Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mornington Peninsula - Red Hill Estate and Max's Restaurant

53 Shoreham Road
Red Hill South, VIC 3937
Ph: 5989 2838

This post is part of my Mornington Peninsula weekend courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Tourism and Q Strategies. Check out the other posts here:
-Heronswood Gardens
-Peninsula Hot Springs
-The Long Table
-Woodman Estate
-Red Hill Brewery
-Linden Tree Restaurant and Lindenderry Hotel

After my first stop at the beautiful Heronswood Gardens, it was lunch time. Lunch was to be eaten at the famed Max's Restaurant, the first winery restaurant in the area, as well as winner of the Best Tourism Restaurant in the 2010 Qantas National Tourism Awards. I met Michele for lunch, and you can read about her views on our lunch experience.

Red Hill Estate is set in a prime location, with views of the bay inter-mixing with the rolling hills and grape vines. It's such a beautiful location that there are a whopping 40 weddings held on the premises a year. I can definitely see why people would want a wedding there. You can have the ceremony and then go straight to wine tasting and lunch or dinner. As well as just looking beautiful, the estate produces a lot of wines as well, 30,000 litres a year. Due to its climatic location, the wines produced are whites and sparklings, although they have six other vineyards in Merricks that produces graphs for Shiraz. We did some wine tasting in the Cellar door, which also housed lots of interesting paintings from local artists. We tasted all the wines and there were quite a few that I really liked. The 2006 Blanc de Noirs was lovely, tending towards sweet rather than dry. The 2008 Cellar Door Chardonnay was my favourite of all the chardonnays, and can only be purchased at the cellar door. Of the reds, I liked the 2008 Cellar Door Pinot Noir, which had a good bite to it. Lastly, the Muscatel was beautiful, with hints of coffee. Trent the barmen was telling us how he would just pour it over ice cream.

Before we had lunch, we had a sneak peek at Max's Retreat. The accommodation can comfortably house two couples, with the living areas shared. The retreat is spacious, bright and warm. It is furnished with all the required elements for a relaxing weekend stay. Touches like fresh flowers and fruit and bread help to make it homely. The rooms contain large comfortable looking beds and spas that can be used anytime.

At lunch, restaurant manager Aaron seated us at what Michele calls a "blogger friendly" table, right next to the large windows. This allowed plenty of light onto the food, perfect for taking salivating food photos. We started off the meal with some really moreish freshly baked bread, with olive oil and dukkah.

Freshly shucked oysters got a welcome applause from all at the table except Michele, as she has a dislike of oysters. This just meant we all got to eat more. The oysters served with the seaweed were really good, but the pure soy sauce didn't work. Soy needs to be lightened with other elements to work with oysters. No matter. We just poured out the soy, squeezed on some lemon juice and it was perfect.

We only ordered one Entree Platter but Aaron brought out two so everyone could get a decent taste of all the elements. The Cauliflower soup was really good and comforting. My favourite from the platter was the Cured Trout. It was perfect, served with finger lime caviar, quince paste and morello cherry balsamic. The Baby Calamari stuffed with pork was also super tasty, with the calamari so tender. The Red Wine and Garlic Marinated Kangaroo Fillet was cooked really well and the kangaroo was very tender. Lastly, you know I'm not much of a fan of vegetables so I thought the Zucchini "Carpaccio" was ok.

While we were digesting our entrees, I noticed some girls planking. If you're going to plank, you might as well do it at a beautiful location like Red Hill Estate right? At least they were planking responsibly, there was a non-planker to drive everyone home.

When mains arrived, I breathed in a quick breath at my utterly unctuous looking Roast Pork with Crispy Prosciutto. I did share my meal with everyone but still go the bulk of the pork. It was soft and full of flavour, and the skin was crispy. My favourite savoury dish of the day. It was pure indulgence and not for those on a diet.

Michele got the Grilled Gippsland Eye Fillet, tender and full of flavour. I loved the jus and the sweet potato gratin. A lovely dish.

Visal wanted to eat something healthier, so chose the Sauteed Mushroom with Pasta. In the end, she ended up sharing her dish with the rest of us and trying out our dishes too, so her healthy intentions didn't come true. But we were all glad she ordered this dish, as the mushrooms were so good.

Lastly, Michele's mum ordered the Roast Duck Breast with a Spring Roll of Confit Leg. The breast was quite good but the highlight on that dish was the delicious spring rolls. What a great idea that is, combining East and West techniques and flavours.

By the end of eating all the mains, we were all writhing in slight discomfort already from our full bellies, but I declared that "WE MUST HAVE DESSERT". Yes, I almost shouted it. It didn't take too much convincing to get everyone to agree to share the Dessert Tasting Platter. When the platter arrived, we all panicked at how much there was on it, but it didn't end there. Aaron brought out a second platter. Oh. My. Goodness. I was overwhelmed by desserts, who would have thought. But we surprised ourselves by eating it all. For me, the Ginger Pudding didn't really work and the cheese was quite good, but the other three elements were the hero. In increasing order of deliciousness, I announce the Honey, Pistachio and Nougat Semifreddo in third place. I'm sure you can imagine the flavour combinations and how they worked seamlessly. In second place, the Dolce Bianco, an Italian dessert of vanilla infused yoghurt and macerated berries. It was the best yoghurt I've ever tasted. Finally, the king and winner was without a doubt, the Chocolate Fondant, rich in chocolate flavour and the perfect texture, soft and moist outside while oozing inside.

After lunch, we rolled our ways out to the car. I was super satisfied from the great meal. The ambiance in the restaurant was really good, with a full house of people generating a buzz in the room without being too loud to talk. The bright sunshine through the floor to ceiling glass windows made for a wonderful enjoyable lunch, which I would highly recommend. Thanks to Trent and Aaron for looking after us while we were there.

We dined courtesy of Red Hill Estate and Max's Restaurant.

Max's Restaurant at Red Hill Estate Winery on Urbanspoon


  1. Sigh I really need a getaway like this. :(

  2. gorgeous snaps... nice vignetting ;) ;) it makes all the difference.

    wahhhh i want more fondant!!

  3. Oh my - the food looks amazing! So much more appetising than my brekkie right now!

  4. OMG THAT ROAST PORK. I am drooling. LOOKS AMAZING! :)

  5. Definitely no #weightloss that weekend then! ;)

  6. The Roast Pork looks really great! Yeah definitely not for someone on diet.

    Forget about diet, fall in love in the Pork!

  7. Michele, I really like the vignetting look for some photos.

    Agnes and Food, definitely no weightloss on that day.