Highlight - Assiette of desserts
Lowlight - Tiny servings
Due to the popularity of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Salix restaurant was fully booked on Sunday for lunch so we decided to dine at the bistro instead.
My best friend and I overestimated the travel time and we ended up arriving half an hour early to the winery. As such we decided to enjoy some wine tasting while we waited for the other guests to arrive. For $5 we sampled six different wines from the Willow Creek Vineyard. My favourite was the 2006 Willow Creek Vineyard Brut, made of equal parts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
We chose the 2 course ‘Express Lunch’ which gave us two options for both entrée and main.
To start I ordered the beetroot cured ocean trout which reminded me of the salmon I had at Livingroom in Malvern. I was hoping it would be similar but unfortunately the beetroot flavour didn’t really come through in the trout, maybe because the portion was so small I couldn’t really taste it. The highlight of the dish for me was the rillette with a squeeze of lemon juice, which had just the right amount of each ingredient to balance out the flavours.
For mains, the slow cooked lamb shoulder was super tender and I just wanted to have more but there were only two mouth fulls on the plate. I wasn’t fond of the polenta, it was quite bland and I would have much preferred a simple mash instead. My dining companions were pleased with the four pieces of delicate gnocchi pillows but again, could have had a handful more.
I was still a little hungry after mains so was super keen for dessert. We ordered one platter of desserts and one pavlova to share between us six girls. I’m not a huge fan of pavlova but I enjoyed this, it was both light and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. This was topped with a musk flavoured fairy floss and a pear and apple compote.
When the assiette of desserts came to the table it looked divine and I couldn’t wait to dig in! I loved the rich chocolate ice cream with bursts of honey cubes, the vanilla crème brulee with coffee poached pear, and the honeycomb bavarois with peach and plum compote. I’m very much a sweet tooth so it was all yummy to me!
We had no complaints with the service, the staff were pleasant and friendly. However, timing between courses was a bit slow and we didn’t get our tea and coffees til a while after our dessert. It would have been nice to enjoy them together.
With floor to ceiling windows, the dining areas looked out towards the vineyards. The sun was out so we were fortunate to enjoy the amazing views.
Our choice of the 2 Course Express Lunch was superb value. For $35 each we received a choice between two dishes per course plus a glass of wine and tea or coffee to finish. For an additional $10, we had the choice of ordering the pavlova (note that there was only one option for dessert). On top of this we were able to use our Entertainment Card to receive 25% off the lot! Considering this, the serving sizes were forgivable.
Best to make a booking as the restaurant and bistro can get quite busy on the weekends. Also if you’re travelling over an hour from Melbourne to eat then you wouldn’t want to take the risk in not getting a table!
Salix Restaurant & Bistro
Willow Creek Winery
166 Balnarring Road, Merricks North Vic 3926
03 5989 7640