Circa 1876, Pokolbin Hunter Valley

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Circa 1876 is situated in an historic 139-year old cottage on 12-acres of lush garden, just near the entrance of Peppers Convent. This fine dining restaurant runs under the skilled hands of Chef Trent Barrett, who comes with years of Executive Chef experience and a passion for organic produce and farm to fork dining.

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Under Trent’s direction, Circa 1876 has now moved away from a la carte and instead offers diners the option of a two-course, three-course, or a five-course chef’s tasting menu.

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Arguably one of the Hunter Valley’s most iconic restaurants. As you enter, this historic building brings a sense of history and awe.

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“Our food focuses on timeless ingredients but presented in new ways,” says Trent. “Our beautiful organic garden inspires me daily to do and try different things. The flavour profile of the produce we source from just a few metres away in our garden is incredible – it surprises so many customers when they taste what real ‘fresh food’ is like,” he explains.

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We opted for the 3 course. But first, bread <3

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Sesame Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, Soft Cooked Pullet Egg, Olive Cheeks, Chipotle Aioli, Wasabi Roe, Fresh Garden Greens and Lime

Incredibly delicious, the thick slices of fresh tuna sit on either side of a perfectly soft cooked Pullet Egg. The richness of the creamy yolk went perfectly with the spicy tuna. There were quite a few unique flavours in the dish, all of them working in unison to create a bite so delicious you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t lick the plate clean finish it.

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Crispy Skin Jumbo Quail, Smoked Beetroots, Goats Cheese, Beetroot Puree, Garam Masala, Fresh Garden Greens

The juiciest, most succulent quail I’ve ever had. The little cut up portions had a decent amount of meat surrounded in a crispy skin bringing a lovely contrast. Add to that the earthy flavour of beetroot with the sharp bitterness of goats cheese and some fresh greens from the garden and a winning plate you have.

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Two Parts Duck, Seared Duck Breast, Slow Cooked Duck Egg, Fresh Black Truffle,  Truffle Potato Foam, Asparagus and  Jamón Fondant Potato, Roast Baby Carrots

Seeing how beautifully presented these dishes are really breathes understanding into how much work and skill goes into them. The duck slices were soft as butter, going marvellously dipped in the insanely rich duck egg yolk. I really appreciated the long slice of jamon seeping it’s salty flavour into everything sitting on top of it.

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Confit of Pork, Crispy Skin of Pork, Black Lentils, Pickled Garden Radish, Celeriac Puree,  Dijon Mustard Spheres

This was melt in your mouth good. Literally. The pork was so soft it basically just disintegrated into absolute moreish flavour on the tongue. As a complete opposite the crackling had a perfect crunch to it balancing out the texture of the plate. The black lentils had a lovely bite to them while the celeriac added a clean creaminess.

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These little bite size meringues were made instantly using liquid nitrogen. The sensation of it instantly dissolving in your mouth is enough to cleanse the palette and put a smile on your face.

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Deconstructed Lemon Tart, Lemon Myrtle, Macadamia Nut Ice Cream, Vanilla Tuile, Lemon Syrup and Lime Jelly

A delicious dessert, the tart flavours of the citric components made this dish decadent and cleansing at the same time. The creamy macadamia nut ice cream was so smooth, balancing the zesty flavours very well.

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Truffle Crème Brulee  Truffle Honeycomb,  Rhubarb, Crème Fraiche Ice cream, Truffle Honey

The instant the plate hit the table my nostrils were filled with the intoxicating aroma of truffle. So heady with the aroma I literally dived right in and was pleased to find a luscious and creamy mix so enjoyable I couldn’t help but grin with glee.

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All in all we had a fantastic meal at Circa 1876. The food was phenomenal, the service was impeccable, and the atmosphere was buzzing, intimate and friendly. If you’re in the Hunter Valley don’t go past this.

Check out other Hunter Valley Restaurants and Accommodation. 

64 Halls Road,
Pokolbin, NSW 2320

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