You may remember last year when Jane and I were invited to Margan Restaurant in the Hunter Valley to sample some of their offerings and take a tour of the winery. Well, I was lucky enough to be invited back to try their special Vegan Degustation menu and because I am a rational human being, I jumped at the chance to head back to one of my fave spots.
You’ll find Margan Restaurant about one hour’s drive from Newcastle, in Broke located in the Hunter Valley. With some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, the drive is almost as dope as what awaits you!
The thing I love about degustations is that there always just seems to be food before the actual food – something I can really get behind! Margan kicked things off with a bowl of incredible olives, followed by a “Garden Snack” and then some of their outta control bread.
Already I was getting a v good feeling that this visit to Margan Restaurant was going to somehow top the last one. That feeling was locked the heck in when I received my next course; salt baked beetroots with cocoa crumb and radicchio. Those little toasty cocoa crumbs seem weird but man, they work perfectly with all that beetroot. Outta control, fam!
Next up, they hit me with celeriac, jerusalem artichoke and chives. Like the dish before there was an incredible contrast of textures thanks to the smooth and roasted jerusalem artichokes topped with those crispy chips.
Then I got this amazingly tasty looking (and tasting) dish of baked carrot carrot, carrot crush and quinoa. How the heck do these guys manage to make a whole bunch of carrots taste this wildly delish? We’re looking at baked regular carrots as well as little teensy babies, mashed carrot and freaking carrot gel! Orange you jealous that you aren’t eating this rn?
That was followed up by brassicas, onion, leek and kale. I’ll save you the trouble of Googling WTF brassicas are; plants from the mustard family like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. All of these vegetables were steamed, which sounds boring AF but I promise you, they were out of this world! Those little fried bits on top really added the perf amount of crispy texture to the dish and kinda had me reconsidering my current ban on what I now know as “brassicas”!
One of the dopest things about the Margan vegan degustation is that often at fancy places like this, they nail the savoury but usually provide a lame excuse for a dessert (or sometimes none at all!) Not here though, check out this mind-blowing pear, quince and almond. Incredibly fresh poached pears and quince with the most freaking delicious pear sorbet and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Oh. Em. Gee.
And we can’t forget the wine! While I was chomping on all of this wildly delish vegan fare, I was sippin’ on the 2015 Ground Breaking Barbera. Now I know nothing about wine but I’m told this has notes of sour cherry, cloves and star anise. What I can tell you is that I don’t really like red wine but I could definitely get stuck into this on the reg.
After lunch we took a little walk around the grounds of the winery, checked out the gardens and said hello to my little chicken friends (I’m pretty sure they remembered me from last time, right?)
The cutest addition to the place since my last visit is the little indoor market, where you can pick up some of their beautiful fresh produce that they grow on-site. At such bloody reasonable prices that you’ll want to shop there all the time, too!
My favourite thing about Margan though? It has to be the staff. Each staff member we came across throughout this visit and the last were attentive, friendly and knowledgable about the food and wine they were serving. You could tell that these guys truly dig the job they’re doing and that takes the dining experience a whole new level. I can’t recommend a visit to Margan Restaurant enough – give the guys a heads up to prepare a spesh vegan menu and tell them Like A Vegan sent ya!