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  • Liane Morris

Blanchies Gluten-Free Hotspot in Pokolbin's Vineyards

cheese platter

Blanchies on Leisure is a café/restaurant located inside the Leisure Inn at Pokolbin, with views stretching out over the vineyard, paddocks, and dam. It offers a family-friendly menu and atmosphere (kids love the visiting ducks) at affordable prices in the heart of wine country. It also offers a true gluten-free dining experience that is safe for those with coeliacs.


Chef and owner Matthew Blanch grew up in Pokolbin and, at the age of 16, apprenticed to Matt Dillow at The Verandah restaurant. He opened the first Blanchies in Branxton in 2018, moved it to Cessnock in 2019 and then finally moved it “home” to Pokolbin in April of last year.

It was family and friends who were living with the challenges of coeliac disease that inspired Matthew to specialise in gluten-free. “Here at Blanchies, all our fryers, grills, and pans are 100 per cent coeliac safe with no cross-contamination. We make everything fresh in-house daily to order, and we’re home to the best GF pancakes in the Hunter Valley!” says Matthew.

“Visitors to the valley hear about our gluten-free menu and feel safe eating here. I’m keen to educate other chefs about what it takes to produce a truly gluten-free menu. Of course, you don’t have to eat gluten-free; it’s really only the bread component of our menu that gets changed out.”

The Blanchies on Leisure menu features steaks, burgers, schnitzels and fish. Everything is made in-house, and the menus are posted daily on social media. The two most popular breakfast dishes are the Turkish Eggs (garlic labneh, chilli oil, cucumber, tomato, pickled onion, spicy grape sauce and flatbread) and the Pancakes with a choice between Butterscotch Pancakes or the American Pancakes (bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage. maple syrup and butter).

The most popular lunch is a choice of one of the many burgers available or the $15 Monday to Friday lunch selection, which includes classics such as Bangers and Mash with gravy or Salt and Pepper Squid with salad and chips.

Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, Blanchies also offers picnics, platters, and catering/BBQ packs and is looking at wedding catering in the near future. Follow them on Facebook for up-to-date menus – search @blanchies-on-leisure or call 0421 559 807.



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