Even before the meal was finished, we were planning a return visit to Amanda Hinds’ Emeraude, a micro-region eatery in the Hampton High Country Hamlets. Sadly, Emeraude has closed at Hampton but you can now enjoy their wonderful food at Myrtille Bistro and My Little Blueberry

What made Emeraude so popular?

Just 20 minutes drive from Toowoomba or an hour and a half from Brisbane, Emeraude is a produce-focused restaurant that draws from the rich produce grown in the rich Hampton region around the restaurant. Formerly from Bundaberg, Larry and Amanda Hinds built up their café Indulge into a much-loved local icon and won Queensland’s favourite café award. Amanda Hinds will say there were no secrets behind their Bundaberg success, just a lot of hard work, but her love of food is the secret weapon here and a dedication to excellence that showed in every mouthful on the plate in Bundaberg and again in Hampton.

At Emeraude, the same dedication shines through with Amanda’s passion for making local farmers and producers the food rock stars they deserve, at the forefront of the menu descriptions at this micro-region eatery.

Amanda Hinds in the Emeraude courtyard. Photo Kerry Heaney

What is a micro region eatery?

Changing weekly, Emeraude’s menu reflects what is available seasonally in the Hampton micro-region, a small section of the much larger rural area.  It’s a fertile field with some of Australia’s best producers pumping out lovely produce, but there are also local niche gems that have been drawn into the dishes.

Some of the produce includes Half Moon Farm vegetables, Halo Farm Rhubarb, Bunnyconnellen queen olives, fat 9Dorf Farm chickens, crisp Suttons Farm apples from the Granite Belt and beautiful Hampton Blueberries.

The Emeraude interior is cosy in winter. Photo: Kerry Heaney

What’s on the menu at Emeraude?

The worst thing about this menu is that it is too darn tempting making it so hard to narrow down the choices.

We started with a tasting plate featuring a rillette made from heritage breed Emperor Berkshire pork and Black Namoi chicken, along with muscat poached figs from the gardens at nearby Cloudlake.

Emeraude tasting plate. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Slow-cooked snails in a creamy bay infused sauce on thick soldiers of soft brioche.  Photo: Kerry Heaney

Roast chicken, leek and vegetable soup. Photo: Kerry Heaney

Toulouse pork sausage pizza with potato, mushroom, rosemary, fontina, mozzarella and parmesan with a good helping of truffle. Photo: Kerry Heaney

High Country Hamlets

Often bathed in clouds or mist, High Country Hamlets is Queensland’s first micro-region.  It sits 650 metres above the coastal plain of South East Queensland and has a climate that revolves around the four seasons.

Expect to find a wide variety of accommodation from traditional bed and breakfast style rooms to luxury studios or whole house rentals with roaring fires in winter and cool, high country breezes in summer.

You can eat at country pubs, try the local wine, indulge with handmade chocolates, or pick up some freshly baked bread. There are horse riding and bicycle trails too.

The butchers here are well worth a visit for their country-produced meats, and you can’t leave without trying a traditional Crows Nest soft drink. 

Pick up a copy of the highcountryhamlets.com.au brochure for a full list of places to stay, things to do and where to visit plus tips on where to find local produce.


Where is Emeraude?

You’ll find this Emeraude at 8616 New England Hwy, Hampton.  If you follow the very scenic Brisbane Valley Highway through Fernvale and Esk, turning on to the Esk-Hampton Road, you’ll enjoy pretty country scenery along the way.

Make sure you wind down the windows and draw in that crisp country air as you drive past Deongwar State Forest.

Stop at the Fernvale Pie Shop on the way home and stock up on their delicious pies.

If you are driving from Toowoomba, just follow the New England Highway.

The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 7 am.

When am I next eating at Emeraude?  I’m looking forward to trying one of Emeraude’s legendary breakfasts and then working off the feast with a national park walk.  Sounds like a plan to me!

If you like dining here also try 

Emporium Hotel’s Signature Restaurant at South Bank, Brisbane.