Emerson’s at Pokolbin
Hunter Valley, a place where I frequently visit for my need of reds and whites. And I used to live 40mins down the road, so it makes it all so much easier for frequent visits.
I have never been a fan of the restaurants in the Hunter Valley, yes there has been a lot that have been chef’s hat rated and all. But being there long enough, I’ve seen how long they have lasted. They come and go so fast that even for a regular visitor like me, I can’t remember what was there last time I visited.
However, this time I was acting as a guide for my partner in crime, and she wanted to try Emerson’s at Pokolbin. So we decided to book it in for a Sunday lunch session.
We arrived at the car park and followed the garden path into the restaurant. Small little passage walkway let to a really nice and spacious restaurant. Where we were greeted by a clueless, but very friendly lady trying to work out where table number 5 was. After a few minutes of confusion by her, the floor manager ‘Chris’, managed to hint to the lady where we were to be seated.
The menu was quiet interesting with a nice selection of Tapas dishes. But we decided to go for the 4 course lunch, companion with a glass of red or white for a very reasonable price of $55 a head. Since the other half doesn’t drink, I get to have both glasses of wine. So why not go red and white :P
The restaurant wasn’t very busy for lunch that day. So our meals came out really quickly, and as the meals came out, it was nice of Chris to have a chat to us a bit about the wine and food we were having. To my surprise, the glass of white that companion with the meal was a nice aged 15 years McGuigans semillon from the hunter. A nice golden colour, and very crisp and fruity aroma coming from the first sip. Which was accompanied by a nice Garlic Prawns starter.
Our 2nd dish for the day was Chargrilled Spatchcock with rocket and pear salad and house made tomato mild chilli relish. Just by looking at the photo’s again, I’m already drooling and anticipating for me next visit. The spatchcock was very well made, skin was crispy and the meet for tender and juicy. Accompanied by the relish made the dish almost perfect. The only thing I can to it, is maybe a bit less rocket next time. :P
By the time we finished out spatchcock, my white was almost done. Chris brought out my glass of red for the meal, which was a Cabernet Shiraz from a local winery 2 minutes up the road, known as the Piggs Peake. No further information about the wine was presented by the bottle, as it was a cleanskin. But I will tell you this, if you are at Hunter Valley, your should definitely give that winery a try.
3rd dish of the day was Shredded Beef with patatas braves and spanish onion. The dish came out looking pretty average, but still I have seen worst plating from a high rated restaurant. But non the less. After my careful allocation of the food to our plates, I have definitely improved on the looks of the dish. Judge for yourself below :P . However, when it comes to food, looks aren’t always the main thing, it does help, but I was already impressed with the previous dishes, so I was highly anticipating on trying out our last main dish before dessert. And I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. The beef was excellent, despite its plain appearance, and the accompanied sweet caramelised balsamic, topped it off very nicely.
Ok, last but not least, DESSERT!!! We weren’t that interested in the desert on the 4 coursed menu, so we asked if we could exchanged it for something else, and Chris was more than happy to obliged. So we decided on Dessert No. 1: Chocolate fudge brownie and dark chocolate sorbet and spiced cherry.
Desert No. 2: Peanut butter parfait with burnt honey marshmallow and butterscotch.
The only thing to say about these dessert is, the plates were empty by the end of it. It was just simply delicious and amazing.
Overall we were very impressed with the quality of food, service and atmosphere at Emerson’s. We do highly recommend it. We just hope its a place that will stay at Hunter Valley, but it would not surprise us if it was to suddenly disappear one day like the rest of the other restaurants around the area. So go try for yourself before this gem disappears.