NIBBLES: Chez Pok returns

THE name Chez Pok was synonymous with Hunter Valley dining for decades before disappearing in 2010.

But this year the institution returns  at Peppers Guest House, Pokolbin, with a new executive chef and French-inspired menu.

Chez Pok is said to have been the first hotel restaurant to open in the Hunter Valley three decades ago. The eatery was renamed Restaurant Sanctuary in 2010 but has now returned to the  much-loved moniker.

Roughly translated, Chez Pok means ‘‘among the Pokolbin people’’.

‘‘There is still great affection for the Chez Pok name in the valley – people haven’t forgotten the standard the restaurant set that so many have since embraced,’’ Peppers Guest House general manager Brian Rooney said.

‘‘Chez Pok really helped put the region on the dining map for Sydneysiders as well, and my new chef and I agreed it was time to revive the name that held so many great memories for guests of Peppers Guest House.’’

Under the   eye of executive chef John Edwards, the food will  return to the French-fusion style served by Chez Pok in the past.

‘‘The new menu has a focus on using as much local produce as possible while reintroducing French flavours,’’ Mr Edwards said. 

‘‘It is a more streamlined menu in terms of its complexity than previous offerings, but one with lots of variety, which is why we are offering both main dishes and the share-plate option so that guests can avoid getting food envy when they order!’’

To celebrate its return, Chez Pok is offering all diners a complimentary glass of wine from its list of award-winning Hunter Valley wines to enjoy with every two-course meal, valid until April30. To book, call  49938999. 

For those looking for a Hunter Valley getaway, the Gourmet Food Trail package from $399 per night  includes breakfast  for two, a three-course dinner for two at Chez Pok plus a food hamper. It is valid until March31, Sunday to Friday, subject to availability. Visit peppers.com.au/guest-house.

Burgers for charity

LOSE the suit and tie and don your boardies on Friday to raise funds for the Surf Life Saving Foundation. Or better still, tuck into a burger at Grill’d, The Junction, where staff have thrown their support behind Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club.

Staff will also ditch their kitchen gear and get into boardies on Friday for Boardies Day. Visit boardiesday.com.au for more.

You can also do your bit for charity HeartKids this month by buying  marked items from Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar. The businesses are rallying  in a bid to raise $200,000 for HeartKids, with 50¢ from every HeartKids product sold in NSW this month donated to the charity.

Verandah with a view

THIS Friday night the Keith Tulloch Tasting Lounge will be transformed into the After Hours Vintage Bar, a place to relax on the Pokolbin property’s verandah overlooking the shiraz vines and Brokenback Ranges with a glass of wine and share plate from Muse Kitchen.

The bar will be open from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Visitors will be able to purchase a glass of Keith Tulloch wine and share plates from Muse Kitchen.

Bookings recommended for the verandah on 49987500. Follow the drinks and tasting plate with dinner at Muse Dining, bookings on 49986777.

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