Enjoy a Meal in This Charming, Historic East Maitland Setting
As you drive around Maitland, you can’t help but fall in love with its historical charm and old buildings. So we were excited to see one of these buildings come to life with a new restaurant and bar. Let us introduce you to this new arrival, Duke’s Restaurant and Bar.
This new restaurant is courtesy of Tim Duke and Lindsay Ross, the Maitland locals who wanted to bring elegant, tasty food in a refined historical setting to the Maitland scene.
And they have certainly found the perfect spot to do this. Duke’s Restaurant and Bar is in East Maitland in Roseneath House, originally the Queen Victoria Inn built circa 1837. The building has loads of historic character with its stone patios, brick facade, quaint painted window shutters and elegant simplicity inside.
And as we found out, this beautiful building was the perfect reflection for what awaited us inside.
As we arrived for an early drink before lunch, we were greeted by the friendly and professional Alex, Front of House Manager, who brings with her a raft of experience from the Hunter Valley and London. We were invited into a beautifully simple main room with high ornate ceilings, wall paneling, fresh white walls and a stone topped bar. Stylish artwork from Rosie Turner and local Aboriginal artist Nina Ross decorated the walls and the large windows lit the space beautifully.
We continued out to the back courtyard to enjoy the day’s sunshine and a little cocktail to start off our Duke’s Restaurant and Bar experience. We were seated at a rustic wooden table, with stone pavers at our feet and light flickering through the wisteria covered patio roof from above. The whole setting was olde worlde and quite peaceful.
Alex recommended we try the two signature cocktails, aptly named the Duke and Duchess which Alex created based on Tim and Lindsays’ favourite tastes. The Duke had a similar ginger taste to a Moscow Mule and the Duchess was a passion fruit twist on the traditional French Martini.
Turns out I may have similar taste because these two cocktails were both delicious, especially when enjoyed with the well balanced cheese platter which included a delicious blue cheese drizzled in The Duke’s own backyard honey.
After fighting the temptation for a second round of cocktails, we headed inside for a chat with Owner and Head Chef, Tim Duke. Tim and partner Lindsay are Maitland residents and their love for their home town and for finer styles of dining drew them to want to start their own restaurant here in Maitland.
When the lease for the space, previously The Old Victoria, came up, they knew it was perfect as soon as they walked through the doors. They went on to say,
“We dreamed of creating food we love to eat. Simple, tasty food in a relaxed yet refined environment.”
Tim Duke and Lindsay Ross, Owners
So the historic building that was full of old school charm seemed to be the perfect space to create this refined dining experience.
After a month of renovations, and building a team previously from renowned restaurants in the Hunter Valley, they opened in December 2020 with food inspired by Tim’s love of traditional recipes with wholesome ingredients.
At the Chef’s recommendation, we sat down to share a banquet of his favourite dishes. The snapper fillet with red curry sauce, the housemade pumpkin ravioli, the duck with potato and spring onion cake and spiced orange sauce and the pork belly with apple, watercress and kohlrabi remoulade.
It was all thoroughly enjoyed and full of flavour. So much so, that not one of us could pick a single winning dish because they were all delicious. Yes, be prepared to come back if you visit this restaurant, you will want to try the whole menu!
There were a couple of options on the lunch and dinner menus for vegetarians and if you have a specific dietary request, the team can be very accommodating. Assuming prior notice, they can arrange meal options for most dietary requirements.
The service and personality of the staff was something that we found quite endearing. They were down to earth, friendly, unpretentious and yet still professional. They made us feel extremely welcome...and I’m sure that little glass of First Creek wine helped too.
The restaurant also has some great spaces for private parties and functions ranging from 10 - 60 guests. There were the individual rooms indoors and the courtyard for the more intimate party.
For larger gatherings you could combine spaces and there was also a second courtyard outdoors. Behind the single story “Servants Quarters” building out the back and through the red wooden garden gates, this space would be perfect for an outdoor event or private party/dining experience.
So whether it is for a function, your next date or a catch up with the girls, Duke’s Restaurant and Bar should be on your must do list. Open for lunch and dinner, it is a great addition to the Maitland food scene, run by an experienced and friendly team with delicious food full of flavour.