Middle Park Hotel

The Middle Park Hotel has really transformed itself from the days when I used to live just around the corner and it was a fairly standard pub with parmas on the menu.  These days the place has a polished wooden bar, sports memorabilia on the walls and a modern British menu from chef Paul Wilson.  There’s also a strong focus on wine at the Middle Park Hotel with a proudly all Victorian wine list and the pub hosts a regular series of wine dinners, one of which I was invited along to.

Our first wines for the night at the Middle Park Hotel

I went along with my girlfriend Carly to the final dinner in the series which featured Curly Flat wines.   The co-owner of the winery, Jenifer Moraghan, was on hand to wander around the diners and talk about the winery, its history and of course, what we were drinking.  What I particularly enjoyed was that the entree and main course were both paired with two glasses of wine from different years to allow us to compare them.  It was a really clever way of highlighting the way Curly Flat’s wines really age well.  My favourite wine of the night was the 2008 Curly Flat Chardonnay with its elegant vanilla flavour.  

Oysters at the Middle Park Hotel

To start there were tiny scotch eggs made with quails eggs and with wrapped in smoked salmon rather than sausage.  The egg were crunchy from deep frying and topped with a dollop of sauce gribiche.  It was perfect bar snack food.  Then half a dozen sensational oysters from Moonlight Flat of all different sizes and flavours from broad, flat briny pacific oysters “the cane toad of oysters” according to our host, to tiny sweet Claire de Lune oysters.  A native lime migonette added zing to the briny oysters.

Hervey Bay Scallops

Fat Hervey Bay scallops were topped with a slick of celeraic puree and sauce maltaise (a version of Hollondaise) which while delicious, overpowered the delicate scallops.  It felt a little retro and dated as a dish.

Wessex Saddleback pork at Middle Park Hotel

The main course was pure winter comfort food – a rack of rare breed Wessex Saddleback pork which had been baked in hay.  I couldn’t really detect the more grassy taste you are supposed to gain from using hay to bake meat but the quality of the pork was clear and the creamy parsnip polenta and spiced cherries were a great accompaniment.

Wild mushroom and truffle soufflé at Middle Park Hotel

To finish dessert of wild mushroom and truffle soufflé flecked with goats cheese.  The soufflé was flat rather than puffy and tall and while I do love truffles I just don’t think their strong savoury flavour really works as a dessert, regardless of how luxurious an ingredient they are.

While not all the dishes were successful some such as the scotch eggs and oysters were sensational.  I also really enjoyed the Middle Park Wine Dinner for the opportunity to learn more about Curly Flat wines.  The evening was great fun and terrific value given the amount of wine that accompanied the meal and the expensive ingredients like oysters, rare breed pork and truffles that were featured.

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Details: Middle Park Hotel, 120 Canterbury Road, Middle Park 3206 (Ph 03 9690 1958)
Damage: Pricey.  The wine dinners cost $120 for food and wine.  On this occasion I did not pay.
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Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Middle Park Hotel.


  1. Haven’t been to the Middle Park HOtel in years – will have to make a return visit.

  2. Dear Cara,

    The Saddleback pork looks pretty decent. I tried spatchcock baked in hay at Orto Trading in Sydney once and it was a total waste of time and money.


  3. Love this place! The oysters look so fresh and I’d like to try that soufflé!!!

  4. Anon – You must try it again – it’s really changed

    Chopin – What a shame the spatchcock was a waste of money – I think it worked quite well with the pork.

    Sweet Life – Yes the oysters were super fresh – loved having all the different varieties to try as well.

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