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
View Google Map
Phone: (03) 5964 9585

 

TableTopBBQ – Beef Rice Paper Rolls Recipe

The TableTopBBQ is great fun and Melbourne’s weather last Saturday was perfect for a BBQ which gave myself the idea of testing out the TableTopBBQ!!!!

Unboxing of the Table Top BBQ

You get three sauce plates inside, 4 sets of chopsticks and a very handy flip grill…


We were looking at eating a healthy lunch so we decided on Beef Rice Paper Rolls. Off to the butchers we went and bought some top-side beef and asked them to cut it into thin slices (I love the butchers, they’re so convenient).

Marinating the beef: add some lemongrass, fish sauce and a teaspoon of sugar…


Now how to fire up the TableTopBBQ:

Jiffy fire lighters are a must and are placed in the bottom section of the TableTopBBQ and add some newspaper to get it firing up.

Then add your coal in the middle section of the TableTopBBQ covering the holes as best as you can. You know when it’s ready to cook once the coal turns white and is steaming hot (when you hover your hand over it, not by touching it)…

Now let’s cook…you can place the beef in between the grill or top of the grill. I liked it in between the grill which made it super easy to flip when the bottom side was ready…

Look at that beef…

What you need to construct a Beef Rice Paper Roll (In order of placement):
1. Rice Paper (from your asian grocery)
2. Lettuce
3. Mint Leaves
4. Other leaves (optional)
5. Rice Vermicelli
6. Thinly Sliced Cucumbers
7. Pickled Radish (optional)
8. Beef

Here’s one I prepared earlier…

Rolling is easy as long as you didn’t go overboard with the stuffing. Roll the rice paper tightly 3/4 then fold the sides into the middle and complete the roll…

Dip the roll into some pre-prepared Vietnamese fish sauce or in Vietnamese it’s called “nuoc mam”. Google the recipe because it’s a synch.

Please mind my fish sauce, it has remnants of some rice vermicelli and looks like a piece of beef…

Take a bite into your Beef Rice Paper Roll and you’ll never want to order these again from any asian restaurant…

There’s other types of rice paper roll versions out there such as pork and prawn, vegetarian ones, etc but that can wait for another post.

The TableTopBBQ was super fun and easy to use but most of all cooked the beef nicely and evenly and gave it an authentic taste and feel of Vietnam. Can’t wait to have my next cooking adventure with the TableTopBBQ.