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Molines Bistro Hunter Valley NSW

Here’s the next in our occasional series of Guest blogs. This time from Michael Wilson, aka “our man in Melbourne”, aka, my Uncle Mick!!!

Mick, a trained chef moved from Bedford to Oz well over 30 years ago.  He was my food hero, probably responsible for igniting my love of food and cooking.  I have such fond memories of numerous, wonderful meals at the home in Waterloo Road and on family holidays we shared together.  I remember the parents used to spend many wine fuelled hours talking about opening a restaurant.  Unfortunately this never happened,  but my cousin Lucie has gone on to run several fabulous pubs and I find myself writing this, so maybe the seeds were sown early…

Mick also taught me 3 important things that I still adhere to today;

  • A good chef clears up as they go.
  • You can always add, but you can’t take away.
  • squeeze of fresh lemon to a pan of sauteed mushrooms elevates them to a taste sensation!

So here’s Mick’s write up of a beautiful lunch with great friends, in the renowned Hunter Valley wine region of Australia. What could be nicer?

Molines Bistro Hunter Valley NSW

A highlight of our stay with friends John and Nina in Newcastle, N.S.W., was our day trip to the beautiful Hunter Valley, known for it’s world class wineries and restaurants.

The oldest wine region in Australia, Hunter Valley is about a two hour drive north of Sydney and is the home of around 150 wineries. The region holds a Wine and Food Festival in May and June each year which celebrates produce from the region including cheese, chocolates, olive oil and wine.  If you are visiting the region, or just want to find out more about the vast things it offers, it is worth taking a look at the tourist information website which gives lots of detail about accommodation, events and activities in this picturesque region.


Our lunch stop was the ever popular Bistro Molines run by husband and wife team Robert and Sally Moline.  The couples love for quality food, ambience and service shines through in every aspect of their restaurant.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Robert and Sally and how they came to open Bistro Molines, this article from The Newcastle Herald tells the story and shares the couples’ passion with tales of how they came to where they are today.

“Food is an amazing joy that you can bring to someone’s heart,” Robert says. “Cooking is about giving pleasure and an experience to people; from the flavours that you combine in the food that you create. That is, fundamentally, what we are here for.” *

There is a strong focus on using local produce on their ever changing menu and they have a herb and vegetable garden on site which is used whenever possible.

On entering the light-filled restaurant with country-chic décor and vineyard views, we were delighted by every refined French dish with which we were presented.

These dishes were enjoyed with a lovely Chardonnay from the Moline Winery.


Cassolette of Calamari Catalane tossed with Gnocchi.


Organic Burrata and heirloom tomato salad with Sicilian olives, melon and basil oil.  Wonderful combination.


Crumbed zucchini flowers stuffed with herbed goats cheese, petite salade, gorgonzola cream.  Light, crisp crumb with a delicious creamy fill to complement.


Pane lamb brains with caper, tomato, carrot remoulade and garlic butter.

So delicious but far too much of a good thing!





House cured salmon with a light radish and tomato salad, complemented by a creamed vinaigrette dressing.










Classic Boullabaise. Morton Bay Bug Tail, Mussels, Scallops and Prawns. Base of Shellfish Bisque and Roulle. Complemented by fresh greens (snap peas, peas and zucchini).

Twice Roasted Duckling, Braised Cabbage with Speck and Peas with a plum glaze. Lovely interpretation of a classic dish.


There was no mention of dessert – so I’m guessing there was no room after such a fabulous spread. The same could be said for wine, but I know theres always room for that!



* ‘Robert Molines: pioneer of fine dining in the Hunter’, Newcastle Herald 

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