The Australia Day long weekend (if you take the Monday off!) is coming up and I can bet a fair few people are planning on heading down to the Mornington Peninsula. It’s such a beautiful part of Victoria with the “trifecta” of great beaches, food and wine.
On the food and wine front one of my favourite places to indulge is Merrick’s General Wine Store which is housed in a converted old general store just outside Red Hill. I was invited to have lunch there when I recently stayed at the fabulous Crittenden Estate winery.
Wines are a focus here and Merricks’ stocks a great selection of local wines. Doing a tasting here is a great way to try out wines from some of the region’s different wineries rather than having to head to each of them. Although of course sometimes the trip is part of the fun.
We started our meal with a selection of crisp, oozing jamon and manchego croquettas ($12), tangy tomato and goats cheese bruschetta ($8) and sourdough toast topped with cheese and salty Spanish anchovies ($8). The perfect sort of snacky food to accompany a few wines.
From the mains the crispy skinned salmon with Asian salad was spot on. It was really light and fresh and the fried shallots on top were addictive. We also loved the duck leg ($35) cooked confit style so the skin was crisp and the meat tender. It came served with roasted vegetables and thick polenta chips artfully placed Jenga style on the plate.
Desserts at Merrick’s are not to be missed. Not when you are talking about an oozing chocolate fondant and a tart of fresh fruit with a dollop of home made ice-cream.
I loved the laid back atmosphere of Merrick’s while still maintaining a serious focus on food and wine.
It’s one of the dining highlights of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Worth a visit this Australia Day weekend or any weekend.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review Merricks General Wine Store
Details: Merricks General Wine Store, 3460 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks, Balnarring (Ph 5989 8088). Bookings recommended this place gets pretty popular – particularly on weekends.
Damage: Pricey but on this occasion I did not pay.
Kids: High chairs available and kids menus. Staff were lovely to our 2.5 year old. There’s also an attached art gallery which is nice for big and little kids to explore (although an adult must be with them).