Mornington Peninsula brunch – Trofeo Estate winery
Finding a decent Mornington Peninsula brunch isn’t easy, especially before the main summer holiday season sets in. After an extraordinary degustation lunch at Ten Minutes By Tractor the day before, we couldn’t possibly fit in any dinner. When the next morning rolled around we were starving.
Our friends The Artist and Easily Pleased spend a reasonable amount of time on the Mornington Peninsula – about an hour’s drive south-east of the city of Melbourne. It’s now one of Victoria’s premier wine districts with a huge number of cellar doors and some excellent food experiences. There are also some great beaches, particularly for surfers, but be warned the water (year round) remains fairly cold.
We’d spent the night at a golf resort hotel but rather than eat breakfast there, we decided to explore the area. Nearby Dromana seemed the best option and we were heartily recommended by our friends to try the restaurant at the Trofeo Estate winery.
The winery’s claim to fame is fermenting and maturing its wines from terracotta pots. The Mornington Peninsula is generally considered a cool climate for vines but Trofeo is quite close to the water and the winery’s website says its Dromana vines are exposed to warmer and drier conditions than other sites in the hinterland.
But we were there for food rather than booze; the restaurant is housed next to the tasting room in an 80-year-old two-storey stone building, with soaring ceilings. Opening at 9am on weekends, we were the first to arrive and had the area to ourselves for around the first half an hour, looking peaceably over a small dam and a healthy number of ducks.
We’d been told we needed to vacate our table by 10.30am. No problem with that given we saw this is a particularly good venue for large groups. We looked around to see several incredibly long tables and thanked our foresight to book early. The restaurant is open throughout the day, taking the best of local produce and also has its own kitchen garden.
While gluttonous husband started with an espresso, which he pronounced quite smooth and enjoyable, Greedy Girl prefers her coffee after food. The breakfast menu here is reasonably small but with some interesting plates. Remarkably, one of those was an all-time Greedy Girl brunch favourite – nasi goreng. Also, remarkably, there was no muesli or granola – which is gluttonous husband’s standard breakfast on the road. He opted for the eggs benedict and we decided we would share.
The nasi goreng (pictured at the top of this post) was served with a runny fried egg (full marks to the chef there), Chinese sausage and prawns. It was also supposed to have smoked fish, according to the menu description, but neither of us could discern any on the plate.
Gluttonous husband said he was surprised at the choice; Greedy Girl figured that if something as unusual as this was on a small menu, it must be half decent. It was perfectly edible, if not anything to rave about. The sausage was nicely spicy and the prawns were cooked well but it was a fraction dry. The runny egg yolk wasn’t enough to bring extra moisture. It was also unbelievably filling. Greedy Girl was happy to share.
The eggs benedict also got a tick for perfectly poached eggs. The home made muffins were slightly crumbly and a little sweet for Greedy Girl’s tastes. The ham had a good flavour but it was cold. Gluttonous husband warms his ham when he makes this dish at home. The Hollandaise was also a bit bland; it could have used some lemon juice and a hit of Tabasco sauce to give it some oomph. Still, it was pleasant enough.
By the time our meals were served, the restaurant was full of big family get togethers and the noise level had ramped up dramatically. Still, Greedy Girl needed her coffee and requested a piccolo latte, while gluttonous husband ordered another espresso.
The piccolo was OK – a little on the weak side but it wasn’t exactly hot. Greedy Girl could pick up the glass with both hands. The flavour was also OK but not a rave; having spooned some of the milk froth on top of the espresso, that was much more enjoyable.
The Mornington Peninsula is a great place to explore for wine and food lovers but visitors need a car. We’d been warned that taxis are unreliable and, especially on a weekend, public transport isn’t really an option.
Whispering Vines at Trofeo
85 Harrisons Road, Dromana