EXP. Restaurant | Pokolbin, AUSTRALIA

EXP. Restaurant is my favourite restaurant in the Hunter Valley, without any doubt. The restaurant is relatively young compared to other established options around the area, after all, it was only opened in 2015 by chef-owner Frank Fawkner (ex Muse Restaurant). Despite this, EXP. has quickly gained exceeding popularity amongst locals as well as travellers, and I’m not at all surprised because the food here is something that you will savour and remember. 

We stepped into this restaurant just after six o’clock on a Saturday night and it was already buzzing. The best seats are right in front of the pass where you can watch the chef and his team passionately working together. We had a table not far away from all the action. The restaurant is quite intimate but well-lit and is filled with handcrafted local furniture. For dinner service, guests can choose from two tasting menu options; 5 courses at $85 per person or 8 courses at $110 per person. We opted for the 5-course option. 

I’m not a drinker, but seen as the restaurant is located right next to the Oakvale cellar door, I ordered a glass of the Bellini from their sparkling range, it was playful and sweet, I loved it so much, we went to the cellar door the next day to get a bottle to take home.

The dining experience started with a liquid nitrogen DIY herb butter with flat bread (Minibun George had so much fun working the mortar and pestle), followed by a selection of “snacks” as staff called them, but they were more impressive than any of the snacks I’ve had for a long time. Minibun George’s meal arrived at the same time as the snacks, his chicken roulade with fresh vegetables was such a well-presented vibrant dish, it’s hard to believe that it was a kid’s meal. Our night kept getting better and better with the arrival of dishes such as the native rice risotto, onion, garlic, Fraser Isle spanner crab, ink pasta, Jerusalem artichoke, and Milly Hill lamb served with asparagus, goats curd, mulberry. Whilst it was hard to pick a favourite, I thought the spanner crab dish was exceedingly tasty - it was an otherwise flawless dish except that I wanted the portion to be the size of a bucket… The meal was finished with their honey and brown butter cake, coffee, caramel, cumquat. It was a very simple, nothing over the top, yet a very satisfying ending. 

Paired with the AH-mazing food was equally impressive service, it was friendly and efficient without a hint of pretentiousness. What can I say? It was a superb dining EXP.erience (sorry, but you saw it coming right?) and I’m so glad that we EXP.lored it. 

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $230

Exp Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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