cafe/restaurant · Food · Hunter Valley


Maternity Leave!!

Let’s hope this little nugget allows me some resting time and wants to stay and bake for a couple of weeks.

Located at Emma’s Cottage – be sure to stop by the Cellar Door before or after enjoying a meal.

My little personal goal of trying all things in the Hunter Region has been put on a very slow motion. It’s a bit hard to do any wine tastings while growing a human. It’s ten times harder trying to sit and enjoy a meal with a toddler who’s attention span changes within a few minutes.

However, I’m going to make an early call. I have one of my top 2 if not, my favourite place to eat in the Hunter, Zaih’s.


One of my main reasons why they are my current fave is their delicious and ethically sourced food. I love their approach to food and how they care where the animal comes from. Ok so why do I care whether or not food is ethically sourced?…The question is, why isn’t everyone? We’re already on top of the food chain as it is, we don’t need to be dicks about it. Didn’t you guys learn anything from The Lion King? Respect the Circle of Life.

…sorry…I sound a bit like an activist but it is food for thought….

Next is the consistently great service. Alana, manager and Front of House extraordinaire is always so pleasant and welcoming. Being a mum herself, she is VERY understanding when Juliet’s volume  control breaks and goes up a bit high or if she throws a piece of bread on the floor (which we pick up by the way).

Salmon Pastrami with cucumber and rye – I’m in love with this one.

ANYWAY…back to Zaih’s.

Once upon a time they were located at a different part of Lovedale. This was where I first fell in love with their breakfast, that house black pudding is amazing!

I was devastated when I thought they were closing forever when there was a sign saying that the cafe was for lease. At the time this sign was up, I had really bad morning sickness and couldn’t even go back one last time.

Shortly before Christmas, we were stocking up on coffee from the Hunter Valley Coffee Roasters (another must visit in the Hunter) and this pamphlet caught my eye. Zaih’s had opened up at Emma’s Cottage.


Confit Suckling Pig with sauerkraut

I was so excited! I had been bragging about Zaih’s to Matt since my first visit and I was so happy that I could take him there.

Mutton tomahawk – nom nom nom

Another confirmation that this place is good is Matt’s response.

Put it this way, whenever I ask Matt how his meal is, most of the time, his response is pretty bland and quite predictable. He raises both his eyebrows, squish his lips together and replies with,

“Yea it was good…”

Then he goes back to zoning out.

After his first meal at Zaih’s I didn’t even ask him how it was. He just patted his belly, wiped his mouth with his napkin and said,

“Yea I am MORE than happy to pay that price for quality. One of the best meals I’ve had out in a long time.”

and again, same response when we had breakfast there a few weeks ago. He said it was the best Eggs Benedict he has had.

Venison Tartare

Like I mentioned before, they ethically source their food and serve up ‘happy food’. For example, the open range eggs.

Aaahhh I love this, you need to check out the Papanui website and watch a quick video where the eggs come from. Basically the chickens are free to roam wherever they want, they live happy lives and roost in this mobile bus that goes where the cattle roams around the farm. They get moved around to graze so they can feed on fresh pasture. Ssssooo cute!

Scallop Ceviche

The menu is modern and seasonal. Recently they changed it. Matt made sure we went just before bubs number 2 comes out. My only problem is that I don’t have much room to eat. I was a bit sad that I had to stop halfway…..Matt on the other hand loves it, he gets to eat what I don’t have.

My next goal is to have room for dessert next time we visit.

Located on Wilderness Road in Lovedale – make sure you check their facebook page for opening hours.

See you soon Zaih’s!


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