Tucked away in the quiet area of Jerry’s Plains in the Hunter Valley, Hollydene Estate is a hidden beauty that I was lucky enough to discover last night.
Hollydene Estate provides an impressive dining experience and gives you the option of tasting fine wines from three of the oldest vineyards in the Hunter Valley. Not that I’m very big on wine… So I decided to focus instead on the amazing atmosphere, and the food of course!
After making our way up the stone footpath surrounded in illuminated trees and perfect hedges, we came upon an enchanting wooden walkway covered in vines. On the other side of this was the beautiful Hollydene Building. Fitting right into the country, the building was made entirely out of timber, aside from the large modern glass windows and doorways. After passing through the bar area we found the restaurant. The spacious dining area had a rustic vibe with low hanging beams, a large elegant mirror, round wooden tables and a stunning chandelier. Basically it looked amazing. Like somewhere you could hold a wedding reception.
Now let me tell you, the menu options at Hollydene are pricey as hell. The starters alone are priced between $16 – $38… An $8 garlic bread would have been enough for me. Anyway, the cheapest starter includes Warm Sourdough with Lemon Balsamic and Dukkah Spice. While the most expensive starter is comprised of Sopressa Salami, Prosciutto, Green Olives, Garlic Labne, Artichoke Fritters, Hunter Belle Cheese and House Dips. I must give them kudos for the unique entrees! Anyway our budget was a little too limited for an entree. So my friends and I decided to just start with a main.
The price range of the mains is $29-$42. Like the cheapskate I am, I ordered the cheapest meal: Beer Battered Barramundi Fillets with Beer Battered Fries, Caper Mayonnaise and Asian Slaw. The barramundi and fries were cooked wonderfully, the only problem being that I’m not all that fond of fish.
One of my friends ordered the Slow Roast Pork Belly and Crackling with Celeriac and Pear Mash, Braised Fennel and Granny Smith Apple Cider and Juniper Jus at $32. The other friend ordered the most expensive dish 300g Pasture Fed Rib Fillet Steak with Truffle Potato Gratin, Beetroot Velvet, Baby Vegetables, Mustard Butter and Shiraz Jus at $42. Yeah I know, the name of each dish deserves its own paragraph… Anyway, I was told that both meals were delicious, all though the steak was over cooked.
At Hollydene, desserts are $14 (unless you get ice cream which is $12). I ordered the Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée with Strawberries, Double Cream and Pistachio Praline. This tasted amazing! Oh my do I love a good dessert.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the experience, the atmosphere was beautiful, the staff were wonderful and the food arrived very quickly. In regards to the value of the food however, I’m not sure it was worth it. The food was unnecessarily expensive. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend Hollydene Estate to anyone who is not on a tight budget. If money is an issue however, best stay clear.