Oakdene Vineyards Restaurant
255 Grubb Road
(03) 5255 1255

Above image from Oakdene website

You know how I said I was at the beach over New Year and thus there was a small hiatus in my posting? This is what I was doing: swimming, sunbaking and eating at Oakdene, one of my favourite restaurants.

Every year I visit Queenscliff, a small coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula. My family and I have been visiting for as long as I can remember, however, it has only been in the last few years that we have discovered this quaint little gem of a restaurant.

Oakdene is a 230 acre property surrounded by vineyard. Established in 2001, it boasts plantings of Shiraz (my favourite), Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Their first vintage in 2005 saw their Pinot Noir and Shiraz awarded medals at the 2006 Geelong Wine Show, and the following year saw the 2006 Chardonnay awarded wine of show. Not bad, but while the wine is good, the food is what keeps bringing me back.

Having closed over Christmas and New Year, Mother-K, her partner Mr H and I decided we would treat ourselves to dinner at Oakdene the night they were re-opening. We arrived precisely at 7 o’clock and were shown to a lovely table on the terrace. I was a little surprised to find it was a set-menu, as previously it had been a-la-carte. At $65pp with a choice of entree, main and dessert, however, I wasn’t complaining!

After placing our order, we were treated to crusty bread served with their own olive oil. Yum. As I sipped on my 2008 Shiraz, I eagerly waited for the meal to come, however, due to re-opening night jitters it did take some time for us to receive our meal. I was ravenous by the time our food arrived an hour later, but was not diappointed.

I decided to go with the scallops to start, Mother-K chose the foie gras pâté while Mr H chose the beetroot and whipped goats curd.

My scallops were cooked to perfection, their sweetness perfectly accented by the sweetness of the accompanying mango. Mother-K’s pâté was soft and luxurious, however, it was Mr-H’s whipped goats cheese and beetroot that was the real winner. A classic pairing, the sharp goats cheese was mellowed by the sweet beetroot, and given an earthy twist with the addition of the pine nuts.

Having finished our entrees, I hoped we would not experience the same wait for our mains. We did. And with added complications – an hour after our entree, our waitress informed us they were out of the Salmon Mr-H had ordered, so he opted for the same as Mother-K: pan-roasted barramundi. When the food arrived (suspiciously quickly after that) we were further surprised when the waitress brought a 4th dish – the originally ordered salmon to the table. Given the choice Mr-H stuck with the barramundi, and good thing he did.

Merely by it’s appearance is superseded the salmon. Accompanied by spiced coleslaw, asparagus, green harissa and mustard seed vinaigrette, it was a terrific balance of middle-eastern flavours.

Fearing I was low on iron, I opted for the steak with sweet potato and mushrooms. A simplistic, earthy dish, it relied almost solely on the quality of the beef. It did not disappoint.

With our mains came a serve of roasted chat potatoes and green beans. I was a little disappointed with the serving size, as I felt it was probably more suitable as a serve of 2 rather than 3.

I was truly satisfied after my steak, but from previous visits I knew it was the dessert tasting plate that was the real crowd-pleaser.

Amazing. I love tasting plates – and on this one there are no wrong choices. A selection of sorbets – ginger, strawberry, raspberry and a forth that from memory may have been mango (the last two were served with a delicate tuile), chocolate pudding with gold leaf, lemon meringue with blueberries, strawberry bavois, and a vanilla brulee topped with strawberries and ice cream. Simply delicious.

Overall I was more than satisfied with my meal at Oakdene. On this particular visit, we were only let down by the service, which on previous occasions has been impeccable. I will chalk it up to re-opening night jitters on this occasion, as nothing could tarnish my opinion of this exceptional restaurant.

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