14 Nov Rochford Restaurant, Coldstream
The former Isabella’s Restaurant within Rochford Winery has undergone a renovation and a change of name. The kitchen of the new Rochford Restaurant is now helmed by Head Chef Raki Andriana, who is no stranger to winery restaurants having done his apprenticeship at De Bortoli Winery. Returning to his roots in the Yarra Valley, he is combining French style techniques and Italian and Middle Eastern influences to create a new menu, working with the wine experts at Rochford to match dishes with their award-winning wines.
The central, open kitchen has made way for a bar area and front counter, which has given the dining room a more spacious and continuous feel. It also serves as the site of “tasting stations” where diners can discuss food and wine matches one-on-one with a sommelier.
We tried a number of medium plates, starting off with the shaved asparagus with black garlic, mizuno, Manchego and white truffle vinaigrette. It was a simple dish, and although the shaved asparagus was a little difficult to eat elegantly, the black garlic sauce and white truffle vinaigrette were mighty flavoursome.
The heirloom carrots were beautifully presented and beautifully cooked, evenly tender without a hint of sogginess or dilution of flavour. The carrots were truly the hero of the dish, and the orange blossom labne was restrained, allowing the carrots to really shine.
Moving onto the meatier plates, we had the cured kingfish and confit octopus. I loved the texture of the smokey confit octopus which was smooth and tender, not at all rubbery. The cured kingfish was vibrant and refreshing, making it my favourite of the medium dishes.
The slow-cooked lamb shoulder was a new addition to the menu, being introduced just the day before our visit. Lamb shoulder isn’t always the most photogenic ingredient, but here it had been lightly pressed and cut into a neat rectangle. The dish was full of strong, hearty flavours with the vegetables helping to freshen the palate.
The nicely-cooked corn-fed chicken and its golden-brown skin was a good match for the chewy farro and Jerusalem artichoke puree, and the crispy, flavour-packed pieces of guanciale injected enjoyable bursts of smokiness. We don’t often order chicken main dishes when we dine out, but this was a pleasantly satisfying dish that I would be happy to have again.
Desserts were up next. Andriana’s sophisticated take on apple crumble was composed of small, almost spherical apples baked until translucent and juicy, paired with crispy shards of freeze-dried custard, oat crumble and milk sorbet. Finally, the salted caramel tart with pear, ginger praline and mascarpone was subtle and not sickly sweet like salted caramel tends to be, and the smooth salted caramel filling was an absolute delight together with the crumbly tart pastry.
We were both impressed with the new direction of the menu under Andriana’s guidance, being more sophisticated yet still accessible, and it was lovely to see how the restaurant has progressed since we last visited.
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Rochford Restaurant as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
878 – 880 Maroondah Hwy
Coldstream, VIC, 3770
(03) 5957 3333