The day after an epic 10-course degustation, I took a drive up Putty Road. Turned out to be a little longer than anticipated, so by the time we were heading back through Cessnock, I was starving.
Hoping for a half-decent steak I found this place, but twigged it was something more when I visited the candy pink bathroom with silver chandelier.
The luminosity continued into a lime green restaurant with a switched-on young chef – Daniel Hunt.
Well-handled seafood makes up much of his fancier Thursday-Sunday menu.
From the dependable staff favourite of Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops ($24) with cauliflower puree, Chambord jus, pear and jamon Serrano; to...
...a soupy skillet of Saffron Pappardelle ($24), briny diamond clams and king prawns, my taste buds were impressed!
Despite the exuberant number of extras – radicchio, black figs, vanilla syrup, potato fondant and hazelnuts – dotting rolled Nulkaba Farmed Quail ($24), the local bird sang. I also rated creamy Port Stephens Oysters ($3/each) with surprisingly smart dressings, like sesame and lime.
Throwing in lightly charred Salt and Pepper Garfish ($22) accentuated by a simple watercress, radish and ruby grapefruit salad, plus inexpensive local wines, and there’s good reason to stop not bypass this town on your next Hunter Valley adventure.
*This was my PUB OF THE WEEK on 2GB 873 Fresh! with Luke Grant & Luke Mangan
on Sunday 28th April, 2013: http://www.2gb.com/article/fresh-sunday-april-28
221 Restaurant & Bar
Royal Oak Hotel, 221 Vincent Street, Cessnock
Ph: (02) 4991 3700