Muse Restaurant is an award winning restaurant in Hungerford Hill, Hunter Valley. Since 2015, they've held Two Chef Hats, equivalent to two Michelin stars. They're well known for their delicious coconut dessert 🥥 (review below). Mick has been reminiscing about their seaweed-truffle infused butter for the past few years so when we were planning our weekend trip, the first thing we did was book a reservation.
On the day, it was a little spooky driving in the darkness of the country side but once we walked up the stairs of Muse, we were wow'ed away by their interior design. The restaurant had a very relaxed and soothing ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and low hanging lights. The lighting was very dim and yellow toned so these photos are not our best work (taken with the RX100) 😅
We dined in late February 2020 and this was their autumn menu.
To start the night, we had sourdough with sea salt and almond butter. Mick was disappointed it was not the same seaweed-truffle flavoured butter he had in 2016 but it was still really good. The butter had a creamy, soft texture, with mix of sweet and salty flavours. The crust was slightly tough to bite through but the bread itself was doughy.
For pairing with our meal we had a 2018 Geelong red wine that tasted light and fruity, and a 2016 French burgundy that was very strong.
These appetizers were included in the set menu. This was the kimchi centre, daikon radish, with tagadashi crumbs. The cabbage was fermented and sour. There were interesting crunchy textures and the mouthfeel was cold.
This was the house-made puff pastry goat cheese. The pastry was well made, airy and light. The goat cheese added a nice layer and was not too overpowering. There was no stench, only the flavour of the goat cheese after the initial bite.
This was house-made costadda with pached fish and yuzu. It was really nice, with a subtle sweetness, acidity and crunch. The yuzu was light and aromatic.
These half a dozen pacific oysters were oven baked. They were slightly briny and creamy, with a plump texture. The vinaigrette was nice and tangy. Just can't go wrong with oysters during fine dining (´∀`)
The first course was a set Burraduc Farm buffalo Dolce Nina fresh cheese, heirloom tomato, olive, basil, preserved lime. The cheese was well made and very creamy. The vegetables tasted fresh, with a blend of sweet and tangy flavouring. The initial bite was a little overwhelming due to the cultivated taste, but the refreshing tomatoes helped cut through the cheese. It was a good starting dish.
For our second course, Mick got the southern calamari, sake and dashi tentacles, Mother Fungus mushroom, yuzu, togarashi, sea blight. The first bite tasted like an umami bomb. The calamari was both spicy and savoury. It was tasteful, cooked right, with perfect toughness and bouncy texture yet still tender. There was a layer of salt at the bottom that melted in with the sauce. The sauce had a Japanese essence. The squid ink was for decoration.
I got the raw Nelson Bay bonito, finger lime, cucumber, garum, fushimi pepper, chilled apple, cucumber and wasabi juice. The presentation was beautiful. The fish had a delicious acidic flavouring with the apple puree. The fish was thick and fresh, with no ocean stench. The thinly cut cucumbers added a nice, refreshing coolness. I was only sad the portion was too small. I really enjoyed the fish!
For our third course, I got the barbecued Murray Gold cod, prawn XO, fried eggplant, gem lettuce, citrus and soy. The fish flesh was bouncy and well cooked with a crispy fried skin. The initial bite of the fish had a sour taste but after taking a bite with all the elements of the dish, it was a lot better. The charred miso eggplant was salty, balancing the full-on umami flavour of the fish. The citric sauce balanced everything out and helped tone it down.
Mick got the wood-fired Berkshire pork and cotechino, potato puree, soured cream, sunrose, preserved plum glaze for his main course. The pork skin was very crispy and a little tough to cut. We had to use our fingers at one point. In comparison, the pork belly was soft and fatty and melted in our mouths. The potato puree was perfect and creamy. The plum glaze added a delicious sweet taste.
This was the palette cleanser with rockmelon and watermelon. It was really fresh and cold, with citrus flavours. ✅ Cleansed palette achieved.
The eye of the prize, the famous Muse coconut. The presentation was on point. Look at how beautiful this "coconut" was! It was honestly too pretty to eat.
The outside shell was made of milk chocolate with carvings. The white "flesh" part of the coconut was coconut ice cream and the centre of the coconut was a coconut and lychee flavoured syrup. On the outside was cream, edible flowers and dried fruits. This dish was SO GOOD! 😍 We can totally see how Muse won their Two Chefs Hats with this dish. Mick said it tasted exactly like how he remembered from 2016. We would love to go back for this dessert again.
These were complimentary mint, condensed milk and chocolate balls. The flavour was subtle and mildly sweet. It was a great way to end the meal.
Overall we had a fantastic time at Muse Restaurant. The service was top notch. Each server was very attentive and informative. The sommelier gave great wine recommendations for our meal. The food was delicious and we left the restaurant just crossed over the border of full, which is a bonus because most fine dining restaurants have smaller servings that do not fill the stomach up. If we're ever in Hunter Valley again, we would definitely dine at Muse.
Thanks for reading. Happy eating!