On a winter getaway to the Hunter Valley with some gal pals last month, one of the things we made sure to fit in was a fancy meal. After throwing around a few ideas we all agreed on dinner at Margan Restaurant in Broke as we had heard good things about both the wine and the food.
As we’d made an early booking, the restaurant was quiet when we arrived and we were quite lucky to be seated by restaurateur Lisa Margan. What stood out for me most about the dining room was the large artwork above the kitchen pass. I asked Lisa about it and she said it was made with pieces of the produce grown in their kitchen garden, carefully placed on a lightbox and enlarged. It’s a stunning tribute to the fresh food used on the menu.
As we started with a bottle of Margan Frizzante, an unexpected vegetable dish arrived for us to share with crisp radish, carrot and herbs along with a creamy, slightly sweet sauce.
We had the choice of a degustation (which didn’t list any vegetarian dishes) or a set price two or three course option. Our waiter advised us that the kitchen could absolutely prepare veg-friendly degustation dishes however I opted for three courses off the menu. This worked out well as we agreed to order our own meals and then all four of the desserts to share.
My entrée was a creamy bowl with Jerusalem artichoke, gruyere and walnuts. The artichoke was prepared in different ways – a creamy mash containing segments of artichokes and pieces of crisp, baked artichoke chips on top. For me, this was the best dish of the night.
We moved on to a bottle of the lovely Margan Semillon (I like this so much that I bought a couple of bottles to take home) and my main was a dish of garden potato, leek, blue cheese and creme fraiche. This was almost risotto-like in consistency and quite rich. I’m not usually one for blue cheese but it worked really well when chunks of cheese were mixed through the dish.
With enough room for dessert we stuck to our deal of ordering them all, if only for a taste. We had the apple soufflé with rhubarb ice cream, the orange, saffron, brioche and honey that had an orange curd, sorbet and froth, the autumn pavlova and my favourite, a bowl of deconstructed tiramisu with cocoa, hazelnut, coffee, mascarpone. Admittedly, dessert was not my favourite part of the evening, I much preferred the savoury dishes.
The only downfall of visiting Margan at night was not being able to see how beautiful the property is. It must be a spectacular spot for lunch. I would love to go back and see the vegetable garden and vineyard…and try the wines!
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