Huntlee Tavern – the new place to drop by
BY ROS BALDWIN
There is something really exciting about the opening weekend of a new business. Especially if the new business is the brand-new local watering hole. The grapevine is activated and friendly chatter centres wholly around the questions “Have you checked it out yet?” and “Was it good?”. The buzz is electrifying, and jealousy is rife among those who didn’t manage to get there.
Last Friday, the much anticipated Huntlee Tavern opened its doors. And can I say, it dominated conversations all weekend and with good reason. The stunning interior with moody, bronzed lighting and deep, comfortable chesterfields sets the tone for a modern venue, drawing a crowd of locals from near and far. Opening night on Friday was a success with the bar reaching capacity, with a queue out the door. Saturday was the same, according to the local grapevine. Not surprising, with live entertainment playing each night.
Sunday morning was our turn. I couldn’t book for lunch as they were already full, but we were truly happy to ‘check it out’ on opening weekend over great coffee and breakfast.
The Huntlee Café area is adjacent to the main bar, with alfresco and indoor dining options, as well as an open kitchen and coffee area so you can really feel part of the action. On arrival, you check in, are taken to your table, then when you are ready, order at the bar. The breakfast menu is small but perfectly ticks all the breakfast boxes. With waffles, bacon and egg roll, bircher muesli and the classic cooked breakfast there is something for everyone. We ordered the double smoked bacon and egg roll with hash tots ($15), simple poached eggs on sourdough with avocado ($18) and the baked egg with spiced beans, zucchini and avocado ($20). It was delicious, with Miss S declaring it the best breakfast ever! The coffee was amazing, and with the choice of either cup or mug, who was I to pass the opportunity for my first coffee of the day to come in a large stone mug.
You could tell there was some opening weekend jitters, but the friendly and hard-working staff ensured the room full of locals were well looked after. Oh, and did I mention there is an indoor, super soft, kids adventure playground?
During the day and evening, the menu becomes far more extensive, offering gastropub favourites such as sizzling hot pot garlic prawns ($22), pizzas ($22), burgers (from $18), different cuts of steaks (from $27) and of course, the chicken parmi ($24) with all the usual sides. Familiar, flavoursome and fabulous!
After breakfast we took ourselves on a tour of the whole building. Wow! It is so generous in size, with a large TAB area, private VIP room, enormous bar the length of the building and outdoor seating on the verandas. Off the carpark there is an easy to access bottle shop open from 10am. Upstairs there is the Terrace, available for booked social gatherings, designed with entertainment in mind with the inclusion of state-of-the-art technology.
But the main bar is the heart and soul of the tavern. They boast an ‘unrivalled wine list’, large selection of spirits and an impressive range of beers on tap. This is where the sea of leather and timber and delicious, bronze mood lighting lies. A perfect place to meet some friends for beers or a sneaky cocktail or two. And the classic cocktail list looks good with espresso martinis, cosmopolitan and mojito to name a few. I’ve already lined up my friends for an evening out…. have you? But my advice is come early – those chesterfields will quickly become hot property during the evenings and weekends, particularly as live music is on every Friday and Saturday evening from 9pm.
So, if you missed the word on the local grapevine, I am here to tell you – yes, I have checked it out and yes, it is good. And I look forward to seeing you there!
3 Empire Street Branxton 2335
Open SUN – WED 8am – 12am
THURS – SAT 7am – 1am