Long weekends are best spent with the ones you love, in the places you love. And this long weekend was no different! With an extra day up our sleeves, we decided to head down to Red Hill in the Mornington Peninsula and see where the road led us. With a few rolling hills to climb and turns to make, we ended up at the ever so popular Montalto Winery & Olive Grove. It was a rather busy day (which we had already suspected) so took our chances with getting a table that their newly revamped Piazza Cafe. With only a 20 minute wait, we popped over to the Cellar Door to check out their wines while we waited to be seated.
Known for their cool climate wines, this family owned cellar door is open to the public to try a range of their specialty wines, including their famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This was the perfect spot to stop and kill some time while we waited for our table to be ready.
Although there is a fee for tastings here, if you do purchase one of their amazing wines, the fee comes off the bottle price.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
There are two fantastic restaurants located onsite, which gives you the option to choose something more fancy or casual. The first is their upscale hatted restaurant, Montalto Restaurant, and the second is their more laid back Piazza Cafe. Since we were with our little one, we opted for Piazza Cafe, so that we could sit back and enjoy the stunning views in their gardens.
The recent revamp has created an earthy vibe, keeping a connection with the surrounding gardens. There is both indoor and outdoor casual dining spaces available, depending on the weather. Communal picnic tables fill the outdoor gardens space, offering stunning views of the vineyard.
The service was attentive and friendly both in the restaurant and in the cellar door. The gentleman pouring our wine for tasting was very eager to share his knowledge for the wines and our waitress gave us some fantastic recommendations with the menu.
The menu here is quite rustic with gourmet pizza’s, seasonal local produce and of course, delicious olives from their own olive grove. Which of course we had to start with!
Along with the olives we ordered ‘Grilled Quail’, served with blood plum glaze & togarashi. The quail was tender and juicy and the togarashi created sweet finish to the dish. My only criticism here would be the dish it was served on… I understand that some might think it’s rustic, however the pan was dirty and made the quail look quite boring.
For our mains, we decided to share two pizzas from their wood oven as they looked so delicious going past us to another table. The first was the ‘Roast pork & stracciatella’ pizza with confit garlic, pickled chilli & chive. Followed by a classic ‘Napoli Pizza’ with buffalo mozzarella & basil. The crust was thin and crunchy with just the right amount of toppings on each. Some places overdue the toppings on thin crust pizzas, which results in a soggy mess, however this was the perfect ratio of bread to toppings!
With the pizza we ordered a side of ‘Fried Cocktail Potatoes’ with rosemary salt & aioli. The aioli was so tasty that it actually worked quite well to dip the pizza into!
Overall we had such a lovely afternoon at Montalto! The views are breathtaking, the food was tasty, yet simple and the wines delicious. Would love to head back in maybe the late Autumn or Winter to see what they have to offer with stunning winter views.