Centennial Vineyards re-run

It had been years since my last visit to Centennial Vineyards and yet I vividly remember the beautiful surrounds, the amazing food presentation and the lovely company I was with. I wanted to share this experience with TimmyC and some very close friends, so when we found ourselves booking a weekend away in Bowral, it was definitely one of the first places that I booked.

The menu had many crowd pleasers and that made it difficult to decide what to order, but TimmyC chose all three of his courses within two minutes of looking at the menu. I adjusted my order knowing that TimmyC was a light weight and I would get to try his meals as well.

Amuse Bouche~

Curried parsnip soup. A nice way to start the meal. It reminded me of the curry pasta from Continental range, but it was very smooth and silky.Grazing~

Pulled lamb shoulder, flat bread, yoghurt and mint jelly (2 pieces $15.00).Entree~

The Centennial tasting slate salmon, pork terrine, goats cheese tart, cauliflower soup, rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto, chicken pate with a crouton ($24.00). An option for the indecisive, so I obviously chose it as my entree as it had a nice range of things to taste. I can sense that my taste buds are changing and now I’m more open to pate and the like but still my favourite was the tart or the terrine, while my friend really enjoyed the rockmelon wrapped with proscuitto.

Seared scallops, bacon relish, apple and radish salad ($24.00). A perfect combination of juicy scallops and bacon with a little bit of sweetness from the apple. Definitely my pick of entrees if I didn’t want to try a bit of everything.Pasta~

Rotolo pasta of braised lamb, feta, olives and eggplant, romesco sauce ($29.00). I have never seen a pasta served like this and from afar it almost looked like lamb served with a big bone in. My friend enjoyed his pasta but the serve was on the smaller side.Main~

Cider braised pork belly, caramelised applies, sage and onion puree, smoked ham hock crouqette, crispy crackling ($38.00). The crackling was super crispy as promised and it provided a good contrasting texture to the ridiculously tender fall apart pork. This was definitely a winter warmer dish with all the rich components and very filling portion.Butchers weekly choice cut (Sirloin) cooked to your liking served with watercress, cafe de Paris butter and onion rings ($40.00). I would have much rather a lightly dressed salad if they insisted on greenery but instead they chose watercress and a lot of it. I really enjoyed the onion rings, they were well crumbed and crunchy without being overly oily. The steak was okay, I didn’t think it was well seasoned but that’s where handfuls of chips between each bite came in handy. I think I had food envy from the people who ordered the pork belly.Slow cooked duck leg, Centennial Pinot Noir sauce, crumbed beetroot gnocchi, Tuscan cabbage and bacon ($37.00)Sides~

Cauliflower and cheese gratin ($9.00). A nice cheesy cauliflower gratin, what’s there not to like?

Fries with Dijon mustard mayonnaise ($9.00). Came out hot and fresh from the kitchen and definitely went well with my steak.Desserts~

Banoffee ice cream sundae ($16.00). This was a delicious dessert with generous portions but I would not have called it a banoffee anything. With all the different ice creams and caramel sauce, it really just reminded us of a sundae.Trio of chocolate mousse ($16.00). I felt that the milk chocolate mousse was so light and silky, it quickly became my favourite amongst the trio, although the dessert as a whole was visually stunning. It isn’t a large dessert for the price but my friend and I still had to share since the entree and main sizes were ample.Everyone really enjoyed all of their courses but for me it didn’t live up to what I remembered it a few years ago. I don’t know if they have changed chefs, but the food wasn’t as good even though it still stands for a stunning backdrop for a wedding (the main dining area is always set up for a wedding as it is a popular choice for a venue). The service was very attentive and friendly. Though they made several mistakes on the bill, they were more than happy to adjust it.

Centennial Vineyards Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flint in the Vines

My friends and I had been wanting to go to Flint in the Vines for a long time, but between lack of planning and untimely renovations we hadn’t gone out there until recently. It was lovely sunny day and it really didn’t take that long to drive out there even with the road works.

