The Table Guesthouse - Australian Gourmet Pages Review
By Franz Scheurer
The first thing that greets you when you get to The Table Guesthouse is a lovely garden surrounding a Tuscan-style two-storey house. Olive trees create a natural barrier towards the road and create a wonderful little oasis of Mediterranean Europe within.
Malcolm Martin went to extraordinary lengths to get the details right. The theme is ‘Tuscan / Provencale’. Wonderful wrought-iron, bakelite power fittings on old-fashioned dark wooden boards, little alcoves with statues, books and magazines carefully scattered about, wonderful, solid, antique or custom-made furniture throughout the building and a superb collection of paintings. The breakfast room is full of small prints by an English impressionist called Bernard Dunstan. Everything just fits perfectly and creates harmony rarely found.
The few guest rooms (3 in the main house and another 2 in
the adjoining building) are just as harmoniously furnished and have easily the
most comfortable beds I have had the pleasure of sleeping in outside my own
Not only has Malcolm managed to realise his Tuscan vision, he’s also a terrific cook and a great host. His motto (from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin): ‘To invite someone to be our guest is to undertake responsibility for their happiness all the time that they are under our roof’. He succeeds!
It doesn’t matter how late you stay solving the world’s
problems around the huge old communal dining table, or how early you wake up in
the morning, Malcolm is there. His food is packed full of flavour, rustic and
gorgeous. A country-style duck liver pate served with his own caraway flavoured
rye toast is strong, full of dark, gamey flavours and a terrific, gritty
texture. You could say that the beetroot soup served with a swirl of crème
fraiche is his signature dish and it’s fabulous. Fruit-driven but not too
sweet, light but not thin, it is the perfect soup, giving you all the comfort
without filling you up. Martin tries to cook with whatever is fresh and
seasonal. As a main course you might get a Paella (a bloody beauty!) or a
twice-cooked crispy skin duck, the fact that the menu changes keeps the
surprise alive. Breakfasts are an indulgence. Make sure you are not in a hurry
and take your time to savour everything he dishes up. It is certainly worth it.
On a sunny day you might chose to eat it in the garden, adding an extra touch
of tranquillity and peace.
It is no accident that travellers from all over the world come here to relax. This is my favourite place to stay in the Hunter Region. It’s almost like a home away from home. Value for money is excellent, too. Next time you deserve a real break, spend a long weekend at The Table Guesthouse, you won’t regret it.
For more information or bookings:
The Table Guesthouse
3 Walter Street
Greta (via Pokolbin)
Tel.: 02 4938 7799