We love our tapas at Tatler in Hunter Valley. Unfortunately the "no dog" policy means we won't be dining there while we have our pooch, Amelie with us on a day trip. I am actually not surprised at all and prepared to face the rejections. It is a matter of keep trying until we found a restaurant that has outdoor seating that allows us to have our dog close by. The dilemma of being a dog owner. However, we eventually found ENZO at Peppers Creek winery.
In a situation like this, make sure you pick up the brochure at the information center in Pokolbin. (a must pit-stop in Hunter Valley for all the information you need). I've chosen Enzo for many good reasons and most importantly, it has outdoor seatings! Secondly, Enzo has won 2008 - Restaurant & Catering NSW Awards for Excellence - Cafe Restaurant and 2008 - Regional Awards for Excellence - Cafe Restaurant - Hunter Valley. It is a good sign of quality assurance to have my lunch at this award-winning restaurant, and they sure deliver it.
Enzo restaurant has the same stallion logo just like the Ferrari Enzo, which is questionable regarding copyright trademark issue. The restaurant is at the back behind Peppers Creek cellar door, and it has the best view of the garden with a sculpture fountain as the center piece. They actually have the same policy about dogs, but they are friendly enough to let us tie our dog further away in the courtyard where we still able to keep an eye on her.
The lunch menu is simple but with an impressive selections. You also can choose to try the cellar door wine on the menu, or B.Y.O. except David Hook Wines are forbidden, clearly written at the bottom of the menu. The inquisitive me best not to ask too many questions and leave it at that. We ordered some organic ciabatta as a starter while waiting for the main. The bread is nice and soft with a powdery crust. The famous Pukara Estate olive oil and balsamic are available at the table for dipping.
For main, The Pom goes for the char grilled chicken on turkish bread. A nice piece of marinated chicken fillet grilled to perfection, served with young leaves green, pickled beetroot, tomato and topped with lemon aioli. The chicken is well cooked, tender and juicy, with a nice tang from the lemon aioli. The pom is a late beetroot-lover (so as I), the pickled beetroot is fresh and still carry a bit of crunch, just how the pom likes it. Have to say the price is bit steep for a simple grilled chicken on turkish bread. Being the typical Chinese me, I go for something that's bit more value for money.
Hence I go for the pan roasted spatch cock with orange glaze. The spatch cock is roasted to golden brown yet the young chook is still moist and succulent. It is served with wild rocket, cripsy potatoe and bacon, then topped with a port of orange glaze. Surprisingly the sweet citrus tangy flavour of the glaze works so well with the smoky bacon and the spatchcock. This dish is simply stunning and when I say 'value for money', this dish has just done that.
The dessert menu actually doesn't start serving until 3pm to 5pm. We arrived late at the restaurant after all the 'no-dog' fuss, by the time we finished our lunch is already 2.30pm. It is pretty close to 3pm (well.... close enough), so we thought we will ask for the dessert menu anyway. The waitress is more than happy to hand the dessert menu over and ready to take our order.
The dessert menu is even more impressive - brulee, devonshire tea and scones, cheese and figs plate or perhaps cured Italian Meat tasting plate just to name a few. The Pom goes for the Peppermint ice cream sandwich with milk chocolate rocky road wafers. It sounds simple, but turns out to be a work of art. The peppermint ice cream is literally sandwiched between two chunky pieces of rocky road with lots of tiny marshmallows and chopped pistachio, in a pool of raspberry coulis. There is only one way to describe it - a kid's dessert made for adult, luscious.
I like my brulee, so I opt for the Vanilla bean brulee with home made biscotti and fresh blueberries. When it arrives, the presentation already wins my heart over. A nicely torched caramelised brulee accompanied by blueberries and pistachio biscotti both on individual saucers on the side, served on wooden board. It looks like a set up ready for a Marie Claire photoshoot.
I grab my spoon and crack the brulee with glee (my favorite part). The gravity defying custard is heart clogging thick and creamy, and there is only one way to prove it is by having the spoon upside down and the custard doesn't even flinch. It goes so well with the sweet crispy biscotti, like a cheese dip on biscuit. I ♥ it!
I am glad that Enzo lives up to my expectations, and truly well deserved to win the awards. Enzo is definitely in my list of favorite restaurants in Hunter Valley.
(At Peppers Creek)
Cnr of Broke & Ekerts Road
Pokolbin, NSW 2320
P: (02) 4998 7233