Tim Montgomery has taken on the executive chef role at Merewether's Prince of Wales Hotel.
He has also purchased a share in the business, which is owned by his good friends and RASCAL business partners Ty and Julianne Burford.
"Tim is going to set the direction for food here at The Prince, overseeing the food concept while also continuing to oversee RASCAL," Ty Burford told Food & Wine.
"Tom Robinson, also a RASCAL partner and former head chef under Colin Fassnidge at Four in Hand, will take on the role of head chef here, so we're really excited about that.
"Menu design is in full swing, with Tim and Tom putting their spin on really good pub food. Nathan Wright, who came with us from The Burwood, will also play a big role as operations manager here in our new venue."
The Burfords sold The Burwood Inn last October to focus on The Prince. They are working with Melbourne's Bergman and Co to create a new look for The Prince that Burford describes as "a New York/Melbourne design feel with old-school charm and a contemporary twist. Think rich tartan carpet, wall panelling, patinated brass, rich colours and textures that hark back to the nostalgia of the traditional public house".
The aim? To create a casual, comfortable environment to enjoy good food, wine, music and conservation.
"Currently our front bar and bottle shop is open and the rest of the venue is undergoing a big renovation," Burford said.
"The first phase of the project is due to open in July. This will be the entire upstairs level which has been designed as a bar/dining/function space with a private dining room, along with a new gaming room, sports bar and kitchen downstairs.
"Our new kitchen will serve an introductory menu from July to be enjoyed throughout all of the new spaces, with a view to opening the whole venue, including the new bistro and public bar, in September."
The Burfords have started the recruitment process for a "fresh new team of hospitality professionals" and are inviting local organisations and community groups to get in touch about using the venue's level one function space on weekdays.
Since opening in March, The Bavarian Charlestown has attracted a steady stream of diners keen to find out for themselves what the fuss is all about. I wanted to wait until the dust had settled before visiting and was surprised to find a line out the door - still - on Saturday night.
The joint was jumping, both inside and out. Groups without a booking were directed to a designated seating area and offered drinks and starters.
Don't be alarmed by the sound of a cow bell - it's just letting people know schnapps have been ordered. I can vouch for the sour apple.
You must order a pretzel at a Bavarian restaurant and we started with a "giant" one, served with butter, mustard and pickles, backing it up with the crumbed camembert.
The servings at The Bavarian are not just generous - they are huge. Please bear this in mind when ordering. Our classic pork platter for two ($35 per person) could easily feed three adults. A hefty pork knuckle is the centrepiece, joined by slices of crackling and smoked pork belly, char-grilled Nurnberger pork sausage stuffed with fragrant herbs and spices, and tasty pork-belly bao buns topped with house-made BBQ sauce and cabbage slaw.
And yes, the crackle was good. Very good.
The children's meals are also generous and a step above the usual fish or nuggets and chips.
We didn't have room for dessert - but we did get to take our leftovers home, which made us feel slightly less guilty about leaving food on the plate. The service was excellent, the decor warm and welcoming and the atmosphere fun and friendly. Well worth a visit but try to skip a meal beforehand. You stomach will thank you later.
Restaurant Mason and Newcastle-based French wine specialists Decante are joining forces to celebrate Bastille Day with a degustation long lunch at Longworth House on July 14. All six "haute cuisine" traditional French dishes will be carefully paired with wines by Burgundy organic wine makers Domaines Albert Bichot and biodynamic small grower producers Champagne Vadin-Plateau. The lunch starts at 12.30pm and tickets cost $175 plus booking fee.
Order to go
The Humble Thai's website is up and running which means you can now order online and pick your meal up at a designated time from the King Street, Newcastle, restaurant.
Good Friends Eatery has opened at 144 Union Street, The Junction.
The 2019 Hunter Valley Wine Festival returns to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on Saturday, June 29, 11am to 5pm. The seventh annual event will showcase the Hunter Region's best wine and food, and feature more than 60 exhibitors under the one roof. For more information go online to huntervalleywinefestival.com.
Tickets to Sweetwater Estate's luncheon on Saturday, May 18, have sold out but never fear - another is planned for September 7.
Following canapés and welcome drinks in the grounds, diners will enjoy a four-course lunch by chef Michael Robinson in the estate's beautiful French Dining Room and Sweetwater Estate wines.
Don't delay - go to sticktytickets.com.au and book your seat at the table before this one sells out, too.
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