R&R Day in the Yarra Valley

1/25/2014 11:26:00 PM

When my friend Adrian suggested we all spend a day in the Yarra Valley, getting spa treatments, tasting wines and enjoying lunch, I had to think about it. For a second! All of my favourite activities in one day? Yes please! You all know I love the Yarra Valley, and I've blogged about it several times over the years: Cheese and Champers (2006), Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander (2011), Visiting the Cider and Ale Trail in 2012 on a complimentary media trip, and another Weekend Away in 2012.

View from Piaf Day Spa

We started off bright and early, leaving Melbourne at 8am to get to the day spa, with a little stop for coffee on the way. We'd all booked various treatments at Piaf Day Spa, including, between four of us, relaxation massages, a spa pedicure with bonus hot stone foot massage, facials, and a private Hydro-spa. Piaf had great views of the rainforest, and a lovely relaxing atmosphere. However, I should mention that the lady who welcomed us (the owner, I think?) was rather brusque and seemed annoyed that we "only" arrived ten minutes early and really tried to rush us through. Oh well! Not the best way to start a day of R&R, but the treatments themselves were overall pretty good.

Lunch was a short drive away, at Yering Station.

Yering Station Wine Bar Restaurant
38 Melba Highway
Yarra Glen, VIC 3775 
Ph: (03) 9730-0100
Yering Station on Urbanspoon

I'd been meaning to visit Yering Station ever since I attended a fab cooking class taught by Chef Matthew Macartney at the Electrolux Cooking School in Victoria Market, and I'm so glad I finally visited! It was great! I loved the light-filled room, and the waiters who served us were all very friendly and laid-back, but still efficient and totally across the menu and wine list - they were easily able to answer questions and recommend things. Yay!

Yering Station

2004 Yarrabank Cuvée Late Disgorged - $14

The waiter suggested the Yarrabank Cuvée Late Disgorged when I asked for a by-the-glass sparkling wine recommendation. He asked if I was really like my sparkling wines (oh, what a silly question, haha), and when I replied that I most certainly do, he suggested going for the late disgorged, which has spent eight years on lees and has a nose of "lovely yeast autolysis". I have no idea what that actually means, but it was certainly a beautiful sparkling wine! And whilst I'm on the subject, I've decided that I'd really like to do a Champagne tasting class. Is this a thing? Can anyone recommend one?

Yering Station 2010 Chardonnay - $12

Two of us ordered a glass each of the 2010 Chardonnay, and it was really delightful - only lightly oaky, very fresh and crisp. Perfect for a warm day! The menu also includes the Yering Station Reserve Chardonnay at $19.50 a glass, and given the difference in price, we weren't sure if it would have been worth it, so stuck with the normal Chardonnay. (Just so you know, after the meal, we went to the cellar door and tasted the Reserve Chardonnay. It would have totally been worth it.)

Okay, food! First up was house-baked bread with hazelnut dukkah.

House-baked bread with hazelnut dukkah

We decided just to get mains, as we wanted to save room for dessert. It turned out to be a good move, as they were all quite generously portioned!

Beef eye fillet, cherry tomato and salted ricotta salad, fried zucchini flower, red wine just - $42

Adrian said he'd seen the eye fillet when he'd visited Yering Station the week before with his coworkers, and had such a case of dish-envy that he knew he'd have to order it for himself this time! Isn't it beautiful? Two of us on the table ordered this, and both steaks were cooked perfectly - medium rare just as requested.

Garlic and lemon-infused chicken, creamed saffron and leek, green peppercorn jus - $39

There were a lot of great flavours and textures in the chicken dish, but Sandra did mention that she would have preferred for the creamed saffron and leek to be served warm, rather than fridge cold. She couldn't finish it, so - muahaha - I got to try some. The terrine was made up of nice big chunks of chicken meat, and that jus was intensely savoury and rich. Yum.

Snapper fillet, pomme macaire, scallop, bacon, caviar, lemon thyme cream - $40

I cannot resist a scallop. Or bacon. Or pommes, in any form. I didn't know what pomme macaire was, but it turns out it's like a disc of mashed potato, fried in a pan until just a little crispy on both sides. Needless to say, this potato queen loved it. The skin on the snapper was cooked until wonderfully crisp, but the inside was still moist and tender. I saved the scallop for last, and it was just perfect! With that lemon thyme cream, some caviar and a slice of bacon - what a treat!

And speaking of treats, we ordered two serves of thick cut chips with bacon aioli. They were just as delicious as they sound.

Thick cut chips, bacon aioli - $9

Yering Station

Though the mains were delicious, we decided to try dessert at a different venue, and ended up at Domaine Chandon.

Greenpoint Brasserie
Domaine Chandon
727 Maroondah Highway
Coldstream, VIC 3770
Ph: (03) 9738-9245

Greenpoint Brasserie at Chandon

We sat outside, and got a great view of the vineyards.

View from the Brasserie

Domaine Chandon Pinot Gris 2013 - $10.50 a glass

Strawberry pannacotta with spiced white chocolate ganache and pink macaroons - $15.90

Banoffee style caramel, crisp chocolate pearls, banana ice cream and freeze dried banana - $17.00

Now, the whilst the desserts were both nice, I didn't feel they were particularly special or memorable. They were just, well, fine. However, the atmosphere of the outdoor area is really lovely, so I suppose that's what you're paying for. I'd like to mention that the waitress who served us (Anissa, I think) was awesome! She was very welcoming, friendly and accommodating.

On the way home, we stopped in at the Yarra Valley Dairy, picking up a fresh pyramid and a jar of Juno for dinner later that night.

Cheese and bread from Yarra Valley Dairy, with added salami and truffle honey

What a great day! Thank-you to Adrian for organising!!!

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  1. It feels unfair that you get to have such a day of magic when I just turned into a walking snowman coming back from the grocery store, but I guess that's life. I shall endeavour to feel happy for you.

  2. Love the presentation of the chicken but shame about the creamed saffron. Fridge-cold anything is always jarring on the palate!

  3. The Yarra Vsalley is one of my favourite places to visit. Matthew is such a great chef I agree! When we dined at Chateau Yering, all the power went out and the kitchen didn't miss a beat!

  4. Sounds like a terrible day of pampering, excellent food and wine, and great company. I'm so sorry you had to have such a terrible day! ;)

  5. I haven't tried myself, but am intrigued by the idea of The Champagne Dame:



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