Barmah Park Vineyard and Cafe is a cute little place, where they sell their wines and have a cafe for food and to drink their wines. We started our meal with some wine tasting, trying out the various Barmah Park wines, including Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. We settled on our drinks and while the girls got red wines, I went with a nice refreshing Pinot Gris.
For lunch, of course we all agreed to share the food so we could try everything. We started with a meze plate to share. The plate consisted of salmon on a savoury scone, grilled vegetables, chorizo, a vegetable tart, crumbed calamari, cured meats, salad and some bread. Most items were quite nice. I wouldn't say anything stood out as being amazing but one item did stand out as being very strange. The crumbed calamari was actually tender, but the crumb matched with the sauce was really not nice. It was super salty and then the sauce was really sweet. I didn't find the combination pleasant at all.
Next up, the Roast Pork Belly with Scallops was really delicious. Crispy pieces of fatty pork belly crunched and oozed in my mouth. I love pork belly and this one was done well. The scallops were also fresh and went well with the pork. The obligatory apple slaw accompanied the dish and gave it some lightness.
As mussels are my current obsession, I convinced the others to eat it despite the usual "we can order mussels anywhere", to which my constant reply is "but I want mussels now". The flavour of the dish was quite nice, but the mussels themselves weren't super amazing like I've had elsewhere in the Mornington Peninsula. They just didn't have the super sweet sea flavour that some mussels possess. I forgot what variety these were but maybe all the different varieties taste different.
We tried three other dishes that were hit and miss. As we didn't know the meze contained the calamari, we ordered it again. Obviously it was the same dish and I didn't like it again. The wedges were much better. Crispy and soft inside with sour cream and sweet chili dip. Lastly, a pumpkin gnocchi in a tomato based sauce was delicious. The gnocchi was soft and had great flavour and I loved it.
Despite being full, I was tempted by the sound of the apple strudel, so convinced everyone to have dessert. I didn't need to do too much convincing when Michele suggested we also try a sticky date pudding. The apple strudel in custard was beautiful. The pastry was flaky and the filling perfectly spiced and soft. The custard just finished the dish perfectly. I thought this would be the highlight but once I tried the sticky date pudding, I was speechless. I never order sticky date puddings because they're always crazy sweet and rather ordinary. But I can't recommend this sticky date pudding enough. It was so amazing, with a perfect texture and the most amazing butterscotch sauce.
The meal overall was quite good. Some items were very nice and some weren't. I'd recommend to skip the meze platter as that was quite generic stuff and to order various dishes instead so you can taste the food style of the chef. The desserts were super amazing so don't forget to order that. If that sticky date pudding is on the menu, get it.
I dined courtesy of Michele and Barmah Park.