“Local” has been a culinary buzzword since Rene Redzepi introduced the world to New Nordic cuisine at Noma. But while every restaurant might tout local as one of its core values, it’s lived to varying degrees.
Laura – Pt. Leo Estate’s 40-seat, fine diner – is at the extreme end of the scale. Chef Josep Espuga and his team source just about everything from the Mornington Peninsula for the restaurant’s set menu: an elevated ten-course experience that offers a culinary snapshot of the season's best ingredients from the local region and overseas.
The experience spans an unhurried three-and-a-half hours, and diners can expect table-side service elements and are encouraged to interact with the kitchen. Partaking in one of two optional wine pairings by head sommelier Amy Oliver is highly recommended – especially if you're staying close by.
Between courses, take some time to admire Laura, the seven-metre-high sculpture that the restaurant is named after. The dark, vaguely Buddhist-looking head by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa sits right outside the window, along with 39 other works from renowned local and international artists. Beyond, the gentle curve of Western Port Bay furthers the room’s tranquil, subtly beach-y feel.
It goes without saying that a restaurant of this calibre – located within a winery, no less – will have something interesting to say about wine. But even knowing those two things, Laura’s list is an impressive document. Want to drink the kind of trendy, low-intervention wines so many inner-city bars are peddling? Go for it – there’s Mac Forbes, Jamsheed and Dormilona. Or maybe you’re someone with great respect for the old guard – Best’s, Mount Mary, Leeuwin Estate and so on. Drink up.
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