Tucked away down a cobblestone lane you’ll find a delightful coffee house and wine bar.
Alby and Esther’s is the kind of place that seems to have its own gravity. Just try walking past that alluring laneway that leads to a cobblestone courtyard where vines creep up exposed brick walls and fluffy blankets are draped over sweetly mismatched chairs. Native flowers cascade from vintage jugs on tables and windowsills and the smell of locally roasted Yarrabin Rd coffee wafts through an open window where a happy young barista spins her magic.
We were in Mudgee for a few days and felt we really should try a range of cafes, but somehow, even without discussion, we’d end up back in that lovely courtyard ordering double lattes and freshly baked muffins.
It’s the Alby and Esther’s effect, and it’s best not to fight it.
But you’re not just here for coffee and Melbourne-esque dining quarters, of course, and on that front you’re in luck. The menu at Alby and Esther’s changes with the seasons but a few constants remain: a love of fresh local produce arranged in vibrant, healthy ensembles that your eyes will devour well before your mouth gets a look in.
We ordered locally grown Mudgee mushies, which arrived with a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ looking seriously yummy on a bed of rocket with quenelles of goats’ cheese, a smattering of juicy pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of dukkah.
The house-made beans with slow cooked pork was slightly less photogenic, but trumped the mushies in terms of taste; pure comfort food and recommended for anyone who indulged in too much Mudgee wine the evening previous. Which wasn’t us, of course…
After dark, the mottled shade courtyard becomes a twinkly, fairy light wonderland and the menu is a tapas situation with simple, elegant share plates designed for consumption over a bottle of local wine.
We hope you arrived on foot or in a taxi, because one glass of Mudgee wine is never enough. And if you overindulge worry not, just follow our advice and order the beans when the Alby and Esther effect inevitably pulls you back in tomorrow morning.