Pulling into the carpark it was clear to me that this was an establishment that had not yet reached it’s full potential. With a little work on the gardens and some tender loving care shown to the water feature, the welcome could be one of confidence and pride – yet was left lacking the day I visited. Walking into the building I quickly realised that this was the perfect place for functions, with a vast white room, vaulted ceilings and an old style bar, the space could be styled to taste and hold a medium to large crowd.
I was greeted by the lovely Dave with a smile warm and inviting. He showed us to our table and we were left to peruse the menu. Now we had chosen a very hot day to experience The Little Vineyard and were relieved to find they had cooling. However, due to the age of the building the noise created by the unit was a little less than friendly and we decided to move to the Wine Terrace to enjoy the ambiance of the ‘little vineyard’ and outdoor surrounds. This was a much better choice for the children as they could explore the vineyard and run around a little. The restaurant is located on Paynes Road in Chirnside Park which is quite a busy little road with local usage, so it could be a concern for some parents. We found that the restaurant was set far enough back on the property enabling us to allow the kids some freedom as well as relax and enjoy ourselves.
Dave was very helpful in explaining menu items and suggesting wines to match our preferences. He was happy to indulge my many questions and was friendly and warm with the children. As a family it was very inviting, warm and friendly. My son enjoyed running through the vineyard and discovering the beauty of grape growing. Once our food arrived the smiles on our faces said it all. You may have noticed from my first impression that there are some things I would improve on when it comes to ambiance, therefore I was a little nervous when ordering the steak as to what I would be served – My worries were unwarranted. The food at this venue is up there with some of the more established restaurant/café’s in the Yarra Valley. The mushroom tortellini was fresh, thin and delicious and the steak cooked to perfection. Looking around the table, the salads ordered were generous and flavoursome and my husband stated that his steak sandwich was up there with the best he has had.
So, if you are looking for a quaint local that presents delicious food and great service, you have found it. With an ambiance that needs some work and grounds that need some tender loving care this establishment hits the mark in two out of three categories (food, service and ambiance). The Little Vineyard has been under new management for a short 6 months and with big plans to improve it is a local that I would like to see survive and thrive.