Thursday, 1 March 2012

A taste of the Valley

The 29th of February comes only but once every four years and so does our Wedding Anniversary. This year was our first Anniversary and everything was going to count to make this Anniversary the best it could be.
Healesville Harvest


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: 
Innocent Bystander
1. Sashimi of ocean trout served with black bean and lime dressing topped with wakame & toasted sesame (one word DEVINE) 
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.


Innocent Bystander
Pizza seems the way to go at Innocent Bystander with their sourdough bases, lighter than an average pizza base. Nice thin crusts crisp edges it's just to decide on the perfect topping. Paul chooses Dobsons nicola potato with taleggio cheese, walnut, rosemary and Mt zero olive oil. I go for the Pumpkin pizza with caramelised onion, pine nut, barrel aged fetta and rocket. Both amazingly tasty but are our eyes bigger than our stomaches? 


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.


Yering Station
To end our journey we settle for lunch after a days travel through the hills to Yering station. Set in a remarkable location with views of the mountains. High ceilings with glass windows circulating the restaurant allowing you to take in the breath taking views.


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.


Yering Station
I know there are so many more venues out there in the Valley that can take me away to another place, to make my mouth burst with flavour and I know I'll be finding those places in the future, but until I find them all I can say is if you want to have your own heavenly experience try these placed. You will not regret it. Our Anniversary will be one to remember for many years.







Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon
Yering Station on Urbanspoon