I had literally thrown on a(nother) dress after eating waffles and bacon for breakfast and started driving to Murrumbateman, so when my friends suggested to share some entrees and starters I had no particular objection.Starters~

Wood fired Camembert apple compote, red wine reduction, warmed ciabatta ($22.00). This ingredients make for a winning combination, the only downside was that the Camembert was not gooey enough, if it had a tad longer in the oven it would have heavenly. It wouldn’t have really have needed more than a minute or two to become perfection.Entrees~

Lamb roulade carrot and parsnip puree, plum jam, mint verde, truffled sweet potato chips ($17.00). I had let everyone else choose our entrees and starters that we were sharing and concentrated on choosing my own main therefore I wasn’t quite sure what we ordered. When I took a mouthful of this I was so surprised about how much flavour there was. The lamb flavours were robust and complimented by the sweet condiments, if I ordered this again, I would not share.
Butter poached prawns anchovy mousse egg-lasagna sheet, sage butter, baby herbs ($19.00). This looked really small and simple in contrast to the lamb but the flavours were just as pronounced. It was absolutely divine! It was to be expected though, who doesn’t love sage in butter *licks lips*. This looked a lot smaller than the other dish.Four dainty prawns hidden under a blanket of pasta.
Pizza~
Caprese basil pesto, sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, bocconcini, balsamic glaze, fresh basil ($25.00). I must have been a pain to dine with, like a little child I couldn’t help myself but play with the mini lazy Susan that it came on. My friend liked the pizza base and the pizza itself, but towards the end it tasted like it was really tomato heavy and was starting to become an antipasto plate in her mouth.
Mains~
Confit Duck Maryland braised red cabbage, confit fennel, candied nashi pear, orange and anise jus ($34.00). The duck could have been a tad crispier but it was still really good and paired perfectly with all the sweet fruit and vegetables.
Honey brined pork loin romesco, sauteed cabbage, mushroom and sweet peppers, pesto ($33.00). The brine kept the whole piece of loin really juicy and delicious.
Chargrilled eye fillet potato and leek vichyssoise, sauteed baby winter veg, chilli jam ($35.00). As much as I love beef, I really mainly ordered this for the potato and leek vichyssoise. I didn’t know what it was exactly, I just guessed it was going to be a lovely rich white sauce made like one of my favourite soups! The eye fillet was cooked perfectly, it was juicy all over and it dish itself was stunning as it showed off an array of colour of baby winter vegetables.
 When uploading this photo, I got instantly hungry again. 
Sides~ all sides $9.00

Sautéed Dutch carrots almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes. The carrots were slightly harder than I would have liked but I couldn’t get over how amazing the combination of almond cream, shallots, smoked paprika and toasted almond flakes was! People need to know about this.Roasted pumpkin & spinach salad fetta, toasted walnuts, honey & rosemary vinaigrette. So I might have rolled my eyes when the girls I was dining with suggested a salad to share but this was simplicity at its best. I loved this so much that later on in the week I made my own version at home. The rosemary flavour was subtle but vital to the salad’s amazingness (is that a word, probably not). Dessert~ all desserts were $16.00

Vanilla and nashi pear tapioca pudding stewed rhubarb Persian fairy floss, ginger and lemon biscuit. I was excited to taste this because I love nashi pears but I couldn’t really taste it despite chunks of it throughout the whole pudding. This reminded me of a vanilla rice pudding, not the sweetest dessert also not the easiest to share.
 
Lamington fondant (allow 15 minutes) dark chocolate fondant, raspberry jam, coconut ice cream, toasted coconut. This could have been one rich dessert but I was pleasantly surprised that the middle wasn’t runny lava made up of OTT molten cocoa, it was just moist and bitter enough to enhance the sweetness of the jam. When it was paired with all the coconut aspects, it created a perfect balance of flavours and you could eat the whole dish without feeling sick afterwards.                                                    
The food was absolutely wonderful set in an unpretentious, family friendly atmosphere and the waitresses were friendly, helpful and attentive. I haven’t been wowed by a Canberra restaurant (and surrounds) for a while, but this restaurant unexpectedly surprised me with its food quality. I am very keen to go back out again soon.

