11 Apr Isabella’s at Rochford, Coldstream
A changing of the seasons often means a changing of the menu. Ciaran Butler, the executive chef at Rochford Wine’s Isabella’s restaurant, puts together a menu that utilises local Yarra Valley produce and I was invited to try the new Autumn menu. It turned out to be a beautiful time of year to visit the area, with all the vineyards and trees displaying their Autumn foliage.
Tables in the spacious dining area looked out into the vast landscape of the surrounding area. Mains ranged from roasted chicken and suckling pig to monkfish medallions and vegetarian lasagne. Of course, being a winery, there were wine pairings for every item on the menu, even the desserts.
I loved the freshness of the creamy crab toast, particularly the Irish soda bread used as the base. The seasonings and accompaniments had a refreshing and delicate sweetness that matched well with the sweetness of the crab, and there was quite a generous amount of crab too.
The doneness of the pumpkin gnocchi was a little inconsistent, but we appreciated the complexity of the crème fraîche sage sauce, which paired well with the cheese.
For my main I had the wagyu wellington: wagyu with a marbling score of 8+ was rolled in duxelles and a layer of pastry, resting on cauliflower purée and a truffle and Rochford Pinot Noir jus. The beef had been cooked to medium and the duxelles and cauliflower purée were tasty, though I did find the pastry a little thick and not quite crispy.
Following a previous pleasing experience with monkfish, mum chose the monkfish medallions, which were wrapped in Jamón Serrano and accompanied by baby calamari, wild rice and a citrus vierge sauce. I’d personally never tried monkfish before, but fresh monkfish done well is apparently similar to lobster because of its firm and subtle sweet flavour. The pieces calamari were lightly floured and tender. The flavours of the dish as a whole were good combination though we did find the aroma from the fish itself, which could have been a bit fresher, quite overpowering.
Also sampled was the wonderfully creamy colcannon, which mashed potato mixed with cabbage.
The warm chocolate brownie was full of walnuts and sprinkled with dehydrated raspberries and fresh strawberries. Sitting on the side was a raspberry and white chocolate macaron. The berries and strawberry sorbet added a lovely refreshing and tangy element to the dish – a sort of farewell to Summer. Oh how I’ll miss berries!
I picked the Rochford Cappuccino, which had the rather cryptic description of ‘A Twist’. What was presented to the table was, with a cursory glance, something that certainly looked like a coffee, though one that appeared to be decorated by an over-excited chocoholic barista.
Cutting through with a spoon revealed a layered dessert – a rich and creamy tiramisu!
The menu at Isabella’s offers patrons a good feed during a tour of this winery region, and the menu showcases a variety of dishes, some of which reflect Ciaran’s Irish background. The interesting Autumn menu by Ciaran will certainly coax me back for the summer one!
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Isabella’s as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
Isabella’s at Rochford
878 – 880 Maroondah Hwy
Coldstream, VIC, 3770
(03) 5962 2119
We’d spotted Domaine Chandon on the way to Rochford. Since we were here, it wouldn’t hurt to pop in and have a look.
I nearly missed the turn, but when I did I was awed by the beautiful trees lining the winding driveway and the vast expanse of vineyards. Of course, we were too full to have anything more to eat, but we did wander around a little to appreciate the wonderful scenery
It turned out to be a lovely day out and we were blessed with good weather, right in the middle of a terribly cold and wet week!