A stunning restaurant on the grounds of historic Goonoo Goonoo Station, south of Tamworth, NSW, is winning awards for both its food and architecture.

Story + Photos Mark Muller

Simon Haggarty looks calm and happy as the late-lunch crowd at his Glasshouse restaurant push back their chairs and bask in the sunlight streaming through the vast windows that give the place its name. Bellies full and glasses nearing empty, there’s a burble of conversation and laughter; children swing their legs or play outside, adults stretch out and relax. Sweeping timber ceilings and comfortable Scandinavian-influenced furniture combine with the rolling view over the gentle hills towards Tamworth to create an airy, stylish and welcoming vibe. The barista called in crook for the shift, so Simon has been busily driving the coffee machine for the past couple of hours. 

“There’s been really good support from the local community,” Simon says. “It’s really been worth the effort. We wanted to do something that was accessible but offering high-quality food and service.” 

Head chef Damion Moyses and his team are finishing up service and getting things in order for dinner. Damion is a Tamworth local who previously worked at the award-winning Willow Tree at nearby Caroona. The other chefs are Damion’s wife Dayna, Taylor Herden and Harry Singh. They have up to seven staff working the floor, and a local pool of 20 waitstaff to call on. 

“We’re just trying to keep it fairly simple – just nice food,” Damion says. “Food with a home-style feel and really fresh produce.” 

The menu is extensive, refined and well-priced. Straight-forward bacon and eggs with sourdough will set you back $15 at breakfast, while a full ‘Goonoo Goonoo Breakfast’, which runs to scotch fillet, bacon, bratwurst, confit cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, poached eggs and sourdough comes in at $25. For something more exotic, there’s Serrano wrapped asparagus with poached egg, fried Turkish bread, chia seeds and lemon. In the lunch and dinner options, entrees such as Milly Hill shortribs with sticky Asian glaze, prawn cocktail with avocado, king prawns and flying fish roe, or zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, mint and honey are on offer, and range in price from $16 to $26. Come the mains, and you’re looking at eating things like New England lamb cutlets with grilled baby beets, red wine jus and parsnip mash, or miso-glazed rainbow trout with soba noodles, wakame and wasabi sesame, or eye fillet with kale, sweet potato rosti and wholegrain mustard. If you’re with a hungry group, shared platters like the 800-gram T-bone Florentine with chimichurri and red wine butter, or a 750g chateaubriand are on offer. Mains start at $28 and go up to $79 for the chateaubriand. There’s a good range of side dishes, excellent deserts and a straight-forward kid’s menu. If you’re into wine, then the cellar will leave you glowing – a wide selection of local and international vintages that do credit to the beautiful food. 

“Our food philosophy is very much regionally focussed, where possible,” Damion says. “Just about everything on the menu is locally sourced. An integral part of that is that we make everything from fresh produce where possible. Added to that, it’s a great kitchen to work in – everything’s in the right place, there’s a lot of space and it flows well. I think a lot of people are impressed.” 

The Glasshouse is open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday, lunch Friday to Sunday, and breakfast on the weekend. It sits between 80 and 85 at full capacity, and in an average week the crew are feeding about 600 guests.

This story excerpt is from Issue #118

Outback Magazine: April/May 2018