Hunter Escape: Firestick Café

When Monsieur Poisson and I have holidayed at the Hunter Valley, we don’t go out at night. Partly because we tend to visit early- to mid-week when there’s nothing open at night time, and partly because it’s incredibly dark at night and driving on both sealed and unsealed roads can be rather hazardous. Hence us never having visited Rock Restaurant, the region’s only hatted restaurant and a 2-hat status for three years running at that.

So discovering that Rock Restaurant morphed into the more relaxed Firestick Café during the day meant that we were still able to sample the kitchen’s food. Unfortunately both Rock and Firestick have since closed at the end of May 2011, although the Pooles Rock winery continues to operate, so we will not be able to drop in again on subsequent visits. The quality of the food was great and, seriously, how many cafés serve you an amuse bouche?

The little appetite-teaser of ‘Beetroot Lyonnaise with labne on sourdough’ was definitely an unexpected touch. As we were saving room for scones later in the afternoon, Monsieur Poisson and I ordered a small (most dishes were offered in two sizes) portion of ‘Grilled sirloin with wilted spinach, red wine jus, café de Paris butter and hand cut chips’ to share along with a ‘Pizza of confit pork belly, braised red cabbage and pear relish’.

The steak was cooked well and the red wine jus glossy and rich which we mopped up with the chips. The pizza had a light, crisp base with thin pork belly slices whose fat was perfectly cut by the red cabbage. Monsieur Poisson couldn’t resist ordering the ‘Apple and blueberry crumble’ when he spotted it on the menu (big apple crumble fan here), whilst I defaulted to my usual coffee/dessert combination of an affogato.

Firestick Café had decent prices although I’ve heard Rock was much more upmarket. Regardless of the reasons for which they closed, it will be interesting to see if there is a new venture down the line.

Firestick Café – CLOSED
Pooles Rock Winery, 576 Debeyers Rd (near corner McDonalds Rd), Pokolbin NSW

happy eating!


  1. What a shame such a lovely cafe has closed - I haven't been to the Hunter Valley in years, might be time for a revisit.

  2. I really love it when places offer two sizes - it's great when you're not that hungry, or you want to try a few different things. Shame that it's closed now!

  3. oh thats a shame the cafe has closed! i love the hunter, such a perfect place to go in winter. must visit soon :)

  4. Man, that pizza looks good- so rustic and pork belly?! I'm sold. Too bad it's now closed!

  5. The pizza and the steak! These two are one of my favourites!! I want to visit this wonderful cafe right now, but I am so far from your country! Anyways, right now I am happy drooling on these yummy pics!

  6. Yeah, I hate driving through the Hunter late night... so dark and you never know if some critter is going to come out of nowhere... But, well worth it when you get to one of the many awesome restaurants there

  7. I've had such great times sitting in that cafe, nursing a glass of red and eating pizza. Thanking you kindly for bringing back such happy memories...

  8. The food looks lovely, what a bummer they are now gone :(

  9. Ngaww Firestick/Rock Restaurant has closed? Such a shame. Luckily there are plenty of other worthy eating options in Hunter Valley. Man I miss that place :(

  10. We popped in for a late lunch on Sunday after a massive bike ride around the Hunter and were so bummed it was closed. I was hanging for a pizza. Elizabeth's at Mount Pleasant was good compensation. The glass of Maurice O'Shea Shiraz was so worth it.

  11. Hey Miss Piggy, I know, was quite a find in the Hunter.

    Hey missklicious, when I'm not that hungry I usually opt for something from the entrees section but the selection is not always as extensive as the mains on offer - crisis averted when two sizes are available!

    Hey Gastronomous Anonymous, it's kind of strange that I've only ever been during winter =p

    Hey Adrian, the pizza was really good! Loved the base.

    Hey purabi naha, haha, no worries, just keep reading for more!

    Hey Tina, I know, bad enough with all the road splat spotted during the day!

    Hey tori, I'm missing our meal there already! *sigh*

    Hey sara, was a really enjoyable lunch =(

    Hey Karen, I read the founder of Pooles Rock Winery passed away which may have had something to do with the restaurant closing.

    Hey Anita, so sad! The pizza was great.


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