Sydney & the Hunter Valley

Mr Eleanor and I have been away this week to Sydney and the Hunter Valley. It was a birthday treat for my big four-oh (Shhhh! Tell no one!)

Our view from the Four Seasons

Our magnificent view from the Four Seasons

Whenever Mr Eleanor and I go away somewhere, I’m under no illusion: we’re going on an eating and drinking holiday. This little break was a bit different; it was definitely an EATING AND DRINKING holiday!

I really don’t know how you’re supposed to choose when there are so many options. These are the places we visited:

  • The Push – a proper bar with a great selection of cocktails with a relaxed (by which I mean ‘older’) atmosphere which suited us down to the ground
  • Yuki’s – Japanese dining at the passenger ferry terminal of all places. I had a sushi and sashimi platter – it was fresh and delicious but the place just has NO atmosphere. Quite an achievement considering the view and location! Mr Eleanor was not impressed with the wagyu hot pot – he needed a snack on the way home and luckily found somewhere selling Twinkies …
  • Icebergs Dining Room – recommended by some rellies we were dining with, IBDR promised great things but unfortunately didn’t quite deliver. I mean, yes, the view is amazing – it’s Bondi Beach FFS! The atmosphere was elegant but comfortable. But the brunch menu was somewhat restricted and although absolutely delicious in parts (smoked trout and beetroot – yum!) it was a bit odd – I’m not sure that frozen berries with gold stuff on is a dish. In addition, the service lacked any charm or warmth – just a smile would have made a difference.
Bondi from Icebergs

Bondi from Icebergs

  • Black Bar – hmm, great cocktail menu and execution however it feels more like a waiting room for the restaurant, but then it was Sunday night …
  • Black by Ezard – we had a very pleasant evening. But, quite tellingly, we’ve just had a ten minute discussion where neither of us could remember what on earth we’d eaten … enough said.

NB: Black was not my first choice. We were supposed to be going to the Sardine Room but they upped sticks and moved to Manley and didn’t have the decency to let me know that my reservation no longer existed – I only found out because I looked at the website a week before we went! Bad restaurant! No! Bad restaurant!

  • Pei @ Four Seasons – we went for breakfast before heading out of the city. The breakfast buffet looked more like a sumptuous banquet but we didn’t think we’d be able to do the $42 price tag justice, so went a la carte with a couple of (enormous) sides and were not disappointed with our (whole) avo and goats curd on toast with plenty of mushrooms and bacon
  • The Point Restaurant – by far my favourite eatery of the week. A beautiful location at Soldier’s Point in Port Stephens, a view over the marina from the deck, genuine and warm service, super-fresh seafood and killer desserts. I honestly could not have wanted for anything more
meringue with berries and lemon curd

meringue with summer fruits and lemon curd – simple but DELICIOUS!

  • Amanda’s on the Edge – a nod to nostalgia; we visited when we were travelling in 2007. Glad to see this lovely family owned restaurant packed to the rafters on a midweek evening. The menu might read like the fare will be simple and classic but it is executed with finesse and a deft palate which delivers mouthful after mouthful of surprising deliciousness; that is art in itself. Mr Eleanor highly recommends the gnocchi with ox tail ragu
  • Leaves and Fishes – another nod, we couldn’t help ourselves, this was our favourite place and it’s lost none of its charm, in fact it’s probably gained some and is a great place to while away a few relaxing hours
  • Goldfish – our last hurrah; relaxing drinks under the setting sun with a view over the grapevines. If we could have fitted in any more calories from their tapas style menu at this point, we would have. Wish we’d have found it earlier

Sorry there aren’t more photos but I struggle with looking like a crass twat in a restaurant …

And just in case you were wondering, no, I didn’t make my target weight before my birthday. And now there are a couple of extra pounds to deal with!


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