Muse Restaurant is one of those bucket list restaurants on most foodies’ lists of restaurants to visit. It has been awarded one chef’s hat from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide four years in a row, and won two hat’s for the first time in the 2015 guide. Located at the Hunter Valley, it is a bit of a drive from Canberra so you might as well make a long weekend of it.
Since I’m not a drinker, I honestly didn’t know when I’d ever get a chance to try it out. Until some foodie friends decided to hold their wedding reception at Muse Restaurant. OMG yes! The restaurant is located at the Hungerford Hill Winery – a big spacious building with a separate wine tasting room, restaurant room and bar.
Some canapes were served at the start. First out were the mushroom and sage macarons. An odd combination and I never would have thought a mushroom macaron could taste so good. A friend said they were like Jatz crackers with an initial salty crunchy shell before the savoury and sweet mushroom flavour comes through. It’s really hard to define and explain, but it was a brilliant combination. This was very popular amongst the crowd (I had three).
The blue cheese arancini balls with (I think olive) mousse on the side were perfectly cooked cheesy risotto balls, in a lovely crispy batter. Really simple but done so well. No shots of the inside, I was too busy eating it.
We were ushered into the main dining room for the formal reception to commence.There’s a fireplace that you can see through dividing the reception and formal dining area. It would be nice to visit in winter.
The first entree were the pan fried sea scallops, chorizo, spring peas and beans, and Andrew Thomas verjuice. Big juicy scallops with a spicy chorizo mix on top went hand in hand. The beans were fresh and crunchy. I really liked the verjuice in the form of clear jelly on the plate that added some cold acidity to the dish. Absolutely superb. Some of the best cooked scallops!
The alternative entree was the potato gnocchi ‘risotto’ with gorgonzola custard, walnut, and pickled baby king brown mushrooms. This was an interesting new take on a regular risotto. The miniature pieces of gnocchi were soft and so cute. I loved the scattering of truffle on top. And how pretty does it look?
One of the mains was the Milly Hill lamb served pink, with black garlic polenta, leek and jus. I was lucky enough to be served the lamb. It was served pink as stated on the menu which is hard to nail at other restaurants. This lamb was perfection – soft to cut through, tender to chew with a natural delicate lamb flavour enhanced by the jus. I couldn’t have asked for a better cut of lamb! The general consensus around the table was the same.
The alternative main was the slow cooked Berkshire pork, cumquat, pearl barley and roasted onion. I have to say this wasn’t as good as the lamb but would’ve been if I hadn’t tasted the lamb first. The cumquat gel was full of citrus goodness and gave the pork added zing. The pearl barley gave a different healthy textural element to the dish. The general consensus around the table was that the lamb was better 🙂
There was great service from the staff at the restaurant. They didn’t mind me taking photos of the canapes 🙂 Water was constantly being refilled without being intrusive. There was no clanging of glasses or dishes when items were being cleared. Once it got darker, the atmosphere became cosy with dim lighting and the tables lit by candlelight.
It was a wonderful wedding. Congratulations to the happy couple! 🙂
I’d love to go back to Muse Restaurant and try out the a la carte menu. The Hunter Valley has a goldmine of great restaurants so I hope I get to go back soon.
If you want more random photos and updates about food, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram