Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Locale at De Bortoli, Yarra Valley

Last weekend, my friends J and S came down to Melbourne for a visit.  They had originally been going to a concert which was cancelled, but as their flights and accommodation were non-cancellable, they came anyway.  They couldn't have picked a nicer weekend - the weather was warm and sunny, and you would never know that autumn is upon us.

On Sunday, I was invited to go for a jaunt with them to the Yarra Valley.  I hadn't been there for years, and it was perfect driving weather, so I was very happy to accept.  We arrived at our destination early for our lunch booking, so we filled in a happy hour or so at Maddens Rise Winery, where we were greeted by Archie, an enthusiastic Jack Russell, and a friendly wave from his owner, Emma.  Emma took us through a tasting of all of the Madden Rise biodynamic wines, and they were so unexpectedly good that I bought four bottles (despite not intending to buy any wine at all).  My favourite was the Pink Fizz - pink bubbles, what's not to love?  

We had such a good time that we ended up being half an hour late for our lunch booking at Locale, at the De Bortoli Winery.  However, we phoned in advance to say we'd be late, and we luckily had our table waiting for us on arrival.  

Locale is a light, bright, airy space, which provides a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy the fine dining menu. 

You may choose to either have two courses for $55 or three for $68.  Sensibly, we opted for three courses!

To start, we received a platter of sourdough bread with spicy olive oil to dip it in:

For entree, I chose something I have never had before and always wanted to try - a terrine.  This terrine was pheasant and confit duck terrine with pistachio, parsley, celeriac remoulade and crostini:

My favourite part of this was the flavoursome celeriac remoulade, although it was of course all very tasty.

For main course, I ordered the striploin with polenta, ox tongue, green beans, shallots and red wine jus:

The standout element of this dish was the red wine jus - Manu from My Kitchen Rules would love it!  The shallots cooked in the jus were also very tasty. The beef was meant to be medium rare, but arrived served medium - this was fine with me, as I am not that fussy about how my meat is cooked, as long as it hasn't been charred to a cinder or subdued into a compound akin to rubber.

For dessert, I couldn't go past the zeppole (Italian ricotta donuts, vanilla cannoli, pistachio and honey gelato):

The donuts were only tiny, and not quite what I expected, but delicious all the same.  The cannoli was suitably crispy and shattered in your mouth, and the creme patisserie filling was smooth and creamy.  The honey gelato added a shot of intense sweetness to the platter, and the pistachio crumb added some texture.  

Everyone enjoyed their menu choices, and we left full and happy.  The staff were efficient and courteous, and we promptly received each course and beverages.

Locale at De Bortoli was an enjoyable dining experience that I would gladly revisit.

Maddens Rise Wines
Cnr Maroondah Highway & Maddens Lane
Coldstream Vic 3770
Ph: +61 3 9739 1977
Locale Restaurant
Pinnacle Lane
Dixons Creek VIC 3775
Ph: +61 3 5965 2271 


~~louise~~ said...

Everything sounds exquisite, Cakelaw. Fine Wine, Good friends and a memorable meal. What else could a "girl" ask for:) Thank you so much for sharing...

Kari said...

I like the look of that dessert plate! And it sounds like you had a great time with your friends.