Located next to the White Rabbit brewery, this wine complex is massive and provides generous space for functions, parties and fortunately what we discovered, a lazy lunch on the deck that is covered not only by trees but you can relax under the heat lamps and with a pint of ale (or glass of wine) in your hand, you can gaze out to the green rolling hills in the Maroondah Reservoir Park to the north.
My eyes led me to ordering both the rabbit and hazelnut terrine ($12) and the BBQ spiced quail ($12) from the Tapas menu as starters. The terrine was soft and easily spreadable on the bread that was provided and when complimented with the apple and celery remoulade, provided a vibrant taste and left me wanting more. Fortunately I was able to enjoy 50% of the BBQ quail, which was small but plump. Grilled to perfection and accompanied with pomegranate and walnut dressing, provided not only a bridge but a great excuse to order another pint of White Rabbit. The serene location with pleasant service was enabling me to chill out for a change and really enjoy the simple pleasures being afforded at the winery.
Pizza has never really excited me. After having a decent one just the other week at +39 Pizzeria on Little Bourke Street there was a certain amount of expectation around what I consider good however the four cheese pizza on offer, made simply with asiago, teleggio, buffalo mozzarella, cravero parmesan and locally sourced roast garlic ($23) blew me away. This wood fired pizza had to be simply one of the best that I have ever had. I know that that is a bold statement but I will remain steadfast in defending this opinion until the day I die, or I find something better. The blend of the cheeses combined with the perfect base really energised me, resetting me so to speak so I could get my mind into the zone to undertake some serious wine tasting in the Yarra Valley moving on and a sense of bliss that I do not experience often.
336 Maroondah Hwy., Healesville VIC 3777
(03) 5962 6111
My Rating: 14.5/20
Value For Money: 3/5
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
At the time of this post, 87% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Innocent Bystander Winery.