Set amongst rolling farmland, it’s easy to miss Barmah Park when travelling along the rural stretch of Moorooduc Highway. The picturesque property was once an old cattle station, until the first pinot gris and pinot noir vines were planted in 2001.
Since then, the ten-acre estate has expanded to include a cellar door and an award-winning restaurant. Here, the pace is relaxed, the service polished, and the menu a celebration of the surrounding countryside, showcasing produce grown and gathered locally. Despite humble beginnings, in 2022 Barmah Park received its first Chef’s Hat, securing its status as one of the top dining destinations on the Mornington Peninsula.
After a quick switchback off the main road, a vertical green wall directs you to the timber-cladded restaurant. Framed by towering gum, it’s a welcome contrast to the ultra-modern architecture of nearby cellar doors. Inside, the dining room is spacious yet still intimate, with a crackling fire and serene views over the vineyard. It’s the perfect spot to savour a long lunch whilst remaining off the well-trodden tourist route and away from the crowds in town.
A two- or three-course sitting might see you starting with cave-aged cheddar croquettes and baked scallops served with cauliflower cream and hazelnut butter, before moving onto hand-rolled ricotta gnocchi with Red Hill truffle and Tyabb Forest mushroom.
For dessert, the coconut panna cotta with raspberry, mandarin and pistachio crumb is a light and refreshing finish, or indulge with a selection of local cheeses, house-made lavosh, and a glass of the Boatshed Pinot Gris on Skins, a beautiful and balanced expression of winemaking technique.
As for the fit-out? The restaurant has received a thoughtful renovation in recent years, with the space updated to reflect the quality on the plate. Exposed brickwork and polished concrete are juxtaposed with earthy materials and mid-century styling, from the deep, tan leather couches flanking the fireplace to the round timber tables surrounded by vintage Anton Lorenz chairs.
There’s a teal-tiled bar stocked with local spirits and plush velvet armchairs to sink into, each with views stretching across to the back tree line. Sheer curtains filter the natural light and section off the dining room, creating semi-private spaces for larger groups. There’s also the option to dine al fresco on the deck during the warmer months, the place to be come golden hour.
If you’re after a casual drink, you can wander through to the rustic cellar door and pull up a bar stool amongst the barrels. Here, you’ll find Barmah Park’s Arthurs Seat and Lighthouse labels available for tasting, as well as limited vintages.