Have you ever wanted to have a bit of a sticky beak at the stunning Sweetwater Estate at Belford? Then perhaps you should try your luck at securing a ticket to an exclusive dining experience on March 17. Tickets, if you are fortunate enough to grab one, cost $150 and include VIP access to the estate’s grounds; canapes and four delectable courses from chef Troy Rhoades-Brown and his team at the multi-award-winning Muse Restaurant; and Sweetwater wines. Phone 4990 0702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Celebrity chef and television presenter Rick Stein is opening a restaurant in Port Stephens as part of a $7 million overhaul of Salamander Shores.
Bought by Bannisters Hotels last year, Salamander Shores will be transformed into a four-star boutique hotel.
Bannisters Port Stephens, as the hotel will be named, will be similar to the group’s hotel in Mollymook where Stein and his wife Sarah have run a restaurant for the past eight years.
Stein said he would be working closely with head chef Mitchell Turner to design a menu featuring local king prawns, yellowfin bream, flathead, calamari, school whiting and oysters.
The restaurant will be located at the rear of the hotel, above the tavern. The tavern is still trading and will remain operational once the hotel is up and running.
Pack a picnic
Picnic in the Park returns to Toronto Foreshore this Friday, February 23. From 5.30pm to 7.30pm you can enjoy free games, acoustic music and a storytime session. Bring your own rug or chair and pack a picnic. This event is an initiative of the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance, Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group, Ability Links, Lake Mac Libraries and Lake Macquarie City Council.
Argy to close
The Argenton Hotel is closing its doors to undergo a multimillion-dollar facelift. The upgrade is expected to take about six months to complete. A function centre will be built on a neighbouring property, the car park extended and the hotel’s interior and exterior refurbished. Owners Campbell and Clare Rogers say the overhaul is a response to “the high demand for versatile venues able to cater to the needs of an ever-changing community”.
“There are a lot of young families in the community and the area is developing and changing every year,” Mrs Rogers said.
“From the outset we have always focused on providing good value and quality pub-style food that caters for the whole family.
“We now want to build on that reputation by bringing a new kind of pub experience to both the people of Lake Macquarie and the wider community."
Under the stars
Five Senses Twilight Market returns to Lambton Park on Sunday, March 4. The event is a celebration of food, craft beer and wine, live music and market stalls aimed at raising money for The Leukaemia Foundation. Be there from 4pm onwards.
Women in wine
International Women’s Day is on March 8 and Cellarmasters is celebrating Australia’s female winemakers at a Meet the Makers: Women in Wine event at Walsh Bay. The Hunter Valley’s Gwyn Olsen, head winemaker at Pepper Tree Wines and Briar Ridge Wines, will be there.
Sprout Dining is hosting a four-course vegan dinner on February 28, 6.30pm to 11pm. The cost is $50 per person. Phone 4927 1138 to book.
You might know of Amorelle Dempster for her leading role in Slow Food Hunter Valley. Well, her daughter Georgia Dempster, her partner Adrian Nies and his brother Marshall are shaving their heads for a good cause at a special curry night to be held at Readers Cafe and Larder from 6pm this Saturday, February 24. The trio are raising money for The Leukaemia Foundation and donating their hair to make wigs. Tickets cost $25; bookings essential at trybooking.com.
Dinner and movie
Flicks on the Green returns to the stunning garden at Gray’s Inn, Wollombi, on March 3. Classic movie All The President’s Men starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford is screening. Tickets are $20 for the movie including a glass of Noyce Brothers Wine on arrival, or $65 for the dinner and movie package at Panino Caffè & Restaurant. Bookings essential by phoning Julie at Noyce Brothers Cellar door on 4998 3483 or 0416 245 655.
Tinder for food
Crave, a food App launched in August by Novocastrian Jessica Koncz, has reached a significant milestone – more than 10,000 people have downloaded it and are using it to make food selections. In a nutshell, the App features dishes from Newcastle eateries which can be chosen by “swiping right”. Koncz and her team hope to launch Crave in other regional cities, as well as major cities, sooner rather than later.
The Cracked Cup Cafe & Pizzeria at Kahibah has new owners, Matt and Catherine, and a new breakfast and lunch menu. There is a nice little village atmosphere along the main shopping strip, too.
A sell out
Feast Fest made its Speers Point Park debut last Saturday however it appears that demand exceeded supply and many food trucks ran out of food well before the advertised closing time. Organisers said: “We will be back next month with more food trucks/vendors. We will deliver next month.”