In Melbourne we are blessed with wine growing regions close to the city. The Yarra Valley is very pretty and has some well-established wineries and restaurants. The Bellarine Peninsula is also very attractive and some excellent restaurants are appearing.
The Bistro at Banks is a casual but smart bistro overlooking the Banks Road vineyard. It is also attached to the winery’s cellar door. We tend to order the food and then taste the wines and decide what will go best with food ordered.
The welcome from Kate (bistro manager) and Will (winery owner) is always warm. The bistro is on a hill overlooking the winery and some outdoor artwork/sculptures. The casual and light filled environment enables you to kick back and settle in for an enjoyable dining experience.
Main course ordered was a pumpkin risotto with candied walnuts, feta, and chilli. While the risotto was creamy and perfectly cooked it was a light dish which had a nice balance of sweet and salty favours. The crunchiness of the walnuts added an extra dimension to the dish. While the dish was well balanced it would have been enhanced by a more generous inclusion of pumpkin.
The perfect wine for this dish was Will’s Selection Chardonnay 2011. The tasting in the cellar door indicated this as a standout cool climate chardonnay. It is a wine of great length, nicely balanced, fresh and crisp but with a buttery finish. The wine came into its own with the risotto.
For dessert I ordered a Tarte Tartin with chestnut cream. This was a lovely dish with sweet flaky pastry and apples which were only slight sweetened. The dish was enhanced by the chestnut cream.
We all ordered a Pedro Ximenes Valdespino by Laustau. This is a fine PX and at $12 a glass was good value. Maybe this was a bit heavy and sweet for the dessert but a PX at the end of a meal always takes me back to my time of living in Northern Spain. One sip and I was back in magical Bilbao.
The coffee served is a Castel Coffee Roaster: it is strong flavoured with a hint of bitterness (great as an espresso).
We have often cycled to Banks Road from Point Lonsdale along the railtrail. A coffee and cake on the veranda is delightful in the morning or afternoon. There is a good selection of sweet treats.
Check times as hours of opening vary with the season.
About the Author
Michael is a food and wine connoisseur. He also makes a delicious chocolate cake.
Bistro at Banks
600 Banks Road
Marcus Hill 3222
03 5221 2405