, smoky bits of eggplant. A splash of lemon oil adds moisture to the earthy flavours of the hummus while slithers of mint and a dusting of sumac enlivens the dish with a citric tang.
For main, my dining associate’s glazed lamb is huge for a lunchtime serving, and comes with a ton of seasonal vegetables and fruits. The ‘potato smash’ the lamb sits on tastes more like a potato bake than an unrefined mash. It soaks up a splash of meaty demi-glace and feels a little foreign when eaten with the mango and chilli dressing; the sweetness hinders the provincial flavours.
The juniper berry and pepper rubbed venison is delicious, but again, the portion size could be slightly smaller for lunchtime. Pink, tender strips of cervine rest on a heap of crushed potato next to fresh vegetables consisting of crispy kale, broccolini, squash, cherry tomatoes and snow peas soaking in a deep purple and velvet smooth beetroot and raspberry sauce that melds together with a hefty Shiraz jus. There’s a lot going on, it’s delicious, but sometimes the complex mix of flavours and textures cancel out each other.
Hollydene is a hidden gem in the Upper Hunter and the Vines Restaurant is big on space, service, and meal size. The view is priceless, if you go for lunch. If you go for dinner, you won’t see the view, but the stars will shine bright and you will roll out of there wholly satisfied.
What: Vines Restaurant at Hollydene
Where: 3483 Golden Hwy, Jerrys Plains, 2330
Chef: Steve Houghton
Drinks: Wine, beer, soft drink, tea and coffee
Hours: Breakfast: Sat-Sun 9am-11am; Lunch: Mon-Sun 10am-3pm; Dinner: Fri-Sat 6pm-9pm
Bottom Line: $120 for two, incl. drinks
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Do Try: Hollydene’s Moorish w/ glass of Semillon
Local celebrity & writer, MEL JACOB visited Hollydene Estate Wines, Jerrys Plains.
Mel was at Hollydene from 11am-2pm for a book signing.
This is her debut book. In Sickness, In Health… And in Jail.
“What Happened When My Husband Surprised Me by Going to Prison for Two Years”
**Books available at Big W Muswellbrook & can be purchased from Hollydene**
Hollydene Estate Secures Muswellbrook Cup Naming Rights
Hollydene Estate Wines has won the sought after Muswellbrook Gold Cup Naming Rights which was confirmed at a the annual Gold Sponsors Gala Dinner evening on 7th October.
Thirty five local businesses were in the running through the innovative sponsorship program with Hollydene Estate securing the naming rights after being the last business drawn out on the night.
Other Gold Sponsors to make the final four and be allocated naming rights races on Muswellbrook Cup Day included Schmetzer Racing, Peel Valley Machinery and Widden Stud. They will join major race club partners Horsepower, Mt Arthur Coal, Tabcorp and Prime 7 Media as sponsors on Muswellbrook’s biggest race day.
The Muswellbrook RSL were again successful in producing the highest bid in an auction to secure the naming rights to the Fashions On The Field.
MRC Chairman John Sunderland thanked all in attendance for their support of the race club and made particular mention of the diversity of businesses involved from the local area representing all industries in the Upper Hunter.
“The Gold Sponsors Club initiative continues to grow and tonight’s Gala Dinner is quickly becoming the ‘must attend’ event.” said Mr Sunderland.
“We are very proud of our growing relationships with these businesses and our continued community support.”
“The club has never been better positioned.”
John Sunderland also welcomed news that the half-day public holiday has been confirmed for Muswellbrook Cup Day.
“The half-day holiday is an integral part of our cup day so it was pleasing to get that confirmed.”
Muswellbrook Cup Day this year moves to Friday 25th November while races will still be conducted on Melbourne Cup Day – 1st November.
Story from: http://www.muswellbrookraceclub.com.au/club-news-4
Here at Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate, we are very excited and super proud to annouce that WE ARE FINALISTS in the 2016 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence – New South Wales!
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