Sunday, January 23, 2011

Barmah Park Winery and Cafe - Mornington

Leaving Frankston and heading toward Mornington on the Moorooduc Highway you must call into the Barmah Park Winery and Cafe. The "cafe" is a lot more than that. It is a restaurant and though it may not reach the dizzy heights of fine dining it is a very pleasant place to chill, fill and enjoy the surroundings.

All wines are harvested from the gorgeous green vines which lay row after row before you. Back Paddock Cabs. and other locally grown classics are the wine maker’s (who also waits your table) personal tipples. Try the whites and the reds, if you favour one over the other you are doing your pallet a disservice.

If you like the wines the food will leave you breathless. My wife and I enjoyed an excellent two course lunch (entre' and main), my wife the calamari and I the fish. A white for me but only red for my wife. A bit of a surprise was octopus with the calamari. This may not be exactly what some visitors may expect so talk to table staff if you order my wife's fav.

Table staff are courteous and service fine for a relaxed "cafe" like this one. Oh and remember you can eat out or dine in. The floor is a hard and made of noisy fake marble. Though acoustics panels have been added to the ceiling the indoor area can become noisy even when only part full. Choose a warm day and venture to the decked area and smell the serenity. Pleasant music was piped through the cafe on the day we visited.

Produce is for sale in the restaurant area. What you were drinking at the table is available for sale. For me it was a white and two Back Paddocks. There are other culinary souvenirs so take some time to look around.

This is a good spot to stop for sampling what is being grown on the Peninsula. Local wines by enthusiastic growers. Wine makers who put their harts into their product and know if combined with very good food and pleasant surroundings can mass a loyal following. Do book though. This fine winery and cafe is headed for greatness.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fishermen's Pier - Geelong

My wife and I were in Geelong on our way to see relations staying in Apollo Bay. We stayed at Nireenda Apartemnts in Geelong for the one night. Geelong has some excellent eating houses and Fishermen's Pier would have to be near top of the list.

A brief look at the link to the restaurant will give a realistic view of what you can expect. Fishermen's Pier offers the serious diner excellent food, good service and relaxing, nautical scenery. It is not cheap and neither is the whole experience. Not only do they "do" fine seafood but steak, duck and vegetarian meals are also available. Be warned that water served at the table may be $10/bottle Nordic water. Ask staff before they pour.

My suggestion is main then dessert. A side dish may not be required depending on how big an eater you are. If hungry after the main don't share your dessert.

The wine list is sufficient but not extensive. Bottle prices are about right for a restaurant of this caliber. Noise of other patrons enjoying the bay delights may get a little high if the restaurant is full. If you want an absolute quiet, intimate evening you may want to look else where. If you want to sample beautifully prepared food, artistically plated, enjoy well priced wines and water views, you have found one of the finest. Take your camera, everyone "shoots" their meal.