A Hunter Valley restaurant that's bringing something a little different to the table
When Hunter Valley Chef Frank Fawkner began thinking about what his very own restaurant would look like there were no simple or straight forward decisions. Instead, Frank and his team wanted to bring something a different to the table, a unique dining experience, the result being EXP Restaurant.
Since starting his career in a small café in Broke, from a young age Frank discovered that food was his passion. Soon after completing his apprenticeship at the Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza, Frank packed his bags and headed to London where he climbed the foodie ladder earning the title of Sous Chef at Tom’s Kitchen. On returning to the Hunter Valley Frank scored a job at the 2 Chef Hatted, Muse Restaurant, once again working his way up to become Head Chef and along the way defining his own food style.
When Frank felt the time was right to move on and step up, the Hunter Valley was his natural choice of locations and in 2015, EXP Restaurant opened its doors.
Located on Broke Rd, Pokolbin EXP Restaurant sits within the Oakvale cellar door and winery, as we enter the property we’re taken aback with the building's stunning wooden panel façade and beautifully maintained vegetable gardens. Inside we meet Frank and begin our EXP food journey.
Every aspect of EXP has been thoughtfully selected, it is the epitome of Frank’s style. That is, creating a menu that challenges and offers a fresh combination of flavours. Preferring to steer away from the typical entrée, main and dessert formula. Instead, Frank has crafted a Tasting Menu comprising of either 5 or 8 courses and matched with Oakvale Wines, allowing guests to experience a wide range of stunning flavours all in the one sitting.
Frank and the team are truly passionate about the produce and ingredients they use, sourcing local ingredients as best they can, with the intention being to provide guests with the cleanest and freshest of flavours. Mixed together with techniques that pay respect to the produce and you start to get to the picture of what the EXP experience is all about.
The interior design selections are of equal importance with a minimalist yet precise design approach taken. Guests choose to either dine inside or out under the verandah that looks over the kitchen garden. For those who prefer to get up close to the action, they can take a seat at the stunning spotted gum bar and observe the chefs doing their thing and perhaps learn a technique or two.
As for the plates that each meal is presented on, well we don’t know whether to eat off them or ask to buy them. Each piece has been hand selected by Frank whose preference for locally crafted items make for a beautiful dining experience. Together with the locally crafted furniture, specially selected playlist and artworks on the walls, it all comes together to complete the unique EXP dining experience.