Happy Easter all!
I trust you enjoyed the break as much as I did. Friday I jumped in the car and made an impromptu road trip to Victoria and one of my favourite destinations in Australia, (if not the world!) Main Ridge on The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
In ten hours we had sped through Gundagai and the beautiful Riverina region of NSW then down across the border at Albury… skirting around Melbourne and onto the natural beauty that is The Mornington Peninsula.
I am incredibly fortunate to stay in chic style with my dear friend Stephen Akehurst who designs the most fabulous houses on the Peninsula (if not Australia!)… think Hampton’s chic meets Italian lake villa. He is in demand and his houses are known among the Peninsula set as some of the most beautifully designed in the area. Stephen designs homes of great style… I can attest to this as I have been visiting and staying with him for years …. and now with freshly styled interiors by his partner Adrian Cannata, their own home is an utterly fabulous, private country retreat.
Just one hour from the centre of Melbourne proper the Mornington Peninsula is the perfect day trip or overnight / weekend destination where days are spent rolling around the Peninsula enjoying the tastes and flavours of this popular wine region… here is where I ate this time around and you should too!
MERRICKS GENERAL STORE
This original General Store is now the cellar door for Elgee Park, Baillieu & Quealy wines, and houses their Bistro where classic country fare in generous portions is served along with some of the best wines of the region. I had the fish of the day… after starting with the sweetest figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto. All washed down with the delicious Baillieu Pinot Noir. A true highlight.
Merricks General Store, 3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Merricks VIC 3916
The bistro here at the Yabby Lake cellar door is causing tongues to wag in the area also. Situated in Tuerong, it has a magnificent hillside location to enjoy a fab lunch… teamed of course with a crisp glass of their award-winning Chardonnay. Filled with a smart-looking “in the know” crowd – this place is well worth a visit. I had the Vietnamese Chicken salad with a glass of the Yabby Lake Pinot Gris.
Yabby Lake Vineyard Cellar Door, 86 -112 Tuerong Road, Tuerong. Off Old Moorooduc Road
Do also check out Red Hill Epicurean in Red Hill, it’s the new local gourmet icon where you can taste cheeses, wines, coffee… and have lunch in The Shed, a huge stylish open planned space with its original industrial feel stylishly reinvented. The extensive and well thought out Italian menu easily satisfies and the buzzing scene keeps the head whirling. Also the cheese room is one of the best I have seen. Take home some delicious local olive oil which is available too.
Red Hill Epicurean, 165 Shoreham, Red Hill South
And now for my most fabulous find… the country kitchen Johnny Ripe in Red Hill. Here, Sydney-siders Michelle and Adam have restored an old barn into a beautiful farmhouse kitchen on their stunning three acre-property. They grow apples on the property and cook the most delicious cakes and pies Friday – Sunday. This is real paddock to plate stuff that country dreams are made of using high quality ingredients mostly grown on site (yes even their chooks’ eggs go into the cakes!). The menu changes on a seasonal basis, depending on what is growing in the orchard or vegetable patch (they also grow their own figs, tomato’s and rhubarb among other things). DON’T MISS THIS ONE!
Johnny Ripe, 100 Barkers Road, Main Ridge, Victoria. 3937