Bella Vedere – Fresh Produce from the Yarra Valley

Bella Vedere Sign Post
Bella Vedere, I learnt Italian when I was in high school and I definitely know Bella means Beautiful. With “Vedere”, I mistakenly thought it was Verde which is the colour Green in Italian so I had to look the word Vedere up. Google says it means ‘to see’, ‘to look at’, ‘meet’, ‘visit’, etc…

So If I put the two words together, “Bella Vedere”, I would say it means something like Beautiful To See. But I went further and consulted Google Translate and it told me it means Nice To See.

OK, enough Italian for today. Lets talk about Bella Vedere. Gary Cooper is part owner and head chef of Bella Vedere and has maintained a one hat Michelin rating for Bella Vedere three years in a row. I can’t believe I ate there and didn’t realise he was in the kitchen cooking my lunch (If I paid more attention I would of taken a photo with him).As you drive in, you’re greeted with a lovely town house building with some grape plantation on either side. The grapes were covered, most likely to protect the grapes as it was a week before harvest time when I went.The front is welcoming, with a small section on the right dedicated for wine tasting and on the left is the Bella Bakehouse for when you walk into the restaurant you are drawn in by the freshly baked bread.As you walk past the small bakery, you see a wall of local produce. Did I mention, Bella Vedere is known for using local produce that make up their menu and the menu always changes from season to season or available stock.In the back, they have their own garden where a number of their vegetables and fruits are sourced from. You can also see their neighbour from the garden which from memory was Oakridge Vineyard which looked spectacular.On the left hand side of the corridor directly after the jars of local produce you are tempted with freshly baked cakes and dessert. I think the first dessert pictured below is tiramisu. If you duck your head and have a peek inside the kitchen, the chef’s are very welcoming and are happy to say hello. The restaurant is nice and cosy, white clothed tables, dressed with cutlery for a three course meal, freshly baked bread and fresh flowers and produce from the garden. There’s also a bar and an open kitchen for all to see.The waiters were very helpful and polite and offered water and wine as we settled onto our table. There were 7 of us for lunch and we heard great things about this restaurant so we weren’t about to hold back. We started with entree…scampi…Ox Tounge salad…Thickly Cut chips with egg and another one with some special sauceWhile we were waiting for the food, some of us went outside to look at the garden and as everyone walked back in Miss J, casually started a convo with one of the chefs. Who convinced her to order some smoked or grilled eel that he was preparing. Later on we realised she was speaking to Gary Cooper. The eel’s skin was quite rubbery but was warned by Gary to take off the skin. I think the eel was grilled but it had a real smokey flavour to it which I didn’t mind.
Not onto the lunch mains…don’t let the pictures deceive you, these dishes were a treat and I would recommend all of them but then again, when you visit the restaurant, the menu most likely would of changed or there would be a slight variant.
Half a duck, looks small on photo but looked fairly large on the plate.Next we have quail. The entree serves one quail and the main serves two. If you’re not hungry I suggest just the one will satisfy you.A thinly slice minute cooked steak is next on the list which we though was going to be a small dish but it was fairly sized and filled up the two that ordered it. It looks thick on the photo, but it’s actually a thin slice of beef ontop of mash potato or vegetables.My favourite was probably the rabbit dish which I scabbed some off Miss J. The dish looks small on the photo but it was a generous serving of rabbit.Two of us were game enough to try something that sounds pretty disgusting but as foodies, we were up for anything. And that dish was “LAMB BRAINS“!!! I’m not pulling your leg, look at the pictures below. It was pure lamb brains with a nice tangy sauce.Here’s a close up of the lamb brains with the outer layer peeled off. YUMMMMM!!!I have to admit, it did get a bit sickening after the 5th piece. It would of been nice with some rice, in my opinion.

We made sure we made some room for dessert. A bit of tiramisu, strawberry cheesecake & a rich chocolate ganache cake with a biscuit casing.

I came with little expectation and an empty stomach and either way I definitely enjoyed the dishes, the setting, the service, the company and the fresh air of the country side. Make it a day trip, there’s definitely plenty to do in the Yarra Valley area. Make sure to visit some other places around the area such as Domaine Chandon, Little Creatures Brewery, The White Rabbit Brewery, Healsville Sanctuary and so much more.

Location:874 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770
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Miss Jen’s Secret Garden of Vegetable and Herbs

She gets super excited about growing her own vegetables and greens that she always runs off to Bunnings and buys seedlings and little plants to grow…probably her biggest proud and joy is her cherry tomatoes which she names. Yes she NAMES them, Tom and Tam. She’s persistent that the names are gender driven.

Why? Tom [left] is slightly taller and narrow build while Tam [right] grows wider and produces more fruit. Does anyone agree?

Unfortunately earlier this year the sun was too strong and they withered away…so here’s her next batch…Tom and Tam 2.0.

Look at the concentration in watering those tomatoes…any wrong move and these tomatoes might have the same fate as the previous…

Not satisfied with just cherry tomatoes, a bit of chilli and corriander is worth a shot…


With a bit of love and hypnotism, she may be able to pull this off…

I’ll have to update the progress on my Facebook Page…GOODLUCK!!!…

Whilst Miss Jen was gardening…I found myself mezmerized by the beautiful plants and scenery in the backyard…I thought i’d share a little bit of it here too…

Hofbrauhaus Melbourne – German Pub/Restaurant

Hofbrauhaus (Pronounced Hofe-Broy-House) – To me it sounds like Opera-House

German Food, Beer, Schnapps & live entertainment. That sums up Horbrauhaus. Once you walk in you feel like you’re in Germany, not that I’ve been to Germany but it certainly plays it part with all the German posters, dim lighting and signs of .



What this place is probably famous for is its German beer, served in all different sizes from a standard glass, 500ml and of course your 1L glass (Oktoberfest style).


I wanted to try a few different beers so I went for the 500ml glass but if you know what you want you’re better off going with the 1L because when you’re at Hofbrauhaus drinking is a must! I’m not sure what German beer is supposed to taste like but I’m not usually good with beer but all the beers I tried went down smoothly. Next time 1L glasses all the way!!!


Depending on the time and day they have live entertainment which could be a two piece band to a full band and some German dancing. I went there on a Wednesday for a work end of year dinner, the place was a little quiet but we had two cute German performers in their German outfits playing the drums and accordion. Give them a clap for their hard work and they’ll say a thank you and merrily play their tunes.

I was so hungry I wasn’t able to take a photo of everyone’s food but don’t let the photos deceive you because the food gets served in a very large plate and the vegetables you see on the plate, like the broccoli is massive.
I got the chef’s recommendation which was sausage with mash potatoes, mustard and sauerkraut.
One of my work mates are into schnitzels and I’m pretty sure he ordered a Hahnchen Schnitzel but it looked too dry so he ordered mushroom sauce as a side.

Can’t remember what this was but as you can see the mushroom sauce looked mouth watering.
Hofbrauhaus is definitely a place to go if you want a hearty meal and a whole lot of beer. They also do functions which would be a ball and next time I go I will go during their peak times maybe on a Friday or Saturday and drink til my belly bursts. If you’re stumbling down Chinatown and come across one of my favourite Japanese restaurants Shoya then you will find Hofbrauhaus right across the road or probably more well known restuarant Flowerdrum.

Location: 18-24 Market Lane, Melbourne, 3000, Victoria, Australia
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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.