We deep dive the new menu at Tower Lodge's restaurant
As we approach the end of the year, long lunches and indulgent dinners are well and truly on the cards. Looking for a new spot to try for a meal shared with loved ones or a romantic date night? Tower Lodge’s restaurant – a combination of Spanish-inspired interiors and an elevated menu chock-full of local produce – epitomises those relaxed, convivial vibes.
A long-standing and celebrated Hunter Valley venue, Tower Lodge has consistently offered laidback luxury in the heart of Pokolbin. Now under the ownership of the Hope family (AKA the owners of Hope Estate), the property’s restaurant has been reinvigorated.
In case you missed it, we’ve already covered what you can expect as part of the refresh of Tower Lodge, and spoken to Group Executive Chef Anthony Fullerton about his approach to cooking with local ingredients.
Now, we’re diving deep into the menu at Tower Lodge, so you can get excited about what to expect on your next visit.
From tapas at lunch to a three-course dinner
Whether you plan to visit Tower Lodge for lunch or dinner, the philosophy behind both menus is the same – modern European fare made with the best local ingredients.
At lunch, the menu features share-style plates, with plenty of options for grazing on produce and goods made just down the road from Tower Lodge – think Binnorie Dairy cheeses and olives from Adina Estate in Lovedale.
The tapas selection is full of moreish dishes that are great for sharing with friends and family – but we wouldn’t blame you if you ordered a plate or two just for you!
The grilled Yamba king prawns with garlic and olive oil are a fresh take on garlic prawns. Instead of a heavy sauce, the quality prawns do the talking.
Sardines make an appearance on the lunch menu, but the way they’re served might surprise you. The tiny fish has become popular on restaurant menus of late, but if you’re not game to eat them on their own, Tower Lodge’s polenta herb-crusted version with a simple salad of watercress, fennel, and red onion is a tasty way to try them.
Since the Hope family have their own Angus beef farm, it would be remiss if this beef didn’t star on the menus at Tower Lodge. At lunch, it’s skewered and cooked over the woodfire grill, and served with a sumac-spiced aioli.
At dinner, you’ll find it braised and stuffed into tortelloni that’s served with a beef stock reduction as an entreé, and for a main, order the chef’s hand-selected cut to be grilled and dished up with celeriac, asparagus, and a porcini mushroom glaze.
If you can’t be tempted by the beef, try the seared scallops – plump morsels on a bed of cauliflower cream, scattered with a chorizo crumb and topped with salmon roe.
When we chatted through the restaurant’s menu with Anthony, he had plenty of praise for Alba Australian White Lamb – make sure you try it as a main, with an oven baked rack and pressed shoulder accompanied by heirloom carrots, green peas, and black garlic jus.
The dessert selection is unmissable – classics like crème brûlée and panna cotta with unexpected yet welcome flavour additions. The bitter chocolate tart is a rich, silky smooth but not overly sweet dessert, spiked with salt to tie it all together. When you pair it with pistachio gelato, it’s a heavenly match.
The crème brûlée is made with a traditional vanilla bean custard, and laced with Pedro Ximenez prunes – prunes soaked in Spanish sherry. The result is a decadent, creamy dessert – perfect for finishing off your meal.
Your meal might be over, but we’re sure you’ll want to linger a little longer at Tower Lodge.