Can I tell you a secret? Yarra Valley Life is a bit of a stalker!!! It’s true! You see it’s been a year almost to the day since I discovered the intriguing Levantine Hill Estate on social media. It’s been a year since I vowed to go and try their tasting menu – because we all know that Yarra Valley Life likes a good degustation. So it was with excitement that I put this newcomer to the Yarra Valley on my list of ‘must book for a special occasion’. Waiting was the hardest part – finally my birthday rolled around and the phone was at the ready to reserve a table at ezard @ Levantine Hill for the Friday night. Note to self: the Signature Restaurant is only open for dinner on Saturdays !! So again they were put on the must experience list. I am embarrassed to say it took almost a year for me to realise that I could share with you the All Day Dining Menu from ezard @ Levantine Hill instead! Tunnel vision is a curse sometimes, so taking my blinkers off I reserved a table for lunch. With husband, son and camera in hand I set out to finally experience the elegance of Levantine Hill.
Arriving at the estate is almost as exciting as dining within the architectural brilliance of ‘the barrels’. It is a rare occasion to drive past Levantine Hill and not see a helicopter parked in it’s front paddock. The location of this restaurant and cellar door has become a landmark for my family and is highly anticipated by my helicopter obsessed son.
It does not go unnoticed when taking the journey from the front gate to the car park that this is another venue that values art. It is only natural that sculptures are the first thing to greet you at Levantine Hill. It only highlights the creativity behind every aspect of this winery. The skill of the winemaker and a chef is similar to that of an artist – in fact I now consider them to be artists in their own right. The drawing out of flavours from a bunch of grapes is not something that happens by accident, but is carefully considered and tweaked by the winemaker throughout the process. The layering of flavours and textures on your plate is not something just thrown together by an amateur in order to fulfill our hunger. It is an artist at work that considers the elements that make up the dish you order. It is a creative, hardworking sole that wants the patron to experience with all of our senses, to enjoy and to savour the manna that God has gifted us.
The building is a piece of art in itself. Designed by Karl Fender to reflect the wine barrel you will want to be shown to the booth style tables located along the window. You will feel like you have scored the private dining room, no matter how busy the restaurant becomes the barrels allow you to enjoy the dining experience in relative peace and seclusion. Perfect for lunch with my husband – oh and my little, almost 2 year old, foodie.
The menu is designed for grazing and therefore for sharing. Our pick of the ‘chipotle wagyu beef burgers’ and ‘chickpea chips’ was the perfect combination. My potato loving husband was amazed at the flavour of the thick cut chips and enjoyed them almost as much as his preferred potato version. I don’t think I would have to ask twice if we were to order them again. The burgers were packed full of flavour and are oh so photogenic (a bloggers dream). Moving onto the more substantial plates we ordered the Jamaican jerk style chicken – depending on your appetite you may need to order another option, as we could have enjoyed another plate before moving onto dessert. Now dessert!! This is (as I have mentioned many times before) my favourite part of dining out. It is rare that I will not order dessert and on this occasion the dishes we ordered were perfect. They were light, and full of that naughty goodness that we love about sweet treats. The balance of flavour was perfect and they did not sit heavy in your stomach afterward. If you want something fresh and more like a pallet cleanser, the ‘pink peppercorn meringue, watermelon and lime’ is the way to go, however, my preference was the ‘malt panna cotta’ as it was the perfect balance of rich, smooth and naughty.
Honestly, the service was right on point – from the warm, friendly and professional welcome expressed by Peter to the explanation of the menu and attentiveness from Amanda. Both were happy and approachable with great product knowledge.
A must at Levantine Hill is a wine tasting. This is where you find out that it is all about family for this establishment. Each paddock of grapes within the Estate is named after the women of the family that own the property. I was blessed enough to try the rare and spectacular Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir. This wine is named after the wife, mother and owner and is light and fruity yet has such an earthy undertone. Although we did not try wines from the daughter’s paddocks, it will definitely be a part of my return visit to the establishment. I do intend on returning to experience and share with you all the still anticipated degustation by Ezard – so stay tuned.
View my adventures over on my YouTube channel (Yarra Valley Life) or click here for my video on Ezard @ Levantine Hill.