263 Red Hill Rd, Red Hill South, Mornington Peninsula - ph: (03) 5989 4444
I've been to this winery a couple of times before and think the building and views are absolutely astonishing.
Port Philip Estate make good Pinot Noir and their Chardonnay is not bad. But the big attraction is really the scenery.
The venue has a cellar door, bistro and fine dining room. Today, we visited the dining room for lunch.
Lunch on weekends is normally a set menu of three courses for $75. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with some freshly baked sour dough bread, olive oil and olive tepanade - all sourced and made locally.
Sour dough bread with olive tepanade
White fish carpaccio with fried capers
Unfortunately I took a crappy picture that does not do this dish justice. The carpaccio was deliciously light with a hint of lemon. Fried capers had a lovely crispy texture and surprisingly didn't lose any of their flavour.
Crab and white asparagus on rye toast with salmon roe
Very fresh, subtle dish. I really enjoyed this one.
Blue eye with broad beans and butter mussels
Again, a light and fresh dish with nice subtle flavours.
Duck breast with lentils and hazelnuts
Although the duck breast looked a bit too well done for my taste, it was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth. The flavours were very well balanced, neither overpowering the duck, nor disappearing under it.
Rib eye stake with sautee potatoes
The rib eye fillet looked and smelled amazing. I tried some of the meat and it was cooked to perfection. The sauce was delicious; too bad there was not more of it on the dish!
Overall, all our entrees and mains hit the spot. I specially like the balance of flavours in each dish. Seasoning was definitely the chef's biggest strength for me.
After such good savoury food, I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the desserts.
The parfait was underwhelming and tasted more like frozen double cream. Not really exciting...
Apple doughnut, apple sorbet, calvados custard
The apple doughnut & sorbet were also pretty bland, just like the custard. I could hardly taste any apple on the doughnut; the sorbet was tasty, but not enough to save the dish for me. Again, nothing wrong, but nothing really exciting either...
The cheese platter was the highlight of the desserts course. First of all, it was a very generous serve (the picture shows a cheese platter for one person!). The double brie and blue cheese were deliciously creamy. Biscuits and brioche were very fresh and tasty. We all ended up leaving half of our desserts behind and just sharing the platter.
I recommend making a booking on the weekend, specially during summer. The restaurant was at capacity when we arrived at 2pm and gradually got emptier after 3pm. Service was pretty slow and inattentive at the beginning, but did get much better during the course of our meal - as they got less busy.
The restaurant hasn't been opened for that long; I think less than a year. I got the impression they are still learning their way around a bit, but overall really enjoyed the experience.
Despite the hiccups, I thought Port Phillip Estate was a great place for a long, relaxed weekend lunch with family and friends.