Take a foodie road trip
WORDS: Corrine Barraclough PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied
If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, coupled with exquisite cuisine to create a memorable dining experience, Tweed River House is a dream come true.
There is simply no better way to enjoy the Murwillumbah hinterland views than a long lunch on the River Terrace at Tweed River House.
Perched perfectly over the Tweed River, sitting gracefully among the lush greenery and cane fields of the Murwillumbah hinterland, you’ll find this 100-year-old colonial mansion. The renovation is absolutely exquisite.
“We bought the property in January last year and we’ve lovingly restored it over a nine-month period. As locals, we had always admired the old-world charm of the building, as well as the stunning location, then it came up for sale,” general manager Gregory Lording tells ORM.
“This is a restoration, built on the principle of preserving the original features and we’ve tried to create the ultimate in plantation-era styled destination dining. We’ve spent a lot of time holidaying in Provence over the years and invested greatly in the design here. On a winter’s night, the fire will be roaring. On hot summer days, the fans create a gentle breeze on the terrace.
“We’ve paired exceptional food and wine with warm, efficient and friendly service. It’s beautiful and extremely elegant, but there is no snobbery here! We really wanted people to feel as though they’ve stepped back in time, say 100 years, back to a gentler era and pace of life. Think Singapore’s Raffles and Penang’s E&O dining rooms and cocktails on the terraces of grand old homes of Australia’s tropical north.
“Guests can come and dine here for three hours, surrounded by natural beauty, and forget about life for a while. We pride ourselves on being the opposite of a churn restaurant.”
Well, doesn’t that sound just dreamy?
The house itself was first built in 1907; a historic homestead with stunning, eye-catching original features. In the 1960s, the house was a place of community celebration, called Greenhills Reception, holding an important place in local history for weddings and funerals. Ask any local and they’ll know the name and spot well.
“It had won a place in locals’ hearts and this is why we wanted to give it a name with ‘House’ in the title. It’s important to us that people feel they’re not walking into a venue, but rather it has the feel of walking into someone’s home,” Gregory says. “The house itself has a great energy to it, having been a centre for families for many years. Newborn babies don’t seem to cry here.”
That’s a drawcard, if ever we’ve heard one!
Tweed River House opened its doors last October, after the meticulously planned nine-month reno was complete, and swiftly won its first Chef Hat Award in the esteemed 2022 Australian Good Food Guide.
Executive Chef Joseph McGrattan has curated a locally sourced, sustainable, Provencal-inspired menu, which is changed up each season with carefully selected ingredients on an ever-evolving menu.
“He’s a regional chef, not a city chef,” Gregory says. “He has combined his gastronomic talents from his classical European training in Michelin restaurants with a love of fresh, local produce to create an outstanding, contemporary culinary experience.”
McGrattan worked with several Michelin star chefs and has travelled extensively to more than 50 countries. He honed his use of indigenous food as Head Chef at Raugi’s Restaurant at the remote Kooljaman Resort, on the Dampier Peninsula.
For your taste buds, the upcoming Spring menu is divine. Choose from wild-caught fish from Ballina (predominantly yellow or bluefin tuna), Bungalora pork belly pancetta or Nduja (a spicy, spreadable Hungarian salami whipped with confit garlic butter). Or you might like to try the Whiskey oak smoked free-range chicken or free-range poached quail egg. And for dessert, save space for a Tarte Brulee, Chocolate avec gum trees, vegan Frangipane or French sponge cake de citron (Genoise sponge is much lighter than Victorian or Italian sponges).
Inside the venue itself, The Dining Room is the ideal place to shelter from Winter days and nights as you settle in for a leisurely dining experience – done the Tweed River House way.
Or, for a super special occasion, consider The Chandelier Private Dining Room. Think fine linens, crystal ware and your own butler who will hand deliver a side of extra elegance underneath the 110-year pressed metal ceiling.
“We offer a prix fixe style menu, two courses $70, three-course $85, where guests choose their own selections from each course and also have our popular five-course Tasting $115, which people love for a leisurely lunch or dinner and for the ultimate, a nine-course Degustation $165,” Gregory says.
The extensive wine list consists of fine vintages sourced from both Australia and France, including some organic and lo-fi winemaking offerings.
“Our restaurant manager and sommelier is Aaron Wigg, a 20-year hospitality veteran who has worked in luxury lodges and restaurants in Scotland, New Zealand and Germany, as well as Beach in Byron and Pipit in Pottsville – all are award-winning restaurants,” Gregory says.
“The price point of wines and champagnes ranges from $11 to more than $150. There truly is something for everyone’s budget and taste.”
OPENING: Tweed River House is open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
CALL: 02 6672 5269
DIRECTIONS: Simply head inland for 30 minutes from Coolangatta to the beautiful Murwillumbah hinterland.
MENU: Includes delicious vegan and gluten-free choices, other dietary needs by special request only.
TWEED RIVER HOUSE – 131 River Street, South Murwillumbah
For more information, visit www.tweedriverhouse.com.au or find them on Instagram and Facebook.