It’s Queen’s Birthday weekend here in Australia and we have a long weekend. We rewarded ourselves with a trip up to the Hunter Valley wine growing region for lunch today as well as to check out the new Hunter Expressway. The motorway has only been open a few months and, for someone usually unimpressed by engineering feats, I have to say it was a very nice piece of planning.
Mondays tend to be the day off for restaurant staff but we thought being a public holiday more eateries would have catered for the day trippers. By the time we found somewhere for lunch it was nearer afternoon tea time and our blood sugars were at scratch levels.
The guy behind the counter at a winery, open solely for wine tasting (what a disaster that would have been on our empty stomachs) steered us to the local pub for ‘the best meal around here that isn’t classed as gourmet’. And he was right.
The meal may not have been classified as gourmet or deserving a place in a posh restaurant somewhere in the Valley but our food was well presented, tasty and arrived in record time. The menu was extensive and catered for all tastes; hamburgers, seafood, meat lovers would have a field day, children’s menu, as well as salads – almost too much to choose from.
Like many old buildings the interior was more appealing than the exterior. The Royal Federal Hotel has a library which encourages visitors to choose from a wide variety of authors and take the books home. The heavy colours of yesteryear remain evident as do the ornate light fittings and stair well. It may be old by building standards yet it is as sound as a rock and caters for a large range of clientele: families, day trippers, hosts large bands in the bar area downstairs, has a large dining room as well as smaller rooms for dining with a quieter group of people. We sat outside enjoying the Winter sun on one of the balconies.
The sign on the blackboard asks that next time you stop in for a visit you bring other books with which to replenish the library. What a great and generous idea. There is a children’s section too as well as a stack of colouring books, crayons, felt tip pens and colouring pencils to keep those little hands busy while mum and dad enjoy some down time.
We’ll be back.
Do you take day trips into nearby areas away from home?