Although the Victorian weather was up to it's usual antics, we nestled ourselves in the Yarra Velley to dine on some amazing food and of course it's renowned wines.
A stop in at Healesville Harvest for our first taste of what's on offer in the area. Run by the Healesville Hotel we had a choice of the cafe, bar or the bistro. Going for something more substantial than what the cafe had on offer of bruchetta's and salads although looking tantalisingly fresh, but not so substantial as a full sit down meal from the bistro we met in the middle for the bar menu. Choosing a tasty gremolata crumbed squid on a fennel and rocket accompanied by a bur blanc, and Paul going for what was said to be a pretty tasty yeringberg lamb burger with caramelised onions, fetta and homemade tomato relish with a ice cold cider. Sitting outside in the casual bench seating, it was a nice way to set off our Anniversary celebrations.
With dinner being the moment where we can have a romantic candle lit dinner celebrating this time as husband and wife we choose to dine in at the Innocent Bystander. There is a casual yet elegant touch to this restaurant/ winery which made it perfect to dine. Candles were lit on a spacious table with modern house music in the back ground. Their new menu has just started of which our waiter was more than excited to suggest multiple items from the tapas section to start off our meals.
So we start our celebrations with an array of tapas dishes:
2. Rabbit port and pistachio terrine accompanied with pickled watermelon rind and sour dough baguette (the watermelon rind was outstanding and highlighted the dish)
3. Piquillo peppers filled with goats cheese & basil (the soft goats cheese was mouth watering - you can not compare the brilliance to these to the standard stuffed bell peppers from your local deli)
4. Truffle & parmesan frites (TO DIE FOR)
We float away with mouths bursting with so much flavour, unable to speak to each other. It's like we have just had an affair with out food, if heaven is out there we have found it. How could we possibly stop now..... so off to mains.
Almost bursting at the seams we decided to take our remainder of our pizza home so we can fit in the dessert, as you can't go out for dinner and not have dessert.
The choice should have been a dessert to share but nope we couldn't resist the temptations of such amazing food, so tiramisu ordered by Paul which was one of the best we have tasted, an intense hit of their own blend of espresso soaked into the sponge and mild mascarpone was a delight. I myself chose the trifle of which was intense after eating so much already. Although delicious it was HUGE. not able to eat it this berry filled dessert with pastry and cream became my everest I could not finish.
Innocent Bystander became our place of heaven in just one night and was re-adventured for breakfast, with a tasty believe it or not breakfast pizza and huevos rancheros - baked eggs with spinach, chorizo, fetta and white beans. A very relaxed rainy morning was acheived as this once candle lit restaurant transformed into a bright day lit venue with casual dining. Filled with house made breads and pastries with a selection of their wines, coffee and much more to purchase.
Once again we have given our taste buds a party. Rare seared tuna with eel nori roll served with aioli, daikon, cucumber and ginger. Seared to perfection that this tuna just melts away ans the bursting flavours from the eel nori rolls were just the perfect. Paul drifted away with his juicy tender eye fillet steak with tarragon jus, asparagus and horseradish remoulade and gribich croquettes. With the views and such divine food there is no other way to enjoy the Yarra valley..... or is there.
How about dessert and the views? Of course that's how to do it. For me to finish of this amazing food journey was to be the hazelnut and caramel marshmellow bar topped with salted popcorn and popcorn ice cream, Paul goes for the richer choice of smoked chocolate tart and sour cherry sorbet.
Both amazing and unexplainable. The flavours in both dishes were outstanding and a must try when you travel to the Yarra valley.