Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eat. @ Locale @De Bortoli Winery

 De Bortoli Winery, Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek, VIC 3775 

We recently attended a surprise 30th birthday lunch for a great friend of ours at Locale, the restaurant at De Bortoli Winery in the gorgeous Yarra Valley. We had a fantastic time eating over 3 and 1/2 hours while catching up with good friends.  Locale endeavours to use produce from the De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate, and the freshness and creativity  involved are both impressive and refreshing.  The restaurant kindly organised a long table and high chairs for us all, and the meal was very enjoyable despite there being eight kids aged 6 and under plus a newborn baby!  We had the 4 course Sunday Lunch ($70 per person, +$26 with matching wines,) with the children having their own 2 course meals ($22).

We started off with the house-baked ciabatta and formaggio d'erbe.  Fantastic bread and I was particularly taken with the olive sourdough.  

We then moved onto the antipasti shared plates with parmesan biscotti, estate cured & marinated olives, fior di latte (hand crafted by cheese maker Giorgio Linguanti), calabrese salami, roast red peppers and school prawn fritti.  Hubby loved the parmesan biscotti with the salty bite, while I could barely stop myself polishing off the pot of extremely moreish prawn fritti.  I was never a fan of olives until I was pregnant with Bubs but since then I intermittently crave them madly, and these were excellent.

The kids were served their mains soon after.  My 2 ordered the spaghetti bolognaise, and a simple spaghetti tossed with olive oil and parmesan.  Both delicious, but the olive oil and parmesan pasta was beautiful in its simplicity and the kids polished that one off. Other choices included chicken and chips and a minute steak, in quite generous serves.

Our entree was a gorgeously presented house cured and smoked salmon with spiced yoghurt, baby beets, peas & micro radish.  Almost too pretty to eat, the salmon was beautifully cured and melt-in-the-mouth soft.

The main was a 15 hour slow cooked beef with braised farro, baby spinach & pinenut gremolata.  My photo doesn't do the dish justice!  The meat, as expected, was soft and the sauce helped to intensify the lovely slow cooked flavour.

I thought I'd be too full for the dessert but the best was yet to come.  The vanilla panna cotta with local berry salad was excellent, the dessert felt lighter than I expected, and the fruit made for a refreshing accompaniment.

The kids were served 2 scoops of ice-cream each for dessert - vanilla bean, and caramel.  Not the ice confection stuff that usually gets dished out to the kidlets!  A generous serve of proper, well made ice-cream, meaning that (if you can convince them to) there's enough to share with you.

There's an extra optional course of formaggio (+$10) and accompanying wine (+$7), but we had to give it a miss as by that stage we were pretty full, and the kids were getting a bit restless.  After a coffee for Hubby and my usual post-prandial cup ofl tea we said good-bye to this lovely gathering.

Overall the meal was very nice, with the bonus being that children were well looked after.  The staff were young but friendly and helpful.  The meal took quite a while to get through, so expect to dine at a leisurely pace and enjoy the day out to the beautiful Yarra Valley!

De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Toilet - Yes
Highchair - Yes, best to arrange when booking. 


  1. Ahh this brings back memories! Love your photos-are they Instagrammed? :)

    1. Hi Lorraine! No, most of my blog photos are taken with the Hipstamatic App. The one of the hill here was taken with Camera+ and then edited with Snapseed as the one I took with Hipstamatic didn't turn out so well...!!!

  2. Nice one, Winnie! Long lunches are great especially if you have good friends, good food and awesome family around.. Can't get any better than that. Oh wait, with that view you can! I really enjoy reading of your kids' meals, always so simple but delicious and I don't get to read about the kids menu very often! Definitely keeping this place in mind next time I'm in Yarra Valley. Will try and bring my folks here when they visit in Dec =D

    1. Thanks for stopping by Winston! I love the kids' meals too and I'm always stealing a bite and a taste here and there! So many nice places to visit in Melbourne and in the Yarra Valley I'm sure your folks will have a great time visiting you! December is a nice time since it won't be freeeeeeezing cold like it is now!

  3. What a gorgeous lunch - it's such a lovely winery. I've always wanted to go there for one of their Sunday lunches.

    1. It's a great way to sample their food at a cheaper price!