The best cafes in the Hunter Valley
Before spending the day sampling wines and exploring the vines of Hunter Valley, refuel at one of the region’s top cafes with an indulgent breakfast.
The Icky Sticky Patisserie
If you’re a chocolate aficionado, look no further than this indulgent cafe in the quaint village of Lorn that specialises in the finer things in life. Pick up addictive chocolate-and-caramel custard profiteroles, silky chocolate-raspberry mousse, passionfruit meringues, and raspberry-and-white-chocolate pistachio tarts. If you’re not drooling yet, just wait until you have these goodies in hand. The cafe’s displays of cakes and bites are almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Order a coffee, a sweet treat and… sigh. Is this the Hunter Valley’s best brunch?
Cru Bar + Pantry
Located at Brokenwood Wines, Cru Bar + Pantry is a relaxed spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Serving unusual brekkie options like brioche, caviar and smoked salmon or Bombay style eggs. If you're visiting at lunch, there is a self service wine dispenser, offering rare wines not ordinarily available for tasting at the Cellar Door, along with delicious pies, pizza, charcuterie and toasties.
Dishing up eggs, toast and coffee in its enchanting, rustic courtyard since 1996, the team at Cafe Enzo are experts in all things breakfast. Menu favourites include the baked beetroot ricotta with smoked salmon and blood orange ham, and the Breakfast Board, which comes complete with Berkshire ham off the bone, Binnorie Dairy feta and roast cherry tomatoes– there’s a fantastic vego alternative for non-meat eaters. Found in Pokolbin’s Pepper Creek shopping village, an open outdoor fire makes it a cosy perch in the winter months too.
The Bikesmith & Espresso Bar
A local community hub for cyclists, this family-owned café-sum-bike shop on Maitland’s High Street will serve you a mouth-watering Reuben Toastie and an espresso shot after you have picked up a spare tube, or to pass the time while you get a part serviced in the workshop. Even if you aren’t an outdoor sports enthusiast, it’s worth stopping by for the friendly atmosphere and fantastic coffee.
Fawk Foods Kitchen and Bakery
Run by the same team behind the next-door EXP. Restaurant, this part bakery, part café also follows the same philosophy: “To deliver a menu driven by the seasons and focused on flavour”. With a focus on locally sourced products – such as bacon and ham from Maitland’s Hungerford Meat Co, free-range eggs, and the cafe's own house-baked bread and homegrown black garlic – highlights include the buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and biscuit crumb and the chipotle-glazed breakfast rolls. If you are on the go, grab-and-go baked goods are also available. Think banana bread, blueberry muffins, chocolate brownies, and vanilla and sea salt cookies. The outdoor patio is dog-friendly, so pooch can come along for breakfast.
The Deck Cafe Lovedale
The Deck Cafe is the kind of place you visit for breakfast, and still find yourself lingering over lunch. The menu and outlook are that good. Case in point, the scones with Chantilly cream, homemade jam and fresh strawberries – for breakfast. Or the ‘power plate’, uniting everything that’s good for you: poached eggs, hummus, avocado, spinach, broccoli, beets and seeds. Your stomach will thank you. If you find yourself settling in for a snack overlooking the bucolic countryside surrounding Lovedale, make the most of the all-day tapas menu. How does truffled mushroom and goats curd with a glass of wine sound?
Worn Out Wares
If you want to sample local produce from the Hunter region, then make your way to Worn Out Wares. This cosy cafe, store and florist serves breakfast, lunch and something sweet, with a menu featuring locally sourced seasonal produce. While here, buy some flowers or shop for beautiful homewares.
Garden Terrace Cafe
Aside from vineyards, the Hunter Valley Gardens are the other major drawcard of this pretty pocket of New South Wales. The manicured grounds showcase flora and fauna from around the world across an immense 14 hectares. And when you’ve finished your wanderings, sit down to a meal at the Garden Terrace Cafe, overlooking the Oriental Garden. Drop in for an indulgent bacon-and-egg burger (because why not?), smoked salmon eggs benedict or fish and chips. Generous portions, delicious meals and a stellar outlook. What more could you want?