Hunters Quarter owner and chef Brian Duncan knows his way around a kitchen – and so he should, he has worked in some of the best.
Describing his style as “Modern European”, Brian brings a wealth of well-travelled experience to the Hunter’s dining scene, having worked at the Dorchester Hotel (three Michelin stars) and Claridge’s Hotel (one Michelin Star) in Mayfair in London. Brian was also the executive chef at Level 41 and The Establishment - two of Sydney’s most iconic dining venues. He even cooked for Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Attracted by the lifestyle, wine and food offered by the region, Brian and his wife Jen and their young children decided on a ‘’tree change’’ and made the move to the Hunter Valley in January 2016 where they opened Hunters Quarter at Cockfighters Ghost vineyard in Pokolbin.
The restaurant itself is elegant and stylishly furnished with floor to ceiling windows providing loads of natural light and a wonderful view of the dam and vineyards located just a few metres away. The vibe is relaxed and welcoming, and the dining space has an almost rustic look to it, with a polished cement floor, timber tables, high ceilings and large drop pendant lighting.
For Brian, it’s all about the food and the experience, and he tends to shun the limelight, preferring instead to let his food do the talking – letting it define who he is.
And talk they do. With dishes that include Spanner Crab Dumplings with house smoked salmon, tomato, lime and coconut broth; Butter Poached Bug Tail with seared prawns, wild rice, shellfish broth and tempura asparagus; Lightly Peppered Kangaroo Loin with pickled fennel, quinoa pilaf and plum compote; Seared Fillet of Hiramasa Kingfish with red miso broth, shemiji mushrooms, samphire and edamame beans and Marinated Duck Breast with peppered caramel cherries, smoked almonds and broccolini - all of which are just superb.
‘’Hunters Quarter isn’t about fine dining,” says Brian.
“We feel that the Hunter Valley has sufficient fine dining options. Instead, we are about smart-casual food. We want people to come here to catch up for a glass of wine and choose from the bar menu or sit down for a meal.”
Hunters Quarter is up there with the best in contemporary regional dining. Here you will find something for everyone - whatever the occasion. Best of all, it’s all bundled up in a relaxed, elegant dining experience with welcoming service in a beautiful and unique vineyard setting.