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“Unorganized, but Beautiful”
Review of Roberts Circa 1876 - CLOSED

Roberts Circa 1876
Price range: $0 - $40
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Private Dining, Reservations
Description: Circa 1876 (Roberts) is one of the best loved restaurants in the Hunter Valley. It has its own huge produce garden where much of the ingredients for your meal are gathered from daily. You can even go on a garden tour with Executive Chef George Francisco. All ingredients are sourced locally and are organic. Circa 1876 is perfect for all occasions and children are welcome. Bookings advised.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

We were at Roberts for a wedding where the bride and groom chose to use the yard for their ceremony and the restaurant as their reception hall. While the resulting meal and the wait staff during the reception were excellent, the preparations leading up to the ceremony ended up being a bit more stressful than necessary. For one, some of the staff members were initially a bit rude. Two, the people in charge either failed to communicate or were constantly changing their minds. For example, the set-up time was not clear which made it difficult for the wedding party to set up all the details in the reception hall. For another, the wedding coordinator and staff changed so many times over the planning period that the bride ended up never meeting the latest coordinator and having to arrange everything via telephone just a few days prior. Then, despite the time they said they would arrive to help arrange, a lot of the staff members were late. The general feeling was that the staff and management were a bit unorganized, jaded, and inflexible.

Still, the restaurant itself was beautiful with that quaint country feel. It holds about eighty people comfortably, a hundred if you have to stretch it. The bathrooms are a bit older, but then people can rest in the library and other rooms. The food was excellent, especially the steak, and the service during the meal - superb. Most guests and the bride herself were not aware of any shortcomings on the day of. So, if the place speaks to you, go for it. Just consider being a bit flexible about the details because it'll make things easier.

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2  Thank Aryun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (372)
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256 - 260 of 372 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2013

The food is excellent. We had been told previously in the day by a local winemaker that it was not up to the same standard as the 'old Roberts' who has since moved to Tallavera winery. How wrong he was! From our experience, the food was absolutely up a notch from the old Roberts and we all agreed even slightly ahead of the new restaurant run by Robert and his wife that we had visited for lunch the day before! Some of the wait staff seemed a little inexperienced but still friendly and attentive. We had a wonderful fine dining experience! I bet that winemaker hasn't even eaten there yet!

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1  Thank pip b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holly S, Executive Chef at Roberts Circa 1876, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2013

Dear Pip,

Thank you so much for persevering and giving Roberts a try even after it had a frosty recommendation. One problem 23 year old iconic restaurants face is that so many people have dined here over the years and think that we are the same as we were the last time they visited. Thanks to your Trip Advisor review hopefully more people will take a fresh look at Roberts and what “we” are doing here today, and enjoy their experience as much as you did.

We look forward to delivering another memorable experience to you soon!

Regards

George

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

This was my second visit to Roberts and the first for my (very fussy) mother. I loved this place first time around but last night was simply outstanding. The restaurant itself is beautiful as you enter through a cottage built in the 1800's in very picturesque gardens into a large and lovely wood timbered dining room.

The menu has around 6 choices per course and I would honestly happily eat any of them. To start I had the stuffed zucchini flowers in tempura with a basil, pine nut and currant sauce. As my mother said 'you won't get tempura better than that'. Heaven on a plate. Boss lady had the spanner crab pasta with lemon and chilli flakes which was so light and delicious it practically floated out the bowl.

For the main course M & I shared the ribeye for 2. To hear my mum declare it the best steak she's ever eaten should give you a clue to just how good it was. Not only is she a fusspot but she's a vastly well travelled and fed one so garnering comments of this scale is no mean feat! As for me, it was probably the second best steak I'd ever had in my entire life - a life that has been so full of steak - I practically wept when I ate this. The waiter came over to see how things were, I made some weird probably very creepy orgasmic face, to which he just nodded sagely and said 'I know, I know'. The bearnaise, jus, shoestring fries and salad it came with were all perfect and just the right amounts for 2. Be warned it was one massive ribeye so go there ravenous if you're ordering this.

I'm not a massive dessert person but everything here was so good it would be an travesty to miss anything so I had the strawberry parfait with some delicious biscotti crumble and The Mother had a Napolean style creme brûlée with caramelised pineapple and a few other bits. Both were magnificent.

The service was knowledgeable, friendly yet professional and bottom line just great. I have no idea why this place is not in the SMH Good Food Guide - makes zero sense - but ignore the guidebook, listen to me and get yourselves to Roberts immediately.

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5  Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holly S, Executive Chef at Roberts Circa 1876, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2013

Dear Emily,

Out of the five dishes you mention, four are my signature dishes. It is so great to hear that they still hit the mark. If I was to design a perfect meal for someone it would include all of those dishes. I am very happy you enjoyed them and that they passed the scrutiny of (a very fussy) mother, the boss lady and someone who has had a “life full of steak”. Thank you for returning once already and I invite you to continue to try us in the future. In my opinion we are just starting to shine. The best is still to come!!

See you again soon

George

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

We were there for their Christmas dinner degustation menu.... $185 per person without wine.....and worth every penny.
This restaurant actually surpassed our dinner at the Gordon Ramsay in Versailles. Seven courses, each a delight, each beautifully presented and incredibly tasty. Lovely interior, very attentive service, totally non pretentious...just what one would expect in the Hunter Valley. The restaurant is in a historic trust building with a huge fireplace which threw out lovely heat on a rainy evening making the meal just a true event. Would go back in a heartbeat. This chef has to rank as one of the world's best...flawless execution.

1  Thank bonniemreeves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holly S, Executive Chef at Roberts Circa 1876, responded to this reviewResponded January 20, 2013

Dear BonniemReeves,

Your post is what makes our efforts, especially on Christmas Day, all the more worth while.

I have passed on this message the team at Robert's and they shared in my delight when hearing how much you enjoyed your exerience with us on Christmas Day.

Thank you so much from the entire team at Roberts, especially me, the chef!

We hope to see you again this Christmas!

Warm regards

George

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Reviewed December 3, 2012

great food, wonderful atmosphere, friendly staff. be prepared to pay higher than normal prices, but well worth it. Have visited many times.

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1  Thank Sandra B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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