Hunter Valley's Brokenwood opens two new venues as part of $8 million redevelopment

Spanner crab linguini from the Wood Restaurant.
Spanner crab linguini from the Wood Restaurant. 

Andrew Wright is feeling the heat as the chef of Brokenwood Wines foray into the restaurant game, but argues the winery link makes his job creating a menu easier.

"Semillon and chardonnay are so seafood-friendly we had to go with a strong seafood line-up, which we have coming straight from the markets," Wright says.

The Hunter Valley veteran behind The Cellar restaurant at Hunter Valley Gardens will steer the casual Cru Bar + Pantry and the Wood Restaurant, which are part of $8 million redevelopment of Brokenwood's Hunter Valley HQ.

Chef Andrew Wright and wife Janet Wright with Brokenwood's Iain Riggs.
Chef Andrew Wright and wife Janet Wright with Brokenwood's Iain Riggs. 

"They've done an incredible job, right down to the five-year-old magnolia tree they've planted in the courtyard and built a deck around," Wright says.

The chef, who is operating the restaurant with his wife Janet, presides over a seafood menu that shifts from fresh oysters to caviar, salt cod fritters and a Normandy fish stew.

Wine tasters do not live on seafood alone, so there's plenty of meat and charcuterie. They even use an in-house Brokenwood verjuice.

"When I moved to the Hunter 20 years ago there were about six restaurants; there are about 80 now," the chef says.

Evidently camaraderie remains strong in the valley. "Our first function next Saturday is the Christmas party for another winery."

The Wood Restaurant – open lunch daily; dinner Fri-Sat.

Cru Bar + Pantry – open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 8am-5pm.

Brokenwood Wines, 401-427 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin, 02 4998 7559.