Venue: Flint in the Vines
Address: 34 Isabel Drive Murrumbateman NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6227 5144 *
* Please note this phone line is answered between Wednesday and Sunday.
Business Hours:
Lunch – Thursday to Sunday
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday
Entertainment book card: Yes! Don’t forget to use it
2% Surcharge for Amex
10% Surcharge Sundays
15% Surcharge Public Holidays

Click to add a blog post for Flint in the Vines on Zomato

Clonakilla: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

When we turned into Clonakilla winery which was just a short bus trip away from Four Winds vineyard, foodies who knew their wine got really excited. To be honest, I had never heard of Clonakilla but nor do I indulge in the art of wine tasting. I was out of my element as there was only wine tasting at this venue because who else wants more food straight away after lunch except for me apparently but I did ask several people what they thought of the wine.

These vines get progressively older as you look from left to right of the vineyard, some of their fruit also comes from down the road.20140612-230726-83246704.jpgWho is ready for some wine tasting?20140612-230729-83249605.jpgSampling and note taking, we humans are good are multitasking!20140612-230731-83251022.jpgThere were multiple tastings and it turns out that everyone liked something different but their reds were particularly sort after. We (and by ‘we’ I mean the other humans) started with white wines like Viognier and Chardonnay and progressed through to the rich reds like Pinot Noir and the highly anticipated Shiraz Viognier. I was contemplating buying a bottle for my friend who loves good red and endorses buying locally but after guesstimations with fellow humans that the bottle I was looking at could be $100+, I was just going to settle for just telling her about coming out here and buying the wine (sorry Tanya!).

A close up of the beautiful colour of the wine, sorry I forget which one this was.20140612-230734-83254079.jpgThe brand is rich in history with the family’s roots extending from Ireland being translated through their wine label art work and even the name ‘Clonakilla’ means Meadow of the Church in Gaelic. It all started when John Kirk moved out to Australia after accepting a job in scientific research at CSIRO Plant Industry and planted vines in 1971. Later on in 1985, he was the first in the country to plant Viognier after some encouragement from his son. Since then the business has been kept mainly in the family having all the brothers sitting on the board with Tim Kirk as CEO and chief winemaker who has won Winemaker of the Year in 2013.20140612-230735-83255398.jpgWho knew this very successful vineyard was just on our front door step! Clonakilla are in the process of expanding their cellar door and hope it will be completed in a years time. 20140612-230724-83244061.jpgVenue: Clonakilla

Address: 3 Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman, NSW 2582

Phone: (02) 6227 5877

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.

Four Winds Vineyard: A day of Food and Wine #humanbrochure

The next stop during our day of food and wine tour was at the Four Winds Vineyard, I was truly lost after I had my head down instagramming and looked up and saw nothing but green lush grass and picturesque scenery. I know this is technically in NSW and not Canberra but I figure it’s like what Australia does when a New Zealander becomes really famous, they are close enough so we claim them as our own.20140610-222433-80673254.jpgWe were greeted by Bill Crowe the winemaker and his sister-in-law and business manager of the vineyard, Sarah Collingwood. We were told that this was a family run business consisting of only six people, it was founded by the parents Suzanne and Graeme Lunney and both their daughters and their husbands got involved with the winery too.

We start piling into Four Winds vineyard’s cellar door.20140610-222427-80667611.jpg

20140610-222431-80671710.jpgWe then took a stroll through the vineyard, past the free roaming chickens to where they house their stainless steel vats. We all half joked that would wouldn’t mind one of these vats in our homes, but I’m pretty sure some of us heavily considered rolling one back to the bus. We all took a sample of their Riesling which was yet to be filtered and scheduled to be bottled next week but we before all started sipping away, Bill taught us all how to properly taste wine in several steps.

Wine has a lot of volatile aroma compounds and to capture all this, you have to stick your nose in the glass and smell the wine. After this, you swirl the wine in the glass to create a thin coating around the inside of the glass and then smell it again, the scent was completely different and I was really astounded. I thought pompous people just swirled it to look fancy, who knew that there was an actual logic to it. Following all the smelling, you’re supposed to sip some wine and hold it in your mouth, that was the fourth step while the fifth step was to suck in some air at the same time as the wine passes through your mouth but even Bill admits that it is a bit OTT and hates it when people do it.

Just strolling through the vineyard, life is hard.

