Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mornington Peninsula: Stillwater at Crittenden

Crittenden Estate '09 Pinot Noir

There are few things that can lure me from the comfort of a luxurious goose-down doona, but the prospect of a nice dinner is definitely one of them!  A short drive from Tussie Mussie Vineyard Retreat is Stillwater restaurant, located within the Crittenden Estate winery.

Stillwater at Crittenden
25 Harrisons Road
Dromana, Vic 3936
Ph: (03) 5981-9555


Overlooking the vineyard's lake, Stillwater is a popular spot for lunches and daytime functions - I'm sure the deck would be a lovely spot on a sunny day!


Whilst perusing the menu, we nibbled on hot and fluffy bread rolls dipped in grassy olive oil and spicy dukkah.
Hot and fluffy bread rolls

Salt, olive oil, dukkah
We were having a little trouble deciding on what to order, so Chef Zac Poulier kindly selected a few sharing dishes for us that would showcase what Stillwater has to offer.

First up was a braised beef short rib.
Braised short rib of Gippsland beef, with a soba noodle salad
The short rib of Gippsland beef had been slowly braised in Asian masterstock with kecap manis, resulting in super-tender meat and a gorgeous sweet, sticky glaze. The accompanying soba noodle salad, with water chestnut, bean shoots and coriander, complemented the beef well, providing a lighter point of contrast. I tend to avoid ordering Asian-style meals at non-Asian restaurants, but this was delicious!
Mmm... melty beef

Mussels cooked with cream, shallots, wine & parsley, Garlic bread
The mussels were cooked in a classic style, with shallots, cream, wine and parsley, served with a crunchy slice of garlic bread. The flavours were nice and strong, and the mussels were very fresh - a great dish.

Twice cooked pork belly, honeyed onion puree, radicchio & apple salad and apple caviar - $22.00
Our final savoury course was the very decadent pork belly.  The pork was tender and pleasantly fatty, with a crisp layer of crackling on top.  It was served with a refreshing radicchio and apple salad, and topped with cute little balls of apple "caviar".  I'd never had apple caviar before, and really enjoyed the little bursts of apple freshness! (Tiny Urban Kitchen recently did an excellent, step-by-step post on this technique of molecular gastronomy).

Now, whilst we greatly enjoyed the savoury dishes, the desserts were absolutely fantastic!  Definitely save room for dessert if you're planning a visit.
Vanilla Crème Brulée made with free-range eggs, poached rhubarb & a hazelnut tuille - $16.00
The crème brulée was beautifully light - I wondered if the custard was lightened with whipped cream - with the requisite thin and crackly sugar crust.  The brittle hazelnut tuille shards and tart poached rhubarb added lovely textural and flavour contrasts.

I daresay that the dessert I ordered was even better! I'd been tossing up between the chocolate fondant and the pear and frangipane tart, and I'm so glad I ended up choosing the tart - it was so good!
Spiced pear, fig & frangipane puff pastry tart with a honey glaze & pistachio ice-cream - $15.00
The puff pastry base was buttery and flaky, topped with sweet almond frangipane, soft pears and roasted figs, all drizzled with a honey glaze.  The highlight of the dessert, however, was the amazing pistachio ice-cream.  It can be a bit of a gamble ordering pistachio ice-cream - at some places they can be luridly green, tasting strongly of horrible artificial essence, but this one was gorgeously mild and all natural, tasting of actual pistachios. What a treat!

A big thanks to Chef Zac Poulier for a lovely meal!


Sarah and Sandra dined as guests of Stillwater at Crittenden and Mornington Peninsula Tourism.

This is the third post from my 2012 Mornington Peninsula Trip series.


Stillwater at Crittenden on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

Sophie said...

The food looks amazing!

How was the wine from the estate? Was it a good match for the food?

Sarah said...

Sophie - Yes, the wine was delicious! I love pinot noir, and this one was a great match for the dishes (even the seafood!)

Iron Chef Shellie said...

Yum Creme Brulee! and well hot and fluffy bread rolls are always welcome :)

Not Quite Nigella said...

That tart looks amazing! And I hear you re. the pistachio ice cream. I hear sometimes places use pistachio paste which is enhanced with almond as it is less expensive than pure pistachio. But when you find a real pistachio ice cream-wowee! :D

Not Quite Nigella said...

That tart looks amazing! And I hear you re. the pistachio ice cream. I hear sometimes places use pistachio paste which is enhanced with almond as it is less expensive than pure pistachio. But when you find a real pistachio ice cream-wowee! :D

cara waters said...

Pinot noir is just about my favourite wine variety - sounds like this one was great. Love the look of the creme brulee as well.