Stillwater at Crittenden – 25 Harrisons Rd Dromana – VIC

Posted: January 4, 2015 in Food and wine
Tags: , , , ,

Yet another foodie gem on the Mornington Peninsula wine trail. Stillwater at Crittenden as the name suggests, is located at Crittenden estate, which is technically in Dromana, halfway between the beach and the foothills of Merricks North. It’s a lovely location, and we – that’s Katie and her best friend from the States, Melissa and of course yours truly –  were lucky enough to visit on an amazing day, perfect clear sky’s, beautifully warm, but not too hot at 27C. The Peninsula was certainly turning it on for our overseas guest. The restaurant is nestled between the vineyard and a picturesque lake, and since we got a table out on the deck we were treated to some lovely views. On the way to the restaurant, you walk pass the wine tasting venue which looks fantastic. Unfortunately for me Katie was quite hungry as we were running a little late after picking Melissa up from the Phillip Island ferry. This meant I didn’t get a chance to sample any of the wines before lunch – I had to tried a few from the menu without any prior knowledge… such a tragedy I know!
On weekends, Stillwater has a two or three course menu for $60 of $75, not bad value considering the quality and size of the options. We opted for the three course menu which in hindsight was probably a little bit piggish but who cares – a long lunch in the sunshine with good food, wine and company – Yep, it’s a hard life but someone has to live it.

To begin we chose our starters and Melissa and I chose some wine by the glass. Katie opted for water and the Crispy fried pork belly with green papaya slaw, chilli caramel.

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Although Katie was pleased with her choice she looked a little miffed that she couldn’t indulge in a glass of wine – well, there’s only 10 weeks until our baby girl greets the world so Mum will just have to hold tights and live vicariously through others.

Anyway, I digress, Melissa chose a Rose which I didn’t see on the menu to go with her Poached Crystal Bay prawns with mizuna & shaved cucumber salad and wasabi mayonnaise. Melissa was impressed with her choice and quite enjoyed the freshness of the seafood – as a New York foodie, she has high standards so I’ll take her word that the first course was quite good.

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For some reason I wasn’t that hungry and so I opted to go for lighter options throughout the lunch, for starters I ordered the tempura fried zucchini flowers stuffed with goats curd, with
mizuna, olive tapenade & herb dressing. The zucchini flowers were lovely, and the sharp and creamy goats curd paired really well with the olive tapenade. The mizuna is a little bit peperary and reminds me of roquette. A really lovely course to start with. Since I love Mornington Peninsula Pinot’s, I had decided from the start that I would try a couple – I started with  the 2012 Crittenden “Kangerong”  Pinot Noir which was lovely, and great example of a peninsula style Pinot.

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For the main course the girls decided to go for the lamb and the steak, whist I opted for the market fish, which was a lovely fillet of Barramundi, served over cous cous, with snow peas and pistachios. I really enjoyed my meal and both Melissa and Katie quite enjoyed there’s, although I had to help them finish them as they both felt it best to save some room for dessert. The bowl of chips and aioli that we decided to get to share wasn’t necessary as all the meals were quite generously proportioned. I had picked the 2012 Crittenden Estate “The Zumma” Pinot Noir as my second wine and whilst it wasn’t the ideal match for the fish, it was really a lovely wine, and matched really well with Katie’s lamb, which I had to sample of course, and Melisss’s eye filet, which I kindly finished for her.

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Finally, we all ordered our desserts, although I was struggling to work out exactly where I was going to fit mine in. We had to shift tables as the sun had moved and we no longer had any shade –  Katie and I were getting the full force of the sunshine, which was just a little too much at 4pm in the middle of the Australian summer. Thankfully there was a table in the shade on the deck and we finished our long lazy lunch there. I had the Vanilla Crème Brulée and poached pear, Katie ordered the strawberry cheesecake which had strawberry coulis and sorbet with a crumble thing on the side which was delicious, and Melissa got the selection of house made ice cream – also outstanding

I’d have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable winery restaurant experiences I’ve had not just on the Peninsula, but anywhere in Australia. Crittenden have the experience and location to deliver a fantastic food and wine experience which lives up to the expectations and price. I’d highly recommend stopping here for lunch if you are on a tour in the area.

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