Writer, cook, cat-lover, food-lover, bourbon-lover, wine drinker.

  • Reviews

    FLOTILLA: Casual Dining at its Finest

    Chef Shayne Mansfield and his team, Flotilla NSW
    Chef Shayne Mansfield and his team, Flotilla NSW

    Nestled in the backstreets of Wickham, a quiet suburb of Newcastle on the New South Wales lower-north coast, Flotilla is a restaurant with all the culinary excitement – but none of the pretension – of similar quality venues in Sydney. Lead by Head Chef Shayne Mansfield (formerly of The Long Apron and Restaurant Botanica) and Restaurant Manager Eduardo Molina, Flotilla offers a seasonal menu driven by the freshest local produce, and supported by an impressive wine list from around the globe.

  • Articles

    Carillion Wines – Sounding the Bell for Mount View

    Carillion Wines in the Hunter Valley
    The view from Carillion Wines

    Ask most people about the New South Wales Hunter Valley, and they’ll think of the central tourist district of Pokolbin. But travel just 15 minutes south via Oakey Creek Rd, and you’ll find Mount View.

    The short trip is well worth it, because Mount View is one of the most gorgeous parts of the Hunter Valley Region. It has breathtaking views and some really distinctive wineries producing exceptional wines.

    Carillion Wines, at the Tallavera Grove Vineyard on Mount View Road, is one such place. The Cellar Door and attached Bistro Molines just ooze French Provincial charm and the view across the vineyards is breathtaking. But…you really should visit for more than just the vista, because the wines are something special too.

  • Recipes

    Gnocchi di Zucca Con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi

    Gnocchi di Zucca Con Ragù di Agnello e Funghi - Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù with Carillion Sagrantino red wine
    Pumpkin Gnocchi with Slow-Braised Lamb & Mushroom Ragù

    Most of the time, I’m not the one at The Grape & Grain to choose the wine. I do the cooking, and generally leave the wine pairing to my wife. She’s so much better at it than I am.

    Occasionally, she’ll throw me a curve-ball and message me with a wine selection before I’ve had a chance to come up with the menu. “Here,” she says. “I’d like you to cook something to go with this!”

    That’s always much harder for me: working backwards from Wine to Food. It’s not a process I enjoy and would rather just cook the food.

  • News

    Coming Soon!

    The Grape & Grain has been built to showcase & promote Australian food, wine, spirits and fresh local produce by presenting an assortment of news, reviews, recipes, articles and interviews with winemakers, chefs, distillers, providores and farmers.

    Beginning with my home regions of the New South Wales Central Coast and the Hunter Valley, and expanding across Australia, each week I’ll be presenting the very best Australian food, wine and spirits have to offer.

    Come back in early March for the full reveal. But, in the meantime, please CONTACT US if you’d like more information or like to be featured on our pages.