We decided on Labour Day that we will make a trip up to Mornington Peninsula. God bless the souls working in the restaurants/wineries eventhough our menu had a 10% surcharge for public holidays. We took to the "Hatted" guide to make our choice for lunch and we had three one hat restaurants in the region. Is it you, you or you? We decided that we will start off with Ten Minutes By Tractor.
The name comes from the fact that there have 3 wine yards which are approximately a ten minute ride by tractor away from each other. Meaningful yet catchy name.
Having a meal here means you get to do a free wine tasting session which would otherwise cost you $5 but refundable if you buy a bottle of wine. 3 whites and 2 reds, the one that really caught our palate was their Chardonnay, not as tart like the cheaper ones and a range of fruity flavours once you swirl in your mouth.
Back to the food.
Warm bread greets you with an accompaniment of unsalted butter (with an option of rock salt for you) or olive oil that is made by them. The olive oil was luscious and gorgeous even though melting butter is about the greatest invention that goes with bread.
Now unlike the upcoming trend where everything is about degustation and multiple courses, some going into 2 digits, you have a choice between 2 courses or 3 courses from the ala carte menu. Their menu changes according to season so 4 times in a year. I have just realised that we have now moved on to autumn and what we had was the summer menu menu so you will have to bear with me in terms of what I remember about the plate. Prices that day were 75 for 2 courses or 97 for 3 courses, their websites shows its 68 and 88 on normal days.
The Wife had the starter which had 2 main components, seared tuna and crab. Paired with juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado, it was good but probably sounded a little better on paper.
I had the quail for an entree, this was pretty generous. The quail was perfectly cooked although I always prefer a little more colour on the skin. Served alongside a combination of jamon, pea puree and pear, this was a good starter to the meal. You got to like the egg / bird combination too although not necessary in this case.
The timing between the courses wasn't too long, just long enough for you to have a chat and talk about the dish or walk towards the window (you lucky fellows who had the window view) and admire the serene view of the wine yard.
Eye fillet or Tenderloin with seasonal vegetables and a red wine and onion jus. The beef was overcooked, we had asked for medium and it came out looking more like medium well. I have been trying to get the Wife to eat beef at medium rare because it tastes so much better but shes been put off by the juice / blood that oozes out. Of course that's my fault as I can never find the patience to rest my meat. Anyways back to the dish, the star was in the jus. It was that good that when we switched plates, I had to ask for another piece of bread and proceeded to almost clean the plate. The waiter obviously didn't had to ask how the food was, as evident by the clean plate.
The lamb rack was sous vide but probably pan fried to finish it off to give the crust a texture. I had a milder jus than the beef but it worked well with the delicate pink lamb. Gosh if only I had more than 2 racks. The seasonal vegetables on the plate are apparently grown on site so this was the freshest vegetables one could eat. Another beautifully composed dish.
Despite my complaint about having been served 2 racks, that extra piece of bread by now had filled me up. The original idea of going 3 courses per person suddenly became over ambitious and we decided to share a dessert instead.
Our dessert was a mixture of chocolate ganache, berries and coconut ice cream. Rich, rich and rich but could have benefited with a little more texture.
With no room left for even coffee, we were left with our petit fours and thus ends our meal.
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Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Worthy of the hat, good food and good views.