After cancelling an interstate trip at the last minute, J and I suddenly found ourselves with a free weekend in the middle of the silly season. Yay! We decided to make the most of it and take a drive out to the Yarra Valley and have lunch at Oakridge Estate.
Oakridge would have to be one of our favourite wineries in the Yarra Valley. They do a couple of different labels, with the 864 being the premium stuff.
Due to traffic we were a bit late but the staff weren’t worried, all the other tables had also booked for the same time, so not having to seat and organise one table until a bit later worked for them!
We were encouraged to do a tasting at the cellar door first and we happily obliged.
Unfortunately, the 864 range is no longer on tasting as it has sold out, however we were lucky enough to be offered a sample of the 864 chardonnay that was scheduled to be bottled the next day, ready for release in August 2012. It was so smooth, and while it definitely needs some bottle time, it is going to be an exceptional wine. The winemaker and those who have tasted it think it will be the best year yet.
After the tasting we moved to the restaurant, which due to having two walls that are floor to ceiling glass, is a lovely light filled space. We started off down one side but were moved to a better table at the back (front?) overlooking the vines.
Original view from my seat.
We got moved to where the couple on the right are sitting.
Rest of restaurant:
There is also an outside area with couches and bar style seating, and this filled up during our visit and the restaurant was packed. There is also four or so tables in the cellar door area and these too were busy.
The restaurant offers two course for $50 or three courses for $60. Specials are listed on a board.
I started with the Yarra Valley venison carpaccio, bloody mary sorbet, cucumber jelly, cornichons
I didn’t find much flavour in this dish, except for the sorbet, and was a little disappointed.
J had the King George whiting fillet, fennel and citrus Summer slaw, which he loved.
While the 864 range is not available for sale at the cellar door, they have reserved bottles for restaurant patrons. We asked for a recommendation and ended up with a bottle of the 2006 chardonnay. Superb.
For main course I had the Murray Valley pork fillet, smoked eggplant puree, sweet pea croquettes, verjuice and apple reduction.
This dish completely made up for the entrée, being one of the best pork dishes I have ever had. I thought it was quite different from other pork dishes I have tried and everything worked beautifully together. I even used the complimentary bread to finish off the puree, it was too good to waste. J commented that I was eating sweet peas, and I replied that they are deep fried in croquettes, and I have a slight addiction to croquettes, even if they do have peas in them!
J had the duck dish. This has been replaced on the menu a by a turkey dish so I don’t have the full description, but it was duck with a turnip and carrot gratin, broccoli and a beetroot salad.
He too, totally loved his main course, saying the duck was perfectly cooked.
There was never any doubt on what I was going to have for dessert, it had to be the Kennedy & Wilson chocolate tasting plate. On the specials board it listed what was included; a chocolate brownie, white chocolate panna cotta and an olive oil mousse. Bring it on!
Awesome! The brownie was warm and had the slightly chewie texture a brownie should have. The texture of the mousse was quite rough, I presume this is how it is supposed to be, the flavour was quite rich but very good! And while I am not a panna cotta or white chocolate fan (I don’t consider white chocolate to be real chocolate), this wasn’t too bad, but was my least favourite item of the tasting plate.
J had the cheese platter with the Chef’s daily selection of three cheeses, house made oatcakes, lavosh, Glenburn Grove ‘Smyrna’ quince jelly.
We had coffee and hot chocolates to finish.
A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.