20140610-222421-80661874.jpgThe old school contraption they use for ‘pressing’.20140610-222654-80814690.jpgFour Winds vineyard uses stainless steel vats for their fermentation process.20140610-222650-80810380.jpgI didn’t say ‘when’.20140610-222651-80811835.jpgShowing off their Riesling paired with my nails.20140610-222656-80816515.jpgFollowing our lesson in wine tasting, our senses were then really put to the test when we went through a ‘blind sniff test’ where we had to pair different scents in numbered bottles to familiar foods and flowers. I didn’t do too badly but I didn’t get around to smelling all the bottles before we started marking. The different kind of berries definitely confused my nose.

Ready, set, sniff! 20140610-222656-80816125.jpgThe local humans putting their nose to the test.20140610-222657-80817810.jpgAfter Emelia took the prize for having the best sense of smell (full marks!), we all headed back down to the winery where we found Graeme cooking up wood fired pizzas with a variety of toppings: BBQ chicken; potato and gorgonzola;  and salami and black olive. I was trying to create a facade that I can’t eat a whole pizza to myself with ease by I only take two of the three flavours of pizza and a bit of salad. The pizza bases that are made on the premises was so good and really brought out the flavours of the toppings, they were simple but yet so tasty. They brought out so many pizzas and I had to go for seconds! The pizzas were also served with a side of two salads and all the ingredients were really fresh and delicious. Our non gluten vegetarian friend was taken care of with her very own gluten-free pizza base with potato and gorgonzola. The toppings weren’t too ‘busy’ so the natural flavours of the ingredients had to stand alone without a heavy cheese blanket to hide under.20140610-222659-80819136.jpg20140610-222758-80878083.jpgFirst plate!20140610-222759-80879417.jpgOnly on the third stop and some of our fellow humans started to run out of battery, desperate times calls for desperate measures.20140610-222755-80875262.jpgFour Winds vineyard’s cellar door is ready for your tasting.20140610-222756-80876786.jpgI found their cellar door simple and stunning (just like their food!). The building was made from as much recycled products as possible, which I am a very big fan of. The red bricks were recycled, their gorgeous lights are upcycled wine barrels, their unique windows are old wine bottles and part of the building was made with old picking bins and a shipping container.20140610-222423-80663277.jpg

20140610-222434-80674604.jpgI love their funky windows.20140610-222424-80664828.jpgI thought these cards on each table were adorable!20140610-222900-80940654.jpg

Bottles of wine were purchased amongst the happy and full food and wine group and we jumped back on the bus after thanking the Four Winds vineyards for their hospitality.

Venue: Four Winds Vineyard

Address: 9 Patemans Lane Murrumbateman NSW 2582

Phone: 0432 060 903

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.

Lunch with George

——-04/11/2012———

It doesn’t take much to convince me to take a quick drive down the road to have lunch by the lake and it was such a lovely day for great company and good food.

Just having a spot of tea while the ladies indulge in the winery’s chardonnay 2009.

I’m ready for lunch!

Entree~ 

One wonders if they had too much roquette in the kitchen that day.

Garlic bread 

ScallopsQueensland half shell scallops, zucchini puree and smoked tomatoes ($17.00). This was a bit too salty with the tomatoes and zucchini. 

SquidSalt and pepper squid served with westerings spicy mayonnaise ($17.00). This was fabulous! A crispy layer coating very tender pieces of squid.

TartGoat cheese tart, roasted baby beets, prosciutto salad, aged balsamic ($16.00). The goat cheese wasn’t too strong but the tartlet shells were too thick for my liking.

Bruschettawild forest mushrooms and Persian fetta ($17.00). A lovely mixture of mushrooms, my friend said it was lovely. 

Mains~

Chicken Marinated chicken stacked with grilled mint Haloumi, crispy pancetta and skordalia ($28.00). I love Haloumi so I stole all of Timmy’s  pieces but I didn’t think this dish was a particularly special.

BarramundiWild barramundi fillet with smashed peas, salsa rosso and prosciutto sail ($29.00).

Rib eyeRib eye on the bone, baked olive parmesan gnocchi, wilted spinach, red wine and rosemary jus ($33.00). A big piece of meat but it wasn’t the best steak I’ve ever had. The parmesan gnocchi had an interesting texture and I had to re-read the menu to figure out what it was.

Linguine Pan fried prawns, chilli, garlic, semi-dried tomatoes and citrus splash ($28.00). Delicious prawns and a lovely pasta.

DuckDuck confit, Dutch carrots, blood orange, sauterne jus ($27.00). My friend ate the whole thing so it must have been a tasty crispy duck.

