Hunter Valley Dining: Mojo’s on Wilderness August 31, 2010Posted by pacejmiller in Food, Travel.
Tags: caramelised balsalmic vinegar, fine dining, Hunter Valley, Lovedale, Mojo's, Mojo's on Wilderness, restaurant, restaurant review, wine country
So after agonising over where we would have this very special first dinner at the Hunter Valley (considering we only had two nights and there were dozens of places to choose from), we went with the highly recommended Mojo’s on Wilderness.
It was a relatively short drive through the empty, unlit gravel roads of the Hunter Valley, which was a bit of an experience in itself. Eventually, we came across some dim lights and decided that we must have arrived.
From the outside, Mojo’s looks like a little cottage. It kind of does from the inside too, with a finely decorated setting complete with modern art (for sale) adorning the walls. Due to the size of the place, there weren’t many seats, and we were lucky even to get a reservation because someone else had pulled out that afternoon.
The staff at Mojo’s was great. Attentive and patient, explaining to us what the specials were and what particular dishes they recommended. Everything seemed terrific. If you don’t believe me check out the menu here.
The first thing that arrived at our table was the bread (ciabatta rolls), served with olives, dukkah and truffle oil with a dash of caramelised balsalmic vinegar mixed in. May I just say this may have been the best free bread I’ve ever had. The bread itself was nice and warm; crispy on the outside, moist (but not too moist) on the inside. And the aroma…man. I’m not ordinarily a fan of excessive balsalmic (too much vinegar smell for me), but this caramelised stuff was sensational — tangy and sweet, unlike anything I’ve tried before. Needless to say, we scoffed down the bread and may have asked for seconds.
Next up, the starters. We chose two — the mushroom risotto and the panfriend lamb cutlets. I’m not exaggerating when I say they were right up there amongst the best starters we’ve ever had, anywhere. Though the presentation was pretty good, it had nothing on the actual taste, which for me was quite a rarity.
We also picked two main courses — roasted cod (because we felt like somelike a little lighter) and the roasted duck with spiced aubergine chutney. Both were excellent — not quite as amazing as the starters (as is always the case) but still very very good. We polished up the dishes even though we were completely stuffed.
Oh, and they even gave us a free side of steamed vegetables. I had low expectations for because, let’s face it, they usually just throw a few tasteless veges in boiling water — but these veges were fantastic because they added pine nuts and some delicious special dressing for flavour (and it was free). I had never been so pleased to eat so many vegetables.
Dessert was a tough choice, but we went with the Amaretto cheesecake and a chocolate cake + ice cream. Can’t complain about either selection as we cleaned them up despite being utterly stuffed.
In all, a fabulous dining experience. The place is warm and cosy, the service is outstanding and the food is simply sublime. Glad out of all the places we could have gone to we chose Mojo’s on Wilderness.
10 out of 10
PS: Mojo’s on Wilderness is located at 84 Wilderness Road, Lovedale, NSW. Reservations: (02) 4930 7244. Two courses for $59, three courses for $73.
PPS: We bought one of those caramelised balsalmic vinegar things to take home. Perfect with a bunch of stuff.