Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rochford Restaurant, Coldstream (by invitation) by Obelix

It's an understatement to say that there's been exciting new developments at Rochford Wines.  It's more of a metamorphosis of mammoth proportions.  New head chef Raki Andriana has been injecting the menu with his French techniques and Middle Eastern influences.  And the space itself has also had a revamp.  There are now four new tasting stations accompanied by Rochford's expert sommeliers to guide you through different wine options to complement the new menu.  And there's also the innovative 'take home' option whereby diners can take home what they have enjoyed for lunch with more food and produce available for purchase at the new deli in the Rochford shop.  It's a whole new way of experiencing good food and wine at Rochford Restaurant.  Yes, Rochford Restaurant is the official new name!

The Bureaucrat and I were treated to a tasting menu prepared by Chef Raki.  It showcased a selection of items from the menu.  The menu structure itself lends very well to communal plate sharing and nibbling over wine selections.  Items are arranged by plate sizes.  So one could have a 'large' plate all to oneself as a stand alone course or share a selection of 'small' or 'medium' plates with others.  Particularly now that the weather is fining up and there is generous al fresco dining areas available, I could definitely see myself enjoying the vista over a few plates and a few wines with friends.  I noticed this structure is quite family friendly as there were many families with young children and this menu structure arrangement worked very well.

Rochford Restaurant, winery, charcuterie platter
To start with, our very friendly and knowledgeable waitress Emily provided us with crusty bread to have with our charcuterie platter and she steered me towards the Estate 2014 Chardonnay to go with our starter / entrees.  The platter was laden with charcuterie of a various sorts - two types of salumi; sopressa; proscuitto; marinated olives; eel croquettes and my personal favourite, the smoked ox tongue.  It was sliced paper thin and so absolutely smokey and tender.

rochford, winery, wines, sommelier, yarra valley, chardonnay
A glass of Rochford Estate 2014 Chardonnay

rochford, winery, yarra valley, kingfish, cured meats, nettle
Next up we had a tasting from the medium plates category.  I had the cured kingfish which had been lightly cured for a few hours on a bed of nettle puree with little chiffonades of chilli and dainty piped avocado.  I've never had fish cured thus before and it was a very clean taste with a touch of aromatics from the gin.

Rochford Restaurant, heirloom carrots, quinoa, seeds, almonds and orange blossom labne
The Bureaucrat had the prettiest thing thing on a plate.  It was heirloom carrots, quinoa, seeds, almonds and orange blossom labne.  The quinoa she suspected was lightly toasted to give a crunchy textural dimension and the sweetness of the dates went very well with the yoghurty labne.  The labne not only looked intensely yellow and beautiful on the eye, the orange blossom made it exquisitely floral.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, octopus, skordalia, seafood, confit
Continuing on the medium plates sampling, I had the confit octopus, cauliflower skordalia, crispy onions and spiced hazelnut.  I love octopus done confit style.  It retains it's texture yet it is still lovely and yielding.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, quail, scotch egg
The Bureaucrat had a smokey quail dish which was off the menu.  It was a crispy quail accompanied by a scotch egg of sorts.  Except it was a scotched quail egg with quail meat surrounding.  It came on a bed of corn kernels.  The Bureaucrat declared it to be a very juicy quail for quails are hard to cook without drying.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, coleslaw, pork belly
Then it was onto the large plates!  I absolutely savoured the pork belly.  It had the most complex flavours.  I could spot cumin but I'm sure there were a lot of spice wizardry associated with the dish.  It came with a serve of crispy Spring slaw to undercut the richness of the pork belly as well as a beetroot hummus and malt crumble.  I reluctantly gave a small piece to the Bureaucrat to taste.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, corn fed chicken, guanciale, farro
The leg of cornfed chicken, Jerusalem artichoke, farro and guanicale was the Bureaucrat's favourite dish.  And it appeared very popular with the other diners as well.  The chicken was crispy and the light gravy covering the farro was divine.  It had crispy bits of guanicale which is like a bacon but better as it is actually the jowly bits of the pig  - ultimate comfort food.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, desserts, sorbet, blood orange, chocolate
Now you would think there would be no stomach room for desserts but interestingly enough, although we have been generously fed, the food was actually light and didn't bog one down so yes(!), we scoffed down desserts as well.  I had the variations of blood orange, aerated milk chocolate and dark chocolate sorbet.  It doesn't sound as wonderful as it looked or tasted.  For here is the beautiful work of art that it is.  I didn't want to dig into with my spoon, it was so pretty, just like a terrarium.  The blood orange sorbet was not your ordinary sorbet consistency, it was more custardy but it enveloped the chocolately components of the dish very well.  Somewhere in the sorbet was popping candy.  It was fun element of surprise!

rochford, winery, yarra valley, custard, crabapples, crumble, sorbet
Speaking of surprises, the Bureaucrat was very surprised by her baked apple crumble with custard.  Once again, the name belied the creativity and intricacy of the dish.  It was baked wee little crab apples from France and the custard with freeze dried for an interesting texture.

rochford, winery, yarra valley, lemongