• Di von Essen

A Stylish Transformation Fit for the Queen


Looking out over one of the world’s most picturesque harbours, the Queen’s Wharf Hotel is hard to beat for a relaxing meal or drink with family, friends or colleagues.

Before it was renamed the Queens Wharf Hotel, this popular restaurant and bar was known as The Queens Wharf Brewery consisting of two bars, a restaurant and electronic gaming machines and was a popular venue for food, drink and live entertainment.

For many growing up in Newcastle it was considered a rite of passage and many a good time was had sitting under the sails with a group of friends on a hot sunny day or a warm evening spent on the balcony overlooking the dark waters and lights of the harbour. That was before increased competition in the local area for licensed bars, the enforcement of more stringent liquor laws and the overall need for repair and renovation to the premises took its toll.

Current owners, Claire and Ben Dawson purchased the ailing hotel in May 2014 and immediately set about renovating the iconic landmark – transforming it into a sophisticated and stylish function centre. Tim Leveson, designer of Newcastle’s stylish restaurant and bar, The Edwards, was brought in to manage this new look.

The result has been nothing short of amazing! Upstairs you will find the "Skiff Bar" with its previously low ceiling now stripped back to expose wooden rafters. The addition of the centrally positioned stone fireplace is a welcome sight on many a cool winter night.

For Claire and Ben, the aim was to use as many recycled materials as they could – including a 300 year-old Russian elm for part of the renovations and involve as much local labour as possible. Much of the seating, steel-work and upholstery work was carried out by local Newcastle businesses.

With the floor’s colour modelled on driftwood and the huge fireplace lined with granite boulders inspired by the break-wall, the hotel with its new and modern nautical flavour has been designed to suit its unique harbourside location.

The music lives on and live music is still very much a part of the overall experience at the Queens Wharf Hotel, but without the loud rock bands of the previous venue. Instead the music is more low key and easy listening with DJ’s and solo artists taking to the upstairs stage.

Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, the menu has undergone a similar transformation and is designed to deliver new, fresh taste experiences for the hotels clientele.

As you would expect, the menu features plenty of fresh seafood as well as a host of other tasty dishes. The Lunch and dinner menu changes seasonally and includes locally sourced produce. Menu items include Sydney rock oysters and a choice of small dishes to be shared such as Australian salt & pepper squid, a seafood mezze made up of natural oysters, king prawns, battered barramundi, soft shell crab and smoked Tasmanian salmon and a charcuterie plate consisting of a rotational selection of salami, cured ham & chorizo served with warm sourdough and pickled vegetables. Also available is a selection of pizzas.

For those who prefer something lighter and greener, there is a choice of four "not so average" salads to choose from such as a roasted beetroot and kale salad with quinoa, goat’s cheese, pine nuts with a honey balsamic dressing. My favourites are the panzanella salad involving grilled chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, garlic croutons, grilled peppers, and the house cured Salmon salad with avocado, wild roquette, asparagus, lime and mango dressing. Just delicious!

For mains there is the market fish of the day, the organic ginger beer battered Barramundi fillets, a panko crusted chicken breast, a marinara seafood pasta in a rich napolitano sauce, Tasmanian crispy skin salmon, an Emerald Valley sirloin cooked to your liking and the Emerald Valley scotch fillet topped with king prawns and salt and pepper squid.

The kitchen is open all day – however between the hours of 3.30pm to 6.00pm a slightly smaller menu is on offer made up of some of the delicious food items from the main menu. For more information visit www.queenswharfhotel.com.au

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