New restaurant adds to dining scene

PICTURE the scene - a mighty river covered in craft competing fiercely.

Crowds on the bank cheering wildly.

Perched on the bank above, a classy eatery doing a roaring trade providing delicious, fresh food as well as a wonderful vantage point to take in the action.

By the time the 77th Jacaranda Festival is in full swing, the newest addition to Grafton's waterfront precinct, No. 1 Duke Street, will be part of that scene.

Grafton businesswoman Liza Bloomer will open No.1 Duke Street, October 29, just in time for the weekend's Dragon Boat racing that will be part of the festival activities.

The restaurant has been in planning for nearly three years and under construction for the past seven months.

It is linked to the the historic former police inspectors' residence, which has been carefully restored and provides extra dining space and capabilities for the establishment.

Head chef Donna Lee, is confident the restaurant will find an enthusiastic following among Clarence Valley diners.

While the sweeping river views are the star of No. 1 Duke Street, Ms Lee's food will be a close second.

"I'm influenced by a strong Mediterranean European culture of cooking, eating, drinking and coming together as friends," she says of her culinary background, which began in Victoria's Millewa region and most recently saw her in the role of head chef at the acclaimed restaurant Saltwater at Emerald Beach.

With a focus on local produce, Lee's seasonal menus will draw inspiration from the cuisines of Italy, Greece, Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco.

Features will include a range of gourmet pizzas from the custom-built pizza oven, and Lee's bread which already has a local following thanks to Lee's former Planet Delicious stall at the farmers' market.

As well as opening for lunch and dinner, No. 1 Duke Street boasts a number of other spaces for locals to get cosy.

"One of my favourite spaces is the reading room in the old cottage, which has already been booked by two local book clubs," Ms Bloomer said.

"We want to provide a quiet retreat for people to browse our library and enjoy a coffee."

No. 1 Duke Street is also available for business meetings and functions ranging from weddings to Christmas parties.

The No. 1 Duke Street team is still seeking an experienced cook/chef and a 1st or 2nd year apprentice with a passion for food.

Applicants should phone 0429(799(950.

For updates, search for "Number One Duke Street" on Facebook or visit

Booking inquiries can be addressed to

- additional reporting Felicity Watson.

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