If you’ve got time over these holidays for a lazy winery lunch I’d recommend Polperro on the Mornington Peninsula. Quite a few new restaurants and wineries have opened in the area lately and a visit to Polperro was on my wish list after trying just one dish from the menu at the Raincoats and Gumboots lunch earlier this year. That dish was the wood grilled pork shoulder served skewered on winter vine cuttings. It was simple, rustic and delicious and I decided I had to find out more.
Located near Red Hill, Polperro is set on a hillside overlooking gum trees and vineyards. It’s a stunning view and whitewashed chairs scattered on the lawn invite you to sit back and soak it all in.
The bistro is a work of art – designed by Hecker Guthrie walls painted dark black, billowing lengths of white fabric and the odd fur throw create a warm feeling inside while keeping the attention firmly on the views through the floor to ceiling windows.
The menu also doesn’t muck around – the focus is on excellent produce cooked simply. We only touched on what was available as we were heading to a big dinner that night but what we did try impressed. Polperro does all the little things right like serving up still warm house baked bread and using local olive oil to accompany it from Harts Farm in Shoreham.
The charcuterie plate ($30) is generously sized and includes folds of melt in your mouth prosciutto, a delicate rabbit terrine and slices of salami with a hint of spice. Smoked fish croquettes ($12) are a must order – crunchy little balls of deep fried goodness with a salty, smoky, cream filling.
Asparagus salad ($18) is vibrant green and the tender stems are topped with sprigs of dill fresh from Polperro’s (extensive) vegie patch. Importantly, the wine list is excellent with a lot on offer besides Polperro’s own Even Keel label. My pet hate is having a beautiful meal at a winery where the only options are the house wines. That said the Even Keel wines are fantastic – particularly the chardonnay. Sitting at Polperro, looking out over the vines it’s hard to imagine a nicer place to lunch on the peninsula.
Details: Polperro, 150 Red Hill Rd, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula (Ph 03 5989 2471)