Relaxed Hunter Valley dining that doesn’t compromise on quality
It’s known and loved for its sweeping, grapevine-studded hills, its countless gourmet culinary experiences, and world-class wines—it’s easy to understand why the Hunter Valley keeps us coming back time after time.
But what if, on your next visit all you’re looking for is a good, old-fashioned, Aussie café-come-pub environment? What if you’re after a casual, child-friendly space, but don’t want to compromise on quality? What if, after all that wine, all you really want is a beer from a tap?
Enter Jimmy Joans!
Opening on the Mother’s Day weekend of 2022, owners Eliza and Thom Boyd in partnership with Hoteliers Mick and Kim Starkey (known for their Newcastle establishments, Stag & Hunter Hotel and Customs House), have taken it upon themselves to plug the gaps they observed in the Hunter Valley.
“We wanted to create a really casual, inviting dining environment for anyone and everyone—you don’t need to book, and you can come in here straight off the vineyard in your work gear, or you can come with a group of girlfriends dressed up for cocktails,” says Eliza.
Jimmy Joans offers customers coffee and light breakfasts from 8am daily, expanding into an all-day menu from 11am which runs into the evening and night. Tap beers, cocktails, and a range of beautiful wines are also available as perfect accompaniments to the team’s delicious menu.
“We want people to feel connected when they come in here; we want it to feel welcoming, so our food style is not overcomplicated.
"We want it to be honest, reliable and delicious. We designed it all by thinking about what we’d like to eat when we’re out with friends, or what we’d expect to see on the menu if we came to a place like this.”
The space itself is classy, yet approachable. Lawn furniture, umbrellas and picnic tables adorn the grassed area in front of the building, offering the ideal space to while away the hours of a summer afternoon, while inside, beyond the bull-nose verandah and glass doors, polished concrete floors, mismatched antique furniture, hanging lights, exposed timber beams, and a fireplace constitute the sophisticated interiors.
On Sundays, live music acts invigorate the front lawn and in winter, the outdoor space is kept cosy and snug with firepits.
The venue’s name pays tribute to Kim’s grandparents, Jim and Joan Moyle, in an effort to evoke the sense of family, hospitality and warmth that are key to the experience it offers its customers.
“We actually have a few of Jim and Joan’s old possessions in here; we restored their dining table which would be over 100 years old now, and it sits in the corner and seats customers … On the wall we have a painting of their family home, and their old china cabinet sits in the entrance. It’s nice! It feels homely and warm,” says Eliza.
The bar menu features a range of choices, sure to appeal to everyone’s preferences. If you’re keen to try something new, Eliza assures me you can’t go past their famous Scotch Egg—a “bloody tasty” boiled egg, wrapped in pork mince, rolled in breadcrumbs, deep fried and served with sweet mustard pickles.
If you’re after something a little less adventurous, though equally as delectable, you might opt for a selection of cheeses, chicken liver parfait and cornichons, or mussels cooked in white wine and fennel, served up with crusty sourdough bread.
The team uses only the best quality producers and suppliers, ensuring that, in addition to their years of local and international experience in the management of pubs and world-class, Michelin-starred restaurants, customers are guaranteed top-tier food and drink, in a laid-back, approachable space.
Though Jimmy Joans itself cannot accommodate guests for overnight stays, two cottages are conveniently located at the rear of the property, and bookable through Airbnb, sleeping up to 13 guests between them—so you can enjoy a few cocktails under the stars, and be back for a coffee in the morning!
“We wanted to capture the root of hospitality—we want everyone to come in here, and to be greeted with open arms while they enjoy our space.”
So forget about making a booking, and pop into Jimmy Joans for a drink or a feed whenever you please!