Friday Lunch - TarraWarra Estate Winery
TarraWarra Estate is about an hour outside of Melbourne, in the Yarra Valley, in very pretty, classically rural countryside. The main building is on a hillside, and at first the ultra-modernity of the building seems incongruous, especially above the pond-weeping willow combination just below it on the hill. But when you actually get into the complex, it's easier to see how the building has been designed for outlook, to showcase the view of the landscape, rather than to present a visual image on the hill. Not that the building itself isn't striking, but it seemed to me that it was designed more for the people inside it.
We arrived at around 11.30am - slightly too early for lunch - so we had a wine-tasting first, with a very helpful and friendly sommelier. Of course, none of us could agree on which wine we liked the best, so it was probably for the best that we were able to order flights and wine by the glass when we had lunch. (A flight is three glasses, of about 50mLs of wine each. This lets you have a taste of various wines, matched to your three course meal, without overdoing it.) (Honestly, though, we had a flight each and then another glass, so I think we might have been missing the point...)
TarraWarra Estate also includes a privately funded art gallery, which we visited after our meal. It was showing an exhibition called Sonic Spheres, which had key themes of music and sound, and featured contemporary artists including Eugene Carchesio, Ross Manning, Marco Fusinato, John Nixon, Sandra Selig and more.
The restaurant also has a wine list with about forty pages, which comes in a binder. The Press Club offers wine from across the world - Greek, French, Italian, Australian... Our poor sommelier had to put up with a lot, however, as my father is fairly picky and wanted to discuss the dinner bottle in depth. He also had to try not to look horrified when I wanted red wine first, regardless of whether or not it matched my food (we'd had a lot of white wine at lunch, and the last thing I wanted was yet another glass!), so I'm pretty sure I got written off as a total heathen right around then. But after the meal he provided us with a complimentary shot of Skinos Mastiha liquer, which has quite an amazing taste and was a delicious finish to the meal, so perhaps he didn't dislike us too much.
Saturday Lunch - Gypsey and Musquito
This is a small cafe down on Bridge Road in Richmond, and was an excellent place for lunch. It has mismatched, rustic furniture, a slight bush/outback theme to the menu, great-looking muffins and cakes on retro cake stands, and again, super-strong coffee. The food was delicious - I had something called a box, which was essentially a square-shaped pie without a lid. There was a steak and potato version, but mine was organic chicken and corn, and it was absolutely delicious. It came with broccoli, avocado and green bean salad. The clientele ranged from people picking up coffees, to hipster kids with piercings, to an old lady reading a book at the table next to us. I was a little jealous of her, as it would have been a great place to sit and drink coffee and read something for a while.
Saturday Dinner - Cutler & Co. Dining Room
And the food, honestly, is amazing. I had an entree of peas, broad beans, sunflower seeds, onion and
From the helpful yet unobtrusive service to the delicious food, the whole meal with Cutler & Co was
absolutely worth it, and made it clear the place deserves every accolade it receives. (Incidentally, it's owned by the same folks that run Cumulus.)
Sunday Lunch - The Hellenic Republic
So, our weekend of meals was finally over. And you know, while I really enjoy having the occasional gastronomically-fabulous meal, it's not something I prefer to do on the regular, and for me, this many huge eats in one weekend was a bit of a stretch. Which is not a complaint! More a lament that we can't all live in Melbourne, so as to go to these amazing restaurants with a bit more space between visits. I suppose some of us just have to eat too much, then spend the plane ride back to Brisvegas digesting. Which I did. I did not require dinner on the plane at all. Or breakfast on Monday, come to that...