Discover the Hunter’s community driven and food focused gem
Trading Post Laguna is located in the little country town of Laguna, about 10 minute's drive outside of Wollombi. For those travelling from Sydney, Laguna is actually the gateway to the Hunter Valley.
The space is best described as being one of those good old-fashioned country-style venues. You won’t find any slick or shiny fit-outs, instead a rustic-looking shed that looks like it could tell a story or two.
Now, with a refreshed brand, renovated venue, and elevated food and drink offerings, Trading Post Laguna should be on everyone’s ‘to visit’ list for this year.
With Andrew Taylor, Joel Humphreys, and Rosa Marsh joining forces in this new venture, the trio has collectively curated a unique offering to this tried-and-tested favourite; continuing to put the Hunter’s country town of Laguna on the map.
“The three of us come from three really different backgrounds and we really need one another to make this project work,” Andrew said.
Rosa, and her partner John, have been the hardworking team behind the venue for the past ten years. Bringing onboard Andrew with his extensive experience in hotel development and Joel, with his background working at prestigious restaurants across the globe, has seen the property move into a new and exciting direction, with good food & wine, community spirit, and authentic country hospitality still at its core.
“90% of the people that come through our doors are people that have been here before. It’s really a unique thing for a venue. Lots of locals are showing their visiting friends and family somewhere that they’re proud of and we’re excited to be a part of that,” Joel said.
For those who have visited the historic property before, whilst you can still expect those old-school country aesthetic vibes, the trio has been hard at work launching a refreshed interior in December 2022 with a food and drink offering to match.
“We’ve basically had to rebuild the whole site. All of the old timber that we pulled out is what our builder utilised for the finishes. Everything you see that is exposed is from the original build,” Rosa said.
Stepping into the main lodge, you’re welcomed into a newly designed bar, a decked-out wine and food pantry, 33 Bread + Wine, that flows effortlessly into the refined dining terrace, Café Marjorie.
“The space is 100% new but it really doesn’t look like it because we’ve utilised original materials. Our builder, DC, is just a magician with wood and did all of the fittings throughout the renovations. All of these little details that just look like they’ve been here for years, they’re new. He’s made it look like that and it’s really awesome,” Joel said.
Sit down to enjoy Joel’s culinary creations at Café Marjorie. Look through into the newly developed open kitchen as you’re surrounded by quintessential Australian bushland. Sticking with Joel’s personal cooking philosophy, the menu is as seasonal as they get.
“A big part of me moving onto this project was because I really wanted to do something that was really concentrated on what my style of cooking is which is everything made in-house and working on relationships with growers and producers.
“It’s very European influence and is incredibly seasonal. The menu generally changes every week and sometimes three times a week. That’s just because of the style I wanted it to be.”
The name, Marjorie pays homage to Andrew's grandmother, a local from the nearby area of Sweetmans Creek.
“As a group, we knew we wanted a female influence to come through with the name of the space. We wanted to show a softer side and a relaxed element. We were toying with different female names, but we knew it had to be meaningful, even just to one of us. Marjorie is the middle name of my grandmother,” Andrew said.
For those just passing through or for locals, 33 Bread + Wine is the property’s well-stocked food and wine pantry. The wine offering has a great focus on Hunter Valley wines, as well as a selection of natural wines and other varieties from across NSW.
The moody pantry space offers a small general store collection of goods including a massive charcuterie selection thanks to Hungerford Meat Co, a full selection of Hunter Valley cheese, preserves made in-house, hand-selected tracklements, and baked goods from Trading Post Laguna’s on-site bakery.
“We have designed 33 Bread + Wine to be used by locals and for people on day trips coming through. There will be a picnic option to grab a few things. We’d like to activate different areas around the property where people can enjoy their time here,” Joel said.
The future of Trading Post Laguna will see the site develop a world-class tourist accommodation facility with a premium quality lodge building plus four additional suites with plans to start building by late this year.
The rest of the site has big plans to convert one of the old lodges into a dedicated bakery space, create a grab-n-go style kiosk right at the front of the property for those riding through, and potentially even an e-bike shed where visitors would be encouraged to set off and explore the area’s trails.
“Growing the Laguna village element is our end game. We’ve already got the ingredients here, but we’ll be expanding on that over time,” Andrew said.
Whilst you're experiencing the property's recently refurbished Cafe Marjorie and 33 Bread + Wine, be sure to browse the adjoining businesses. Wander through Laguna Luxe and discover their selection of homewares, gifts, fashion, and more. Or pick up some local produce from Laguna Village Providore.
Andrew, Joel, Rosa, and the rest of the team behind Trading Post Laguna are excited to welcome you into their newly refreshed venue and invite you to be a part of this unique country community, whether that be for just a quick meal, an afternoon drink, or weekend away in Laguna.