Hanok Korean BBQ is now open at Westfield Kotara's The Rooftop. It's authentic Korean charcoal cooking, with meat marinated and grilled the Korean way to your liking - at your table.
The menu includes salads (spicy baby octopus, jellyfish, soft-shell crab); kimchi and seafood pancakes; various Angus and Wagyu cuts; soups (seafood and silken tofu; spicy or cold beef); hot stone pot bibim-bap (a rice dish); and deep-fried options.
Also, Tighes Hill's Praise Joe Urban Pantry is opening at Westfield Kotara this year. If you like good coffee, toasties and sweet treats, you'll love Praise Joe. And, just quietly, their Caramello mega brownie is to die for.
Open for business
The Hunter Valley is (mostly) open for business and it's a great time for locals to visit. Continuing on from my story in Saturday's Weekender, here are some more options.
Friday is woodfired pizza night at Mount Broke Wines, with the option of European beers and estate wines as well. Phone 6579 1314 to book.
You can dine in or take away from Restaurant Trey on Wine Country Drive at Rothbury, with three new takeaway options having just been announced (lunch or dinner). Option one: pork belly, remoulade, spinach, walnuts, radish and jus with a complimentary bottle of red (two people $130; four people $180). Option two: sous vide chicken, smoked corn custard and bacon dust, plus two signature desserts and a complimentary bottle of white wine ($85). Option three: stuffed mushrooms with harissa, black garlic, goats cheese tortellini with sage butter emulsion and a complimentary bottle of rose ($85).
Peterson House at Pokolbin is offering locals a two-course menu with a complimentary glass of bubbles for just $45, Monday to Friday only, until July 30.
Goldfish Bar & Restaurant at Roche Estate has happy hour from 4pm to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday; two-for-one pizzas on Tuesdays; and on Saturdays hosts the Supper Club from 8.30pm (late night drinks).
Stomp! Wines on Wilderness Road at Lovedale has a fireside tasting this Saturday, 4.30pm to 6pm. For $40 you can watch the sun set and sample red wine and chocolate (having already been handed a glass of sparkling plus cheese on arrival), with toasted marshmallows and fortified wine to finish. Bookings essential.
Lovedale Smokehouse on the picturesque Majors Lane has a warming winter menu to enjoy on-site or take away, and a low-and-slow cooking class ($155) with chef Ben Sales this Saturday. Go to majorslane.com for details or to book.
Calais Estate on Palmers Lane is hosting a Christmas in July feast at Restaurant Kawul this Saturday, tickets $110 at calaisestate.com.au. The menu includes braised venison croquette with blackberry jam; king prawns with verjuice, garden peas and slow-roasted cherry tomatoes; and roast pork cutlet and spatchcock.
On Sunday, try Pokolbin Cider House on Broke Road. Locals can enjoy $10 paddles with a choice of Pokolbin Cider House cider, Dusty Miner craft beer or Savannah Estate Wines, plus meet the makers. Book by emailing email@example.com.
There are plenty more options on our doorstep, of course. Do your research and take advantage of them!
Long lunch moves
The MEET x Earp Distilling Co. three-course, cocktail-matched long lunch has been rescheduled to September 12. Tickets available.
The lovely (and talented) Tracey Spicer has postponed her inaugural Hunter Writing and Wine Weekend, which was to have taken place on September 10 to 12 at Wandin Valley Estate. She says she will try again in 2022. Such a shame, given the wonderful line-up of guest speakers already confirmed - and the fact that the weekend was all about recovering from the pandemic year that was through a shared appreciation of words and wine.
Premium tasting plus
There are many wine tastings to choose from in the Hunter Valley, however not many have a three-course lunch at Muse Kitchen as an added incentive. At Keith Tulloch Wines you and a friend can enjoy a premium tasting in the upstairs cellar door followed by lunch and a bottle of their HV Semillon and The Kester Shiraz. Wednesday to Sunday only.
The Point Restaurant at Soldiers Point has introduced Sunset Charcuterie from Wednesday to Sunday, 4pm to 6pm. It's a "chef's selection" charcuterie platter plus two glasses of wine, beer or soft drink for $25. Bookings are essential.
Claire Johnson, owner of Claire's Cupcakes 100% Vegan at Charlestown Arcade, is expanding her shop and seeking feedback. The extra space will be used for seating during the week however on weekends she is entertaining the idea of using it to host one-hour cake decorating parties for adults and children. Would you be interested in the idea? Let Claire know on her Facebook page or pop into the shop for a chat.
Taco Shack closes
Taco Shack at Stockland Greenhills, which opened in 2019, has unfortunately closed.
"We picked ourselves up after the 2020 wave, but unfortunately the Taco Shack won't survive. We haven't been successful at finding any growth during these uncertain times," owners Robert and Randi Thraves said on social media. They will continue to own and operate Smokin Hot 'n Saucy at The Lot in Islington and at Hunter Olive House in Broke, and run the annual Smoke in Broke competition. Head to one of their two locations to grab excess stock (Zesty La Fiesta Rub and Shack Spicy Salsa, two for $20; or a special Taco Pack for $50).
Sparkling on menu
The Well Bar at 48 Watt Street in Newcastle is offering a champagne tasting menu on Wednesdays for $20; a free glass of Bollinger on Thursday with a main meal; and $15 cocktails from 5pm to 6pm on Friday.
Citrus fruit fun
Did you know you can pick your own citrus at Milbrodale? Hillsdale Citrus Orchid farm is open seven days, 9am to 4pm (closed for lunch). All you have to do is not live in or have visited a COVID-affected area, grab a mask and phone Betty or Harold on 6574 5173 to request a visit. When you arrive you'll be given a bucket to store your freshly-picked navel and valencia oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos and mandarins, then return to the shed for a weigh-in and total cost.
You can also catch Betty and Harold at the Newcastle City Farmers Market every Sunday.
Freebie of the week
From department store food halls to luxurious hotel restaurants and all the noodle shops, sushi bars, and yakitori shacks in between, Tokyo is an exciting place to eat. Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook is a journey through the city's boulevards and backstreets.
Chef Tim Anderson takes inspiration from the chefs, shopkeepers and home cooks of Tokyo to showcase both traditional and cutting-edge takes on classic dishes as well as dishes that Tokyoites love to eat with origins from abroad.
Tokyo Stories is out now through Hardie Grant Publishing, RRP $39.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the words "Tokyo Stories" with your name, address and number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries close on Monday at 9am.
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