A recent girly weekend away to the Hunter Valley with some food blogger pals resulted in a hunt for somewhere special to dine. Chanel from Cats Love Cooking suggested Muse Restaurant (where she held her wedding reception no less!) and off we went to share a truly memorably dinner.

As we entered I was immediately impressed. There was a crackling fireplace keeping everyone toasty warm, a beautifully romantic looking interior and professional waiters gliding around looking after the diners of the evening. It was the perfect mix of elegance but with a lovely homey feel as well that made you just want to rug up in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa, some marshmallows and a good book.

Anyway enough about me blabbing about the fireplace (seriously though, I love fireplaces!) and onto the good stuff – the food!

Amuse bouche for the evening, parmesan custard with mushroom duxelles, thyme and porcini dust.

My amuse bouche (dairy free version) minus the custard.

Red Gate Farm Quail with Pumpkin Risotto, pure maple, bleu de basque and a soft boiled quail egg.

There were some pretty good things on my entree plate on this evening! The stand-out element was definitely the quail’s breast. It was seasoned really well and was cooked to perfection. Each bite of tender quail was to die for! My accompanying quail’s egg had a perfect runny yolk which made a lovely rich sauce to dip the breast in. Definitely a good start to the meal and was surprisingly large for an entree size, not that I was complaining ;).

Beetroot with binnorie goats cheese, coppersfolly wasabi, buttered king brown mushrooms.

Cured Ocean Trout with congo potato, olive, bacon aioli, grapefruit and dill.

Palate cleanser, ruby grapefruit sorbet with fresh apple and baby coriander.

This palate cleanser was a lovely little freshener between courses. The ruby grapefruit flavours went really well with the crrrunch of the freshly diced apple. I especially loved the addition of the baby coriander which gave it a lovely kick.

Blue Eye Trevalla with buttered mushrooms, pencil leek, miso dressing, mizuna.

This was my main for the evening and I absolutely loved it. Two tender, perfectly cooked fish fillets (honestly is there anything better than a piece of damn well-cooked fish??) that were sooo silky and just melted in your mouth. The fish was accompanied with a good handful of incredibly flavoursome mixed mushrooms and finished with a sweet miso sauce which matched everything on the plate so beautifully. An incredibly memorable dish that I would order again and again. Don’t be deceived by the photo – this was actually an incredibly large main, even though it looks small in the photo. This is because of the way it spread out on the plate – which was incredibly massive. Biggest plate I’ve eaten off, haha. It was actually so filling I very sadly failed to completely finish my second fish fillet – but this should just let you know how large the entree and mains I had were! We also added side dishes, which I really enjoyed, but I don’t think were necessary as my meal was so big!

Mandagery Creek Venison smoked in Barrel Shavings with white, red and black cabbage, blackberry, juniper and pedro ximenez.

Slow cooked Milly Hill lamb with celeriac, charred apple, mint, horseradish and jus.

Side dish of roasted butternut pumpkin, $8.00.

Pre-dessert for the night: Coconut cloud (coconut cream with a simple sugar syrup, aerated and then frozen) with crushed candied violets and lime.

OH MY GOODNESS I wish this was on the dessert menu! It was crazy good. Every food blogger around the table was practically licking her plate clean after we were delivered this incredibly airy light coconut icecreamy dessert. It would have been amazing just on its own, but it was taken to another level with the gorgeous pops of flavour from the lime and crushed candied violet. There is only one word for this dessert and that is ‘spectacular’! Fortunately it was also quite a light finish after that huge meal and I was easily able to finish this one despite being quite stuffed!

Deconstructed Vanilla Crème Brûlée with caramelised white chocolate, salted date, hazelnut, coffee and brown butter.

I just loved the gorgeous presentation of this dish, especially the lovely glass plate it was plated on, which had such a pretty border.

Chai and Matcha tea doughnuts with apple, binnorie quark custard and vanilla.

Nitro White Chocolate Ice Cream and Raspberries, whipped, fresh, dehydrated.

This was a popular dessert of the evening and I loved how prettily plated it was. I didn’t go for dessert on this evening but if I went back a second time I think this would have been my choice. White chocolate and raspberries are such a gorgeous combination!

Warm dark chocolate mousse, minted cream, gingerbread, torte and shiso.

I had a spoonful of this chocolate mousse and minty cream and oh, my… rich, rich, rich! The mint cream was a good balance for it but I think it also would have been nice with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to balance it more. This would be a good dessert to share between two people because it’s so rich. The gingerbread also gave this dessert a nice textural balance.

Petit fours, chocolate macarons and salted caramel chocolates.

I didn’t try any of these as I’ve still been having a few dairy issues but Muse were kind enough to prepare dairy free petit fours for me (see below).

My dairy free petit four (so lovely of them to provide me with this!) honeycomb and fresh raspberries. A great finish to the meal!

A lovely group of dining companions. 🙂

It had been awhile since I’ve had a meal this fancy and this really reminded me how much I enjoy fine dining. There’s something about the ambience, the great service and of course the sublime food that is such an enjoyable and special experience.

I really loved my experience at Muse Restaurant and would love to return the next time I’m in the Hunter Valley! I highly recommend a visit here if you’re looking for a special dinner to share with friends or to spoil a special someone!

Our meal was $75.00 for two courses or three for $95.00 (not including side dishes/drinks/etc). The vegetarian menu is $60 for two courses or $80 for three. They also offer a tasting menu of 5 courses for $110 (more for wine and cheeses).

Muse Restaurant & Café
Hungerford Hill Wines
Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320

Opening Hours
Wednesday-Saturday for dinner 6.00-10.00pm
Café open 7 days 10.00am-5.00pm

If you’re looking for convenient nearby accommodation to Muse Restaurant and Café, we stayed at the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza. It was only a couple minutes drive away and close to plenty of other great Hunter Valley attractions (i.e. chocolate & cheese shops and wineries!)

Special thanks goes to Chanel from Cats Love Cooking for introducing me to such a wonderful restaurant and JJ from 84th and 3rd for helping light food photos in the swanky romantic lighting of Muse Restaurant with the aid of an iPhone!

Muse Restaurant and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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