One small square of Tarrawarra Estate’s 400 hectares – beyond the cellar door, restaurant and art gallery – is devoted to its vegetable garden. There are rows of potatoes, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Tuscan kale and more.
It’s all put to good use by head chef Joel Alderdice, a Yarra Valley local who’s career has come full circle at Tarrawarra. After apprenticing at the winery restaurant in 2010, he would go on to stage at Ben Shewry’s trailblazing fine diner Attica, before heading up the kitchen at Bar Liberty, one of Melbourne’s most exemplary wine bars. He’s no stranger to the Yarra Valley’s milieu either, having served as Medhurst Winery’s head chef along with a stint at Giant Steps.
Under his stewardship, the menu here is unpredictable and invigorating as ever. It also speaks to provenance and sustainability, and draws heavily on the kitchen garden as well as locally supplied produce and foraged ingredients. While meat features on the menu, a four-course, plant-based set menu is also on offer.
A meal here might start with wholegrain sourdough served with a spiced carrot butter and pickled vege, followed by Pommes Dauphine (crisp, deep-fried jewels of potato) mingled with lovage, cauliflower and carrot. Proteins might include smoked duck with quince, kumquat and black garlic; or Buxton trout with spaghetti squash, lemon-scented teatree and a classic soubise sauce. For dessert, it might be a macadamia tart with jasmine rice cream, koji caramel and salted-vanilla ice-cream.
Aligning with the winery’s commitment to sustainable land management, the kitchen uses as little plastic as possible, with a vision for a single-use-plastic-free restaurant eventually.
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