There’s something nice about getting out of Melbourne for a drive and lunch – even if it’s only down to the Mornington Peninsula or to the Yarra Valley.
When you go with friends it’s even better: you can sing along to cheesy songs (stop right now, thank you very much / the vengabus is coming / we are titaniuuuuuuuuum) and do some llama llama llama! spotting.
A wee while ago, Shellie organised a group of us on a trip to the Yarra Valley with lunch at Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company. Hargreaves Hill is a micro brewery, and the restaurant is in a very attractive former National Bank building.
We couldn’t go to a micro brewery restaurant and not sample some beer, right? They have a tasting paddle available for $8 with six of their beers. Available the day we visited were: Hefeweizen, Yarra Valley Pilsner, Pale Ale, AD, Extra Special Bitter and Stout.
Those who know my tastes (dark and malty, with a dislike for florally hops driven beers) won’t be surprised that I liked the Stout the most, wasn’t really into the Pale Ale, thought the Hefeweizen and Yarra Valley Pilsner were okay and – surprisingly – found the ESB (Extra Special Bitter) a bit strange. I thought I’d like it, but it was strange.
You can also buy some beer to take away if you feel inclined.
Since there was quite a large group, we were able to order most of the menu. Everyone likes chips, and the beer battered chips with garlic aioli ($8) were well received and lovely annd crunchy.
To fulfill our fried quota, we also tried the fish and chips – Trevally fillets in Pale Ale batter with chips ($25) and the ESB onion rings coated in batter containing Extra Special Bitter ($8). Both were good, nicely fried and not oily. Excellent with beer.
Moving off the deep fried stuff, I loved the potato and parmesan gnocchi with local mushrooms, goats cheese and walnuts ($28). The mushrooms really made this dish – great texture and flavour – and all the other ingredients worked really well with the gnocchi.
The pasta of the day ($27), which I think was a seafood linguine, was also excellent. The pasta was great.
And fnally we also had the roasted pork belly with fresh apple slaw ($25). Look at that lovely piece of pork topped with crackling.
The three desserts available were a good way to end lunch. The top was an orange cake, middle was sticky date pudding, and the last one was a chocolate stout cake.
The chocolate stout cake was quite salty (doing that whole sweet/salty dessert thing) – which I personally quite liked – but I know other people weren’t so sure about it, preferring the other two desserts.
I liked Hargreaves Hill and would definitely head back. Shellie must have a knack for choosing good regional places to eat because this was another winner winner.
Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company
25 Bell Street,
Phone: 03 9730 1905