Desserts~

There were five dessert choices and there were five of us, it was only logical that we tried one of everything.

White chocolate Zabaglione with berry compote ($13.00). Subtle flavours but it had an odd texture, somewhere between whipped egg whites and froth. They served waaay too much compote.

Vanilla bean panna cotta with warm spring fruit salad ($13.00). The softest panna cotta while still holding it’s shape, it had the most wonderful vanilla taste but the stewed fruit was a bit too much.

Profiterole sandwich with raspberry semi freddo and baked rhubarb ($13.00). This sounded like the most exciting dessert and presentation wise it was beautiful, alas the choux pastry was a bit stale so we ate around it to get to the tasty semi freddo.

Lemon brulee tart with blueberries ($13.00). I thought the base a little thick but delicious.

Chocolate marquise with mixed sorbet ($13.00). This was INTENSE! The sorbets were a lovely and refreshing contrast to pure rich chocolate that was in this dessert.

Lake George Winery isn’t really that far away but at the same time it is far enough to get out from the Canberra and enjoy the surrounding picturesque scenery.

Venue: Lake George Winery

Address: Federal Highway, Lake George, Collector, NSW, 2581

Phone:  (02) 4848 0182

Website: http://www.lakegeorgewinery.com.au/

Opening times:

Restaurant Opening Times:

Thursday to Sunday – 9:00am to 4.30pm

Cellar Door Opening Times:

Wednesday to Sunday – 9:00am to 4.30pm

Lake George Winery Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Mini Winery tour- Lerida Estate

——-25/02/2012——-

Next we headed over to Lerida Estate where they have a cafe with gorgeous views overlooking Lake George and beautiful wines that I’ve tried before.

Life is tough for some, between all the driving, pie eating and taking in all the scenic views, we stopped for a break at Cafe Lerida.

Soy Flat White and Chai Latte – both drinks were lovely but that didn’t really matter when we were enjoying the beautiful views of Lake George.

The man at the cellar tasting area was very helpful and funny, he was able to assist everyone even though the serving area was small but very busy. His knowledge of the wines was next to none, but that’s not why I left with several bottles of wine. The taste of the wines sold the wines.

2009 Shiraz Viognier $49.50  

This wine is made from fruit (95% Shiraz 5% Viognier) grown on our vineyard at Lake George. It is cold soaked for 5 days before fermentation (up to 35º) with hand plunging 3 times a day. It is left on skins for a further 10 days then pressed off to French oak barriques to mature for 15 months.” 

2010 Viognier $22.00  

The grapes for this wine were grown at our vineyard at Lake George. The wine has musk/violet aromas, along with apricot and lemon/lime features.  The 10% fermentation in oak barrels provides a subtle vanilla overtone.

The palate is rich and mouth filling, with a soft, light, chalky tannin finish.

2010 Botrytis Pinot Gris (375ml) $29.50

This is a delightfully sweet wine showing the same nutty, dried apricot, raisin, spice, apple and marmalade aromas as previous vintages of this wine. The palate is warm and unctuous. The wine is balanced by a long acid finish.

This is a gorgeous wine! 

Venue: Lerida Estate

Cellar Door & Café Opening Hours:

Standard Hours:

     Cellar Door: 10am – 5pm daily

     Café Lerida: 10am – 5pm Saturday, Sunday and national public holidays 

Café Bookings: 6295 6640 if booking on weekdays or 4848 0231 if booking on weekends


Mini Winery tour- Lake George Winery

——-25/02/2012——-

So I didn’t drive out for a mini day trip JUST for pies (even though that does sound like something I would do), I was on a mission. My mission if I chose to accept it- personally pick out stunning local wines for a few birthday that were coming up.

I thought I had been to Lake George Winery before but it turns out that I didn’t drive down far enough. During this beautiful sunny day, it showed off the incredible scenic views surrounding Lake George.

If I knew that there was a gorgeous restaurant here, I would have come here for lunch! The menu looked interesting but they are only opened for breakfast and lunch.

They also sell olive oils, jams and chutneys.

I ended up buying several bottles of a beautiful Shiraz (2008) $30.00.

Venue: Lake George Winery

Phone: (02) 4848 0182

Website: www.lakegeorgewinery.com.au