Monday, July 23, 2012

Majors Lane

"We're running out of wine."

That's all it took to start organising a half-impromptu Hunter Valley weekend. Low supplies of the bottled stuff at home.

And why not make it an overnight trip so we can fit more tastings in? Won't say no to that.

The only problem: where to eat dinner? Having had a mediocre experience at Redsalt, we weren't inclined to dine there again. Twitter friends replied with suggestions, but the masters of purse turned each and every proposal down, on the grounds of expense and disinclination to sit for three or more hours eating eight courses. One kept asking if the restaurants I proposed had steak.

Reasonably priced, a la carte, not too far from the hotel, has steak (or something along those lines). Major's Lane Restaurant fit the bill perfectly.

Forgive the fuzzy photos, it was dark and the photographer in question had a full afternoon of wine tasting beforehand.

Bread and butter

Grass fed fillet of beef wrapped in Lovedale Smokehouse bacon, bubble and squeak parcel, sauteed mushrooms and Majors Lane Shiraz jus, $36

Brussels sprouts with Lovedale Smokehouse bacon

Slow braised lamb shanks, warm quinoa salad with hand dried pepitas and tomatoes, $34

Confit of Hunter Valley duck leg, cassoulet of cannellini beans, tomato and chorizo with an orange and tamarind jus, snow pea shoots, $34
The confit of duck leg was fall off the bone tender, the tanginess of the jus cutting through the richness of the duck nicely. Gamey, but not overly so. The slow braised lamb shanks, I was told, was delicious too. But the star of the evening had to be the fillet of beef, cooked to absolute perfection. The bacon perfected the dish with just the right amount of saltiness and smokiness.
Portions were very, very generous. Our original plan of mains and dessert had to be scrapped as our bellies took in the mains.

The next day, we found ourselves back at Majors Lane. By day, the restaurant becomes the Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe, where you can create your own antipasti share plate for the table.
Garlic bread

The antipasti lunch

Clockwise from bottom left: prosciutto, pork chipolatas, beef and chorizo sausage

Clockwise from top left: beef and pork chorizo sausage, chicken terrine, beef and jalapeno chipolatas, smoked duck breast, pork and cheese kransky, chicken macadamia sausage, Swiss-German style air dried wagyu
Everything was lovely. The standouts, though, had to be the chicken sausage, pork and cheese kransky, and the smoked duck breast. Everything was helped with a bite of the freshly baked ciabatta rolls and crusty garlic bread.

For six, the table of food came to $129 in total. Not bad, for the quality that was presented.

And yes, we did replenish the cellar, with a good dozen Hunter wines.

Majors Lane Restaurant/Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe

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