Picture a crisp Autumn day, sun peeking through the ominous clouds threatening rain. You can feel Winter flexing its muscles ready to assault creation with its cold blast. It’s the ideal atmospheric conditions to enjoy the indulgent comforting Autumn menu at Isabella’s at Rochford Winery. And I was very lucky to be invited back to sample the best of seasonal local produce at Isabella’s.
M and I were in for a treat. Being gluttons we opted for the full three courses (starting at $63, wine pairing additional). Of course we could have gone the two courses (starting at $55, wine pairing additional) but with a magnificent window view to the vineyards and a roaring open fire nearby, we wanted to prolong the experience as much as possible.
I started with the Panzanella Salad. The heirloom tomatoes were divine. I’m so accustomed to the bland tomatoes at the supermarket, I have forgotten how wonderful a real tomato can taste. Chef Ciaran Butler advised that they have their own veggie patch at Rochford which is predominately where the salad ingredients came from. The ricotta on the Panzanella was house made and it was so light and fluffy, I could have quite happily fallen asleep on a big pile of it.
M went for Ciaran's recommendations, the crab toasts. It certainly did not disappoint with long filaments of crab abed brioche-type bread with capers for piquancy.
I was so glad I ordered this magnificent Beef Wellington. It was by far one of the best BW's I have ever had. The pastry was crispy! The beef was wagyu. It was heaven on a plate. Chef Ciaran advised he actually wraps the wagyu with a crepe before wrapping it in pastry. This ensured crispiness. Apparently a trick he picked up working with Gordon. You know, as in Ramsay.
Our ever friendly and helpful waitress recommended the chocolate brownie and espresso cup for desserts. To say they were just 'chocolate brownie' and an 'espresso cup' was an understatement of what they really were. The espresso cup turned out to be a very luxe version of a tiramisu. Imagine a traditional tiramisu but add additional layers of sponge cake, custardy layers and surprise sediments of chocolate. It was a delightful archaeological dig.
Verdict: We loved it.
Chef Ciaran and staff at Isabella's do their utmost in making sure that you leave feeling replete and happy. The service was attentive and helpful. The Autumn menu was everything an Autumn menu should be - comfort food, seasonal produce and sourced locally. My favourites were the Beef Welly, colcannon and onion rings. As well as serving a seasonal menu, Isabella's also has theme nights where the chefs can really showcase their creativity so it's worthwhile checking out their website for upcoming events.