Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa, located in the heart of the Yarra Valley is one of the many beautiful wineries you’ll find there. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to receive a gift of a night’s accommodation, a dinner and a massage the following morning.
We arrived at Balgownie and were welcomed by the view of the modern restaurant with floor to ceiling windows, situated perfectly on top of the hill.
As we ventured away from the restaurant to check in I was blown away by the surroundings of the hotel. Beautiful gardens and roses and architecture engulfed my vision. From the second we walked into reception to the second we left the next day there was nothing but the friendliest of service. With an unexpected upgrade and discounts on wine we headed to our room.
With stunning views and a modern interior the room definitely didn’t disappoint, and to top it off, there were 12 bottles of Balgownie wine on offer in the mini bar!!!
We made the short walk to Rae’s Restaurant, which has a vast open feel with endless windows allowing you to see the entirety of the Yarra Valley as you dine. To take full advantage of this we ordered a bottle of the Balgownie Premium Curve Brut NV and sat outside. The weather was warm, the sparkling was light and view was amazing.
After getting a little sidetracked we were collected by our lovely young waitress who showed us to our table. The menu, marked gluten free to my delight looked incredible. In addition, the prices run on a weeknight or weekend package of $55 dollars for two courses on weekdays and $65 for two courses on the weekend. This is great value for the venue and as we later discovered the food.
For entrée we both ordered the Pan-fried Tiger Prawns, coated in dukkah served on avocado, jimaca, mango mousse, thai basil and a vinaigrette of beetroot passion fruit. As it arrived, I saw a beautiful salad of prawns surrounded by swirls of different colours and amazing flavours. The prawns, perfectly cooked, held their natural sweetness and this was complemented by the spicy dukkah and the cool creamy avocado. The addition of sweet tomato flesh, basil oil and the beetroot created an incredible flavour experience.
As we moved onto the Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, we awaited our main course.
For my main I ordered the Kingfish served with roasted Piperade with lemongrass and brandy, served on confit peppers, capers, white anchovy and basil mayonnaise with green asparagus and Kumara pesto. Again cooked to perfection the Kingfish was complemented by the tartness of the pepper capers and anchovies. The taste buds were then cooled by both the mayonnaise and the pesto.
I was informed that the 200gm Fillet of Beef with coffee, cumin and black pepper crust served with carrot chutney, duchess style confit of potato, with jus of roasted onion and balsamic, was also divine. It too showcased more interesting and inventive flavour combinations.
All in all the food was of the highest quality in the way in was cooked; yet also in the way the flavours, textures and combinations were paired. This was some of the most inventive cooking I’ve seen. In addition, the service was lovely and more than willing to assist with dietary requirements and questions.
We made sure we checked out a little early so we could make full use of the free buffet breakfast served for hotel quests in the restaurant.
As we arrived, I was surprised to see bottles of open sparkling on offer, espresso machines and generous amounts of beautiful looking food. Sweet, savory, eggs, yoghurt, toasts, pastries, fruits, cheeses, meats, juice, coffee, sparkling…anything one could every need for breakfast, plus a kitchen taking requests.
I was again blown away when for the first time in the last two years of being gluten free; there was gluten free bread in the bread section…I was in heaven!
After an amazing breakfast we headed to the Natskin day spa for our hour long massages. Again we were given incredible service with individual lockers provided, tea and refreshments served and friendly smiles.
We drove away, reluctantly, from the beautiful experience that is Balgownie Estate.
If you can get away for the weekend or even the night I highly recommend all that Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa has to offer!
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