336 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
The Yarra Valley is such a good destination for a weekend away from Melbourne. It takes a bit more than an hour's driving to be in the middle of this beautiful countryside surrounded by vines, placid cows grazing on the fields and many fruit orchids.
There are also some cute little towns in the region and plenty of good restaurants, cafe and of course cellar doors to choose from.
I have to say we were quite surprised by Innocent Bystander. The cellar door combines wine tasting, bistro (an expansive, bright and minimally decorated affair), wood-fired pizza, bakery, cheese room and provedore. As if this was not enough, Innocent Bystander also roasts their own coffee.
Provedore - cheeses, jams and compotes
Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander wines
The food at Innocent Bystander was amazing. The menu of simple dishes like pizzas, sandwiches, salads and soups was superbly executed with top quality ingredients and house made accompaniments like bread and olive oil.
It was a cold winter day when we visited, so I ordered the winter minestrone soup with risoni, berlotti beans, basil pesto and goats curd.
winter minestrone soup with risoni, berlotti beans, basil pesto & woodside goats curd ($18)
Soup served with fresh sourdough bread
Simply perfect. Perfect balance of tangy tomatoes, crunchy pesto, silky smooth beans, tart goats curd. Each spoonful was bursting with flavour. The soup was served with fresh slices of the most amazing sourdough bread and dark green olive oil.
Hubby chose the 4 cheese pizza.
Four cheese pizza ‐ fontina, tallegio, buffalo mozzarella & cravero parmesan & roast garlic ($23)
I wasn't too impressed with the slightly burnt edges when the pizza was brought to the table. But the base turned out to be perfectly cooked - crispy, tanned, and not burnt at all. The unusual four cheeses combination worked well. The tallegio and buffalo mozzarella melted into a gooey base and the parmesan gave a beautiful texture to the mix.
Lastly, we couldn't resist trying one of their sandwiches special.
Charles Arnaud gruyère de comté, pastoral double smoked leg ham & beurre d’isigny french butter on house baked parisian style baguette ($17)
Again, ridiculously good, flawless food. This was a very simple dish that highlighted each of the artisan made ingredients. The sandwich was served with hot mustard, which I spread freely on the bread.
Innocent Bystander impressed me on the quality of ingredients they used and range of house made ingredients. You can tell this place is run with real passion. Highly recommend a visit to this Yarra Valley gem!