Emerson's Cafe and Restaurant
492 Lovedale Rd, Lovedale
02 4930 7029
Sitting amongst the grapes of Adina Vineyard is an exciting cafe and restaurant that combines modern Australian cuisine, local wines and beautiful views for a complete culinary experience.
In Lovedale, a town known for an abundance of great food, produce and wine, it can be hard to stand out. However, Emerson’s does just that, offering a diverse menu full of local ingredients.
Growing up in the Philippines, owner and Head Chef, Emerson Rodriguez, developed a love for cooking while working weekends at his grandmother’s market stall. After moving to Australia and managing three of the busiest restaurants in the Hunter Valley, Emerson decided to embark on a solo venture and his first restaurant – originally located at Casuarina Estate – was born.
In 2013 the restaurant relocated to its current location, where it boasts an indoor vertical garden and on-site vegetable garden. The kitchen is open at various times throughout the week: breakfast on the weekends, lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and dinner from Thursday to Sunday. No matter the time of day, you can expect impressive plates that focus on seasonality and local produce. Paired with the casual and relaxed atmosphere overlooking the vineyard, it’s a positive experience from beginning to end.
For weekend breakfast, the selection of classics made with a unique twist will satisfy your morning hunger pangs. Expect combinations such as lamb’s fry with spinach, fried egg, balsamic onions and house-made rosti, or if your sweet tooth needs feeding, French toast layered with custard, fresh strawberries and chantilly cream.
If you’re stopping by for lunch, opt to share smaller dishes, followed by a hearty main for the full experience. The salad of caramelised pears, Binnorie goat’s cheese and Nulkaba honey will warm up your palate, ready to enjoy barbecued pork loin accompanied by crackling, cavolo nero, charred capsicum and raisins.
The focus on local produce is further highlighted throughout the dinner menu, where entrees and mains can be enjoyed individually or shared. The smoked Hiramasa king fish, served with spiced eggplant puree, radish and red pepper crumbs, sets the stage for the rest of the meal, with mains that include a 12- hour braised Wagyu beef cheek with King Brown mushrooms, potato cream and pickled onions.
Most dishes are served on ceramics made by Emerson. As a pottery and ceramics enthusiast, he creates all the crockery on-site, adding just another special element to the restaurant’s offering.
The knowledgeable staff understand that wine is an important part of the fine dining experience and will be happy to suggest a glass of some of the best wines from the Hunter Valley. These can be enjoyed with your meal in the modern dining room or the outdoor patio, where vineyard views will simply take your breath away.
In a place as diverse as the Hunter Valley, choosing where to go may seem difficult. However, allocating some time to visit Emerson’s will reap rewards – with a locally influenced menu and the chance to dine all day, it’s the quintessential Hunter experience.