Disclosure: We dined courtesy of Barmah Park.
You may remember some of my previous posts about trips down to the Mornington Peninsula. These trips are always fun. Part of the fun is getting to spend day with friends. Part of it is getting to poke around op shops looking for food blogging props. Some of it comes from stopping somewhere midway and having a relaxed lunch. But mostly? The fun is in llama spotting.
(Truth time: the last part is probably only fun for me.)
(Truth time 2: they’re not even llamas. They’re alpacas.)
In early May, I went with the usual suspects, Shellie, Haz, and Thanh, on another op shop crawl to the Mornington Peninsula. This one was the best trip yet – now that we’ve done it several times, we know what to look for and how to plan the trip for maximum op shopping efficiency.
And here’s a pro tip for anyone interested – Frankston is the mother lode for op shops.
After hitting up several shops on the way down, we stopped at Barmah Park Winery for lunch.
Barmah Park is a small vineyard specialising in several different types of wine – Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, White Pinot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Along with the vineyard, there’s also a cafe that’s open for breakfast and lunch.
Wine tasting is available at the cafe (with a small fee of $2 that’s refunded with a wine purchase).
We ordered several things across the menu to share.
First up was the meze plate (serves two, or as an entree plate for four or more – $48). There was quite a bit of food on the plate: a salmon scone, gypsy ham, crispy sea salt calamari, chorizo sausage, baked tart, mediterranean vegetable salad, dip, grissini and toasts.
Most things on the plate were fairly good. I really enjoyed the pink scone with smoked salmon, which was a bit unusual but well executed, and also enjoyed the baked tart and the dollop of capscium dip which contained a smokey edge.
But there was one thing that didn’t work for us, and that was the calamari. It was strangely sweet. So sweet it like someone had accidentally swapped salt for sugar… except it was also very salty at the same time. My tastebuds were incredibly confused.
Moving on. The four of us can hardly ever resist pork belly whenever we see it, so we also tried the slow roasted pork belly served with seared scallops, a watercress, walnut and apple salad, and drizzled with a sticky caramel and star anise sauce ($27). Not bad, not bad at all.
Thanh always has to order mussels when he sees them, so mussels we had. These came in a tomato, coriander, chilli and lemon broth and were served with crusty bread ($19).
The dish of the day was this baked pumpkin and feta gnocchi served with tuscan napoli sauce, salsa verde and topped with shaved parmesan ($24). The large slices of soft gnocchi weren’t stodgy, and were in a flavoursome sauce.
When we put our order in, we didn’t realise that the calamari was also on the meze plate, so we ended up ordering it as an entree size. This calamari came with a Szechuan pepper and Asian style salad, with a caramlised orange soy dressing ($19).
Like the one on the meze plate, we had the same issue. It was too sweet, which was a shame because otherwise it would’ve been lovely. It was lightly fried and not chewy.
Oh yeah, and we also had a big bowl of wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli ($10).
We finished lunch with two desserts. The first was a fantastic sticky date pudding ($8.50) with a soft crumb and well balanced butterscotch sauce. This came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Our second dessert was an apple and berry strudel from the specials board. The apple and berry filling was contained in a nice flakey pastry and came served on top of custard.
Barmah Park’s cafe has a nice casual atmosphere, and while there were a couple of things could’ve used improvement, overall it was a nice meal. We left full and refreshed and ready for more llama spotting and op shop treasure hunting.
View Off the spork in a larger map
Barmah Park Vineyard Cafe
945 Moorooduc Highway
Moorooduc (look for the red tractor at the entrance)
Phone: 03 5978 8049