Tokar Estate Winery & Restaurant – Yarra Valley

Have you ever been driving down the Maroondah Hwy through Coldstream on the way to Healesville and seen the Spanish style, beautiful orange roof buildings amongst acres and hills of grape vines and trees?

Well, that place is Tokar Estate Winery. Having been to Healsville several times and eaten at Bella Vedere, I wanted to checkout Tokar Estate Winery solely because of its picturesque views of the valley and skyline.

Obviously this shows that harvest is finished, winter has kicked in, the air crisp and cold but the views still take your breath away. Tokar Estate is not all about the wines, they also have a beautiful family owned restaurant with inside and alfresco dining open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

The restaurant is run by Leon and Rita Tokar who are very lovely hosts and gave their time to talk to myself and my partner and answered all the questions we threw at them.We arrived for lunch took some beautiful pictures outside and made our way into the restaurant. We built ourselves a little bit of an appetite and didn’t waste any time to order. We learnt that the menu changes every 2 weeks or so depending on some of the produce from the local markets and the vegetables and herbs they grow in the garden.

We also learnt from Leon that there’s no beef farmers in the Yarra Valley so it’s obviously sourced elsewhere but there is a game meat supplier in the area which they source venison and rabbit from (yummm!). Unfortunately they weren’t on the menu that day. To wet our taste pallets we ordered a tasting plate of liver parfait, bruchetta, cheese and other nibblies.

The tasting plate definitely got the ball rolling and my favourite was the liver parfait with crackers and a bit of this pickled radish type side. Also tried some mushroom soup which was creamy and delish.For mains we had a Salmon with potato kipflers dressed in honey mustard sauce and a beef steak served with a layered potato slice and vegetables.To complement our dishes our waiter suggested the Chardonnay for our entrees and Tokar’s signature wine the Tempranillo for our mains. Good choice waiter! The Tempranillo went very well with the steak. Next time we serve up some steak for dinner I’m going get the family to try this out.Now to my favourite course, dessert. My partner and I were keen to get one dessert to share but then our wandering and greedy eyes got us ordering the assiette of desserts (served on one large late) which landed us three very nice and super good tasting desserts.Here we have a dark chocolate ganache tart served with homemade vanilla ice-cream. To get the full enjoyment out of it you had to eat each component combined with the vanilla ice-cream.Above we have the chocolate moose served with a berry side. This was my partners favorite and I couldn’t agree more. The moose and tart it was in cased in was beautiful and together with the berry, it was a match made in heaven.The cheesecake looked amazing and instead of a biscuit base there’s macadamia nuts which go really well with the cheesecake and don’t forget to have it with the vanilla consummate.I waited until the restaurant cleared a little so I could take this wonderful picture of the view from inside the restaurant. If you’re seated near the window or sitting out on the alfresco dining area you can enjoy the beautiful food, fresh air and picturesque scenery of the valley. Perfect for a romantic day or night out and make sure to book on the weekends as they can get quite busy.Tokar Estate Winery and Restaurant has been ticked off on my Yarra Valley to do list and can be put onto my to visit again in spring or summer list. The tasting plate and desserts were the highlights for me and I enjoyed the Tempranilla wine which I will be trying again. Good food, good wine and great scenery makes Tokar Estate a must do on the Yarra Valley list.

A big thank you to Yarra Valley Secrets for organising a table for me at Tokar Estate on a very last minute notice and thank you to Leon and Rita Tokar for their very warm hospitality.

Location: 6 Maddens Lane, Coldstream, VIC 3770
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Phone: (03) 5964 9585

 

FOG Bar & Restaurant – Great Buzz In The Heart of Prahran

 

FOG is a classy restaurant in the heart of Prahran, serving for brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s down Greville St with a nice credible selection of great Cafes, Bars and Restaurants that I’m keen to review soon.

Ms J works close by and one night when I went to pick her up, we ended up having dinner with her boss and his wife. Great company! There was no intention of a “proper” night out so we were all dressed quite casually and started to feel very under-dressed that Friday when the herd of party people started to rock by to the cocktail birthday out at the back deck (around 6:30pm). Whoops! Others frocked up quite nicely as they came by for  drinks to kick start the weekend. With smiles all round, we didn’t care. It was a lovely start to the evening.

I’m not usually a wine drinker but the bottle that we picked was to my liking, (sorry I didn’t pay attention to the name of the wine) but I did take notice of their wine glasses (above photo)

Fog is participating in the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2011 (March 4th-14th), see here for more details.

For entree we shared a tasting plate of dips, crackers, cheese, olives & sun-dried tomatoes.Sashimi too…And I can’t forget the Thai Style Seared, Rare Beef Salad which was a delight to try and came with some crispy shallotsTasmanian Salmon which sat ontop of some black sticky rice and a bit of greens. Looks like black balls.Ms J tried the Braised Veal Ragout, I tried some too and the veal just melted in my mouth.We also picked on a salad that tasted fresh and went well with my main.My main was the Rangers Valley Angus Rump with creamy mash and some asparagus.
The food was great, the atmosphere was buzzing with lots of chatter and laughs and the service was top notch. I highly recommend trying this place out. www.fog.com.au

Location: 142 Greville Street, Prahran VIC 3181
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A festive family feast on Christmas Eve

This year my family decided to have a fairly traditional westernized Christmas feast as much as possible. My mum decided to have ham, turkey and duck. Can you believe that? A bit overkill with the meat but you know what? It turned out well…let’s start off with the meats…

My sister prepared the turkey with some baked potatoes (great work with the turkey and potatoes). I don’t usually like turkey but I enjoyed this one…

My dad prepared the duck! First he boiled it, then placed it in the oven…

I told him that doesn’t look cooked, then he told me, “it’s only half way there”. I saw him brushing it with his marinade, then cooked it in the oven for a bit longer and the next thing I knew it was ready and boy did it taste good!!!

Everyone, meat my leg of ham!

That’s right, I cooked the leg of ham and everyone loved it. I felt quite chuffed!

Poked a bunch of holes into it to let the marinade seep into the ham and then marinated it in pineapple juice for 2 days. Before I placed it in the oven I brushed maple syrup all over the skin then every 5-10 minutes I brushed it with my pineapple and maple syrup mixture to keep it nice and moist.

It looks like the pig’s head but really, it’s pork leg…

I know I’m working backwards here but I can’t forget the wonderful entree we had…

Like Joseph’s restaurant @ The Harvest Picnic we prepared a maple syrup and walnut crushed sauce to drizzle on the oysters and of course some lemon and pepper sauce as well…I know a sweet maple sauce on oysters doesn’t make sense but you gotta try it…it’s delish!

Dad also prepared some fruit cheese with some juicy red currants for entree (nice for entree and after dinner)

Then my sister spoilt us with her array of desserts from leche flan (popular filipino dessert…which I’m determined to attempt and ace soon!), a rich and creamy choc ripple cake, beautiful pavlova and some sweet beans (often used for halo halo a filipino crushed ice drink…I’ll do a post one time)

OMG!!! What a feast!!! There were a few other things we had, such as salad, a creamy potato egg and corn salad and my mum can’t go without rice so we mixed up some fried rice for her…okay I admit I had some too.

Meet my family minus myself, as you can see we were all in the Christmas spirit and wore Christmas colours. My little nephew had a little elf outfit on. So cute!!!Then you have Miss Jen as a dorky christmas reindeer…Then me with dorky christmas reindeer!!!

I hope everyone had a fun filled Christmas with lots of joy, laughter and presents and my family and I wish everyone a great and awesome year

Harvest Picnic Werribee Mansion – Picnic For All

The name itself Harvest Picnic already sounds fun then having it at Werribee Mansion gives it sense of eeriness and family fun. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best as you can see from the sky but I sure did enjoy the atmosphere, food and drinks.

Band

What’s a festival/family event without some latino entertainment…

Latino Dancing

Lots of local produce, fruits and vegetables, wine and tasty treats…

Local Produce

Fresh Vegetables

Tasty Treats

Neff‘s cooking demonstrations were great to watch and my partner and I were privilege to watch Shane Delia, chef and owner of Maha Bar & Grill…

Shane Delia Neff Stand

Shane has a great down to earth personality and after watching him I’m eager to visit his restaurant in the heart of the Melbourne CBD…

Shane Delia

The media and marketing world has its perks and one of those perks is getting VIP access to events, especially events with lots of food and wine, all thanks to the wonderful people at Neff and to my beautiful partner Miss Jen. The Joseph’s Restaurant Marquee was a delight…

Joseph's Restaurant

Neff Sign

They served a gorgeous line-up of food and an absolutely generous serving of oysters 🙂

Oysters BucketThe oysters came with an optional sauce (maple syrup and walnuts). I know what a weird combination but for some reason it works. They also had watermelon juice as an alternative sauce which baffled me even more but I didn’t end up trying it because I was hooked on the maple syrup walnut concoction.
Oysters

Near the end of the event they served out the most appetising cheese platter that I’ve come across which served my ultimate favourite cheese “Camembert” *smiles all round*

Cheese Platter

And before leaving for the day, we had to get a picture the giant strawberry (should of taken some cream from the Joseph’s Marquee to have with my giant strawberry)…

Giant Strawberry

Harvest picnic is a fun day out for the family and friends, I think there was even a group of girls celebrating their hen’s. The tickets are a bit expensive seeing that you need to buy food at most stalls and the weather wasn’t smash hot but managed to not pour down rain. I would say it’s worth taking the family and friends out to Harvest Picnic which happens twice a year, one in Werribee Mansion in November and one at Hanging Rock in February. I guess a bonus for the entry fee is that you get free entry to the Mansion. That place is creepy, but that’s another post.