Hunter Escape: Leaves & Fishes

Leaves & Fishes came recommended to us by Dr King and Kiki after having eaten there several times when they’ve visited the Hunter Valley themselves. We stop in on our last day at the Hunter, via somewhat of a detour before heading home. It is a gorgeously sunny day which serves only to enhance the relaxed atmosphere of the covered deck dining area, decorated in country comfort accents and punctuated by bright flowers. There is only the sound of soft chatter amongst patrons and the surrounding lake to act as a backdrop. You definitely feel like you’re at someone’s house rather than at a restaurant.

We start with an entrée-sized ‘Deli plate of house made duck pâté, chicken pistachio terrine, vegetables and prosciutto’ to share. Tart caperberries and gherkins, sundried tomato segments, roasted beetroot wedges and sprigs of watercress are strewn around the cold meat elements of the plate as well as a roasted whole tomato. We are most impressed by the collection of crostini, grissini, toasted flatbread and lavosh presented alongside – the serve is so ample that we have pieces left over long after the contents of the deli plate have been consumed.

We appear to have gone a little overboard and have decided on two mains between us. The ‘Crispy whole fish with ginger, pea sprout salad and seared greens’ is a snapper in this case and rather sizeable. The fish has been dusted in a light coating of flour and chilli powder prior to being deep-fried. The salad and greens provide needed crunch and work well with the tangy, tart (tamarind?) sauce.

The ‘Malay barbecued chicken with corn fritters, pickled red cabbage and lime’ was ordered without knowing what Malay barbecued chicken was admittedly. We are presented with a tender half of a chicken, which has been flattened slightly, sitting atop three corn fritters and the lot dressed with a balanced sauce tasting of sweet chilli, saltiness, spiciness and a subtle nuttiness.

The menu is mixed in a very mod-Oz way, packing in lots of flavour influences. The tranquil, lazy atmosphere setting reminds me of sitting on a friend’s back porch and whiling away the time chatting about nothing in particular. Leaves & Fishes also has four boutique cabins around the back overlooking the lake as an accommodation option as well.

737 Lovedale Rd (between Majors Lane & Wilderness Rd), Lovedale NSW
Tel: (02) 4930 7400

Opening Hours:  Mon & Tues  CLOSED
Wed & Thurs  lunch only
Fri & Sat  lunch & dinner
Sun  lunch only

Leaves & Fishes on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. Its been a good 2 years since I have been to the Hunter. You have rekindled all the memories with friends and now I want to go. Its such a fantastic destination for good food and wine. That crispy whole fish looks absolutely gorgeous.

  2. Looks like such a relaxing getaway and the food looks so fresh and appealing - especially that deli plate!

  3. The teeth on the fishy look a bit scary! Nice looking restaurant - you're right, it does look like someone's house...lovely.

  4. i remember driving past this place and it's great to see your post to see what's inside. looks like it's worth trying next time :-)

  5. I adore the relaxed lazy setting paired with gorgeous looking food! win win win.

  6. I like the sound of the Malay chicken....and the food looks delicious - great photos.

  7. wow the presentation of everything is gorgeous!

  8. wow love the look of the deli plate! great shot of it too

  9. I've heard so many good things about the Hunter Valley. Your posts are putting me back in holiday mode....I hope I don't snap out of it!

  10. Have just been doing some catch up reading- looks like you had an amazing time. I need to ask you actually, where to stay in the Hunter for one night only ??

  11. Sounds like the perfect place to while away an afternoon. The breads and deli spread looks so good I'd probably just fill up on that!

  12. Gorgeous photos - they make the food look so inviting. Did you say house made pate? Drool..

  13. What a lovely place! It sure feels like someone's home, adorable!

    Camila Faria

  14. The deli plate looks so beautiful, and that couch is the most comfortable looking couch I've ever seen! I love the food & wine & dining experience at Hunter Valley... oh it makes me want to go back!

  15. Hey Kath, I want to go again! I always have such a relaxing time when I'm there.

    Hey missklicious, it's a blissful world away from Sydney and city life. Deli/antipasto plates are my weakness =p

    Hey MissPiggy, haha, he does look a little scary! This place is so homely and looks straight out of an interiors magazine.

    Hey Simon, I thought it looked like a fishing tackle store from the road, haha! You definitely have to venture in before you get a proper look at the place.

    Hey Sara, it looks like somewhere where you could hang a hammock I reckon!

    Hey Kitchen Butterfly, the chicken was beautiful!

    Hey Betty, I know, both the food and the place!

    Hey sugarpuffi, thanks! I know you like it coz of all the meats...

    Hey Adrian, I wouldn't mind being in holiday mode right about now...

    Hey Gastronomy Gal, wish I could recommend you somewhere but we've only ever stayed at this retreat up a hill on the outskirts of the Hunter. It's actually not all that convenient and I'm not sure you can stay only one night either...sorry!

    Hey Keely, I'd be quite happy just picking at the deli plate and the breads by myself over the course of an afternoon actually!

    Hey Forager, housemade pate - and pate is only something I've discovered in recent times that I like!

    Hey Camila, it just looks so comfortable and inviting, doesn't it?

    Hey Trisha, the only thing that feels restaurant-ish about this place is the fact you get your food served to you =p


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