Located in the heart of Mudgee, a town in the Central West of New South Wales, Alby & Esther's is a (literal) hidden gem - you have to walk up the brick alley along Market Street in order to reach the place! Open 6 days a week (sometimes 7) as a coffee house by day and wine bar by night, this versatile eatery is a must-visit for locals and travellers alike. With great food and friendly service cemented by a relaxing ambience, Alby & Esther's is sure to exceed your expectations in more areas than one.
What seating options are available at Alby & Esther's?
There is ample seating including both indoor and outdoor options - dogs are more than welcome to sit outdoors with their owners. The outdoor seating is in a courtyard-esque area, complete with leafy trees that serve as a canopy over diners' heads. The furniture out here is basic and simple, but they go together nicely and matches the relaxing ambience of the place. There is also additional outdoor seating in an almost hidden laneway towards the back of the cafe, a perfect choice for more intimate meals.
For those who prefer sitting indoors, there are again plenty of seating options. One option is to sit inside the actual cafe, where the counter and kitchen area - there is a comfortable suede couch that circles the perimeter of this space, alongside rustic wooden tables. Complementing these are bright and vibrant paintings that line the walls of the cafe - it makes for a positive place for one to sit down and have a meal in. Another indoor seating option is a separate area that combines an art gallery with more seating. With larger tables, this would be a good choice for bigger groups. It's also a great choice if you appreciate good art.
Is the artwork displayed in Alby and Esther's for sale?
Yes, they sure are! All the artwork displayed inside the cafe and the gallery are available for purchase. For more detailed information on pricing, please contact Alby and Esther's, or pop in for a visit next time you are in the area. Alby and Esther's display a different artist's work every 3 months, so there will always be something new to look at.
What food is available at Alby and Esther's, and how is it?
There is a wide range of options available at Alby and Esther's, with reasonable prices ranging from $10 to $18 (without adding extra sides). There are also specials available each day, so check their blackboard in the cafe to see what's on! In addition to cooking food fresh to order, Alby and Esther's endeavour to use local produce to support their local producers whenever we can - "every dish has a local accent". The majority of their food sources are from within Mudgee, including High Valley Wine & Cheese, Mudgee Bakery & Cafe, and S S Meats - just to name a few! Their menus change with the seasons - similar to their art pieces, you'll always have something new to look forward to.
Food menu at Alby and Esther's - from when I visited.
Unfortunately, I arrived in Mudgee after their kitchen had already closed, but one of the friendly staff said they still had jaffles with locally smoked ham, farmer brown egg and swiss cheese with relish available for $10 - I was starving so I said I would take one. It was unbelievably good; so good in fact, that I returned the next morning for another, before leaving Mudgee. I had a chance to look at the menu on my second visit, and saw that the jaffle was listed as 'Our Famous Jaffle', which has - with a jaffle this good, it's no wonder they're famous!
The photo doesn't do the taste of their jaffle justice.
Alby and Esther's have an extensive drinks menu - more specifically, there are 2 whole pages of options to choose from! Their range includes coffee (predominantly Brazillian with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Columbian and Sumatran - a sweet, smooth, and textural palate), loose leaf teas by Teacraft, local cruit cordials, soft drinks, juices, and milkshakes.
If you're a coffee lover (or caffeine dependent), it's also worth noting that Alby and Esther's have a rewards system - buy 9 drinks and get your 10th free! With many locals popping in for a takeaway coffee every day that they are open, Alby and Esther's get through a whole heap of coffee beans each week. To do their bit for the environment, Alby and Esther's recycle their coffee grounds, so feel free to bring in a plastic bucket and collect it filled with coffee grounds! They can be placed straight in your garden, used to feed worms and repel snails, or added to your compost for a nitrogen rich boost.
Loyalty card - buy 9 drinks and get the 10th free.
Did you mention that Alby And Esther's are also a wine bar by night?
I sure did! On Fridays and Saturdays, Alby and Esther's extend their opening hours and are open till 10pm, bringing you a range of alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages from wines to cocktails, and beers to ciders. For a full menu, see their website. Mudgee is a major wine producing region - you can't visit Mudgee without sampling some of their fine wine, and what better place to do this than at Alby and Esther's?
In terms of logistics, day bookings are taken for groups over the size of 6, and bookings are recommended for the evenings as it can get quite busy. In terms of my experience, Eddy and I had the most wonderful time - despite visiting alone on both occasions as we were doing a solo road trip at the time, we always had people, both staff and other patrons, come up for pats and chats which we very much enjoyed! The food and drink was amazing, and service was fast and friendly - I couldn't have asked for more.
Eddy pictured with Leigh, owner of Alby & Esther's.
"To eat well is to live well; to drink well even better. Some wise person's words. Our philosophy at Alby & Esther's is simple; make everything uncomplicated but delicious. If this sounds like your style of dining, we are the place to be." - Alby and Esther's
We look forward to visiting Alby and Esther's again the next time we are in the area!