Margan Winery has a special place in our heart due to one little special drop we’ve fallen in love with. The 2011 Ripasso, quite possibly the best $75 you’ll ever spend! The restaurant is highly lauded in the Hunter and we were thrilled to finally dine at the chef hatted restaurant. A quick wine tasting gave us more of an insight into their diverse collection of wines, we do enjoy their wine variants. After a tour of the beautiful gardens (of which the produce is used in the restaurant) we headed in for a leisurely lunch. The 5-course tasting menu is exceptional value for $100 pp. For those non designated drivers, 5 matching wines are an additional $45.
Before moving on to the food, the setting is just so darn picturesque. Service was professional and unobtrusive, expertly guiding us throughout the meal. A series of ‘snacks’ were brought out to get the appetite raring. House-grown plump green olives & parmesan chunks with grisini were a delight, the parmesan having quite a sharp bite and encapsulating spring in a few bites was the Peas & Ricotta on a housemade cracker.
Starting on a lighter note, the Warm Salmon -w/creme fraiche, beetroot, horseradish & puffed rice was a delicate interplay between the sour creme fraiche, earthy sweetness of the beetroot and the subtle smokiness of the salmon.
One of my favourite courses was the Crispy Margan Hen’s Egg -w/ asparagus, snap peas & spinach. A show-stopping dish, with the layers of kataifi pastry adding an exceptional varying interest in texture. The egg once cracked open revealed an oozing bright orange yolk. This dish truly showed off the gardens exceptional produce.
Roast Duck Breast -w/confit duck leg, pumpkin, kumquat & pistachio was sheer perfection, a slight citrus tang, the pumpkin in various formats gave an interesting depth of flavour alongside the pistachio. The duck was cooked beautifully, particularly the confit leg, virtually melting in the mouth.
The last of the savoury was the Jack’s Creek Rump Cap -w/ braised brisket, leek potato & onion. Expertly cooked medium rare with a caramelised outer char. Smooth buttery mash. The brisket lardons were a highlight, adding a concentrated salty hit and tying it all together the subtle warmth from the mixed spring onions & leek.
And finishing quite possibly on my favourite dish of all. Parsnip, caramelised white chocolate & buckwheat. On paper, this didn’t have me too excited but after the first bite, it was love. Essentially a parsnip ‘carrot cake’ with a multitude of textures, temperatures and depths of flavour. The puffed buckwheat giving a real toasted note but it was the caramelised white chocolate that stole the show for me.
Margan is one of our favourites in the Hunter so we do recommend making it a point to check them out, just don’t forget the Ripasso!