Are you pining for a Pinot?
Now whilst I might not be a very good cook, I certainly know how to eat. And considering I’m pregnant, it’s all I think about. Welcome to Lou Lou’s very own Masterchef Series, where I’ll be reviewing restaurants and interviewing celebrated chefs and then passing all the tips onto my husband so he can cook me even better food.
The following is an article I recently had publishing in an American e-Magazine, I hope you enjoy…
Muse Restaurant, Hunter Valley, Australia.
Just a short two-hour drive north of Sydney lies the beautiful Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s leading wine regions. Filled with picturesque cellar doors and world-class wineries, this region is a must-do for any gourmand.
Situated in the historic Hungerford Hill Winery, Muse Restaurant offers some of the best modern Australian cuisine in the region. Owned and run by husband and wife team, Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown, Muse was opened in 2009 and within quick succession had been awarded many accolades, including a much sort after ‘Chef’s Hat’ from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide.
Founded on the principles of simple cooking coupled with fantastic fresh produce, Muse offers a menu that is widely varied and that supports local artisans where possible. Memorable dishes include Pan Fried Duck Breast ‘served pink’ with cauliflower puree, zucchini flower, black fig, salad burnet and a red wine dressing, this of course served with an outstanding and perfectly balanced 2009 Hungerford Hill Pinot Noir. Also, the Slow Cooked Milly Hill Lamb with garden peas, mint and anchovy butter was an utter delight, especially when enjoyed with a 2006 Bellwether Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra region.
With professional service which is at once warm and friendly, the outstanding venue also adds to ones dining experience. Sophisticated elegance meets modern design and muted colors blend with the natural surrounds. And who doesn’t love a large open fire-place that crackles, warms and delights as the night goes on?
Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, Muse proves to be a sumptuous restaurant that will leave you wanting more. Another glass of Semillon? Yes please.
An interview with Troy Rhoades-Brown
1. Your menu changes with the seasons, what challenges does this bring?
Unfortunately in the last 2 years we have had droughts, fires and flooding in a lot of our regional produce growing areas which has made sourcing some ingredients difficult. But also, having a good relationship with suppliers ensures successful planning.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by a number of things in this industry. Great chefs like Thomas Keller and Brett Graham with their understanding, passion and drive for producing incredible dining experiences, always seems to keep me inspired.
I like to focus of always evolving and I get a lot of inspiration by the seasons. What we are planting in the vegetable patch and what is about to come into the markets, this is what I love.
Cheese, olive oil, quail, spatchcock, duck, fruit and vegetable, venison, pigs, wine.
4. Describe Muse Restaurant in three words.
Professional. Friendly. Delicious.
5. What is your most essential kitchen tool?
A sharp Chefs Knife.
6. You have recently opened Muse Kitchen at Keith Tulloch winery, what are the differences between your two venue’s?
Muse Restaurant is a Contemporary Australian restaurant in a modern formal dining space. Muse Kitchen is a more casual dining experience with a French bistro menu, it’s more of a provincial setting.
7. The Hunter Valley is famous for its award wining wines, do you have any favorites?
It is hard to go past some of the family run up here such as Tyrrell’s, Keith Tulloch and Thomas Wines. The Hunter Valley is just littered with talented wine makers. But I suggest you get your hands on some well-aged Semillon for a real treat of the region.
[Photos courtesy of Muse Dining]
Where are you dying to dine at??