Of course, this is just the tip of the culinary iceberg – there is way more out there for you to discover. Share your pics of your signature dish nomination with #FindYourWayMorningtonPeninsula so we can try them too.
…Yes, it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. On with the progressive feast!
Just warming up
Heronswood House And Gardens
Part of this experience is the obligatory selfie with the historic bluestone mansion set on the hill overlooking Port Phillip and wandering the gardens (there is an admission fee, but it is well worth it) filled with heirloom vegetables and heritage listed trees. In fact, the dish features their own organic garden-grown produce and you may well see it in the garden as you stroll.
MUST TRY: Heirloom crudités and housemade dips – including their beetroot and cashew dip with hummus - with warm ciabatta, house marinated olives from Ridge Estate & goats curd.
Blue Range Estate
High on the hill with arguably some of the best views from any winery on the Mornington Peninsula, this family owned winery draws heavily on its Italian heritage. The hospitality is warm and generous and the food is just like mama used to make.
MUST TRY: The Blue Range Zucchini flowers – stuffed in the traditional way with spinach and ricotta. So light and fluffy, and so tasty. They are so popular that they have had to double their zucchini plantings so they can harvest them daily. Of course there is always the Dromana Mussels in a sauce of tomato and Blue Range Estate Pinot Grigio as a backup!
The main event
Paringa Estate has won so many accolades we have lost count – for both their wine and their dining. The view is over vines, the food and wine pairings are admirable, and the menu reflective of a creative chef.
MUST TRY: It has been said that this is ‘a surf and turf uniting pickled mussels, uni custard, and cured wagyu in who’d-a-thunk-it harmony' (Age Good Food Guide 2020). Perfect with a glass of 2018 Paringa Estate Pinot Gris. The old ‘surf n turf’ of the 60’s never dreamed of looking (or tasting) this good.
Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill
As you wind down the driveway past the vines, Lindenderry reveals itself slowly but beautifully. The recently renovated restaurant features floor to ceiling windows that invite the outside in and the food is fresh, seasonal and classic European in style.
MUST TRY: Traditional Japanese chef techniques are used to create the mouth-watering (and sustainably sourced) King George whiting dish; resplendent with tsukemono, shiitake, soy broth, crispy sushi rice and fermented chilli oil.
Stumpy Gully Vineyard
A smaller family owned and run winery but packing a big punch of flavours – whether in the wine, or the food. Just minutes from Mornington down a narrow side road – aptly called Stumpy Gully Road.
MUST TRY: Sweet roasted peach, raspberry sorbet, orange crumb and meringue. Mmmmmm! Encased within a number of delicate meringue wafers is a bed of slightly savoury orange crumb, which holds pieces of sweet roasted peach and a beautifully refreshing quenelle of raspberry sorbet. It’s like your favourite summer cocktail! Ooh, and the meringue is made from chickpea juice which makes it a vegan friendly dessert. Perfect for lingering over while you contemplate why it is called ‘stumpy gully’…
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
Decades of farming knowledge go into the preparation of the fields at this family favourite activity. The strawberries are sooooo good! It's no wonder they are Australia's largest strawberry producer. You can pick your own, or buy them already picked, but you MUST stop at the cafe afterwards; where their very own strawberries and their farm made icecream are used to create some truly amazing desserts.
MUST TRY: Strawberry Temptation. Like name, like nature. Freshly diced Sunny Ridge strawberries, with lashings of raspberry syrup, over a big scoop of farm made strawberry icecream and another of strawberry sorbet, and all topped with whipped cream and wafers. O.M.G. It has been on the menu for decades and remains the most popular of all their desserts - although the chocolate fondue comes a close second. You will order it to share with a friend, but you may not end up doing so!
Cocktails with flair
While this one has only been open in the hub of Red Hill a short while, it is already established as a great place to meet for drinks (and a spot of dinner). Seat yourself at the wrap-around bar and make some new friends, grab one of the bar tables, or stay a bit longer over an excellent dinner. Renovated by the esteemed Hector Guthrie it’s earthy tones are modern and fresh, but the space is intimate and welcoming.
MUST TRY: the ’Sloe Gin Fizz’ is made with Plymouth sloe gin, lemon, egg white, and bubbles – well Polperro Sparkling actually. A fizzy, zesty, sparkly cocktail that is ideal to share with friends at this cool meeting spot.
This tiny distillery in the Dromana Industrial Estate offers their very own distinctive rums on taste as well as a changing menu of delicious signature JimmyRum cocktails. A seat at the bar gives you a birds eye view of their impressive and architecturally-interesting stills, and a space to share stories comfortably over impressive bar snacks (try the JimmyRum infused cheese – it’s a thing).
MUST TRY: The Stormy Jimmy cocktail: made of low sugar Strange Love ginger beer (4% sugar but full of taste), fresh lime juice and the JimmyRum ‘Silver’ cane spirit. The overall effect is light, cleansing and refreshing, and very session-able.
Red Hill Brewery
The Mornington Peninsula’s original craft brewery, Red Hill Brewery, is set in a rustic bush setting amongst the hop vines. To get to the bar you wander past the barn where all the small batch beers are made using Red Hill rain, malt, yeast and hops from their own hop garden. They love using local produce such as cherries, honey and truffles, or techniques such as dry hopping, cask conditioning or aging in oak barrels with other liquors, creating some of the most interesting and flavour packed brews.
MUST TRY: With specialty beers released regularly, and two specialty Christmas themed brews to choose from, there’s always something tasty and experimental to try.
Two Bays Brewing Company
Hidden around a corner in the Dromana Industrial Estate is one of the newest breweries on the peninsula, but one that focuses on creating craft beers from a range of ancient grains, including millet, buckwheat and rice. Yes, it’s gluten free AND delicious!
The TWØBAYS’ end of year seasonal release ‘Breakaway’ is a light, crisp Summer Ale with refreshing hints of mandarin and pineapple – perfect to breakaway with, whether you're at the beach, on the BBQ, back from a big day out or just looking for a beer brewed with alternative grains. With a 4.0% ABV, a couple of Breakaways go down beautifully with our beloved Australian summer sunsets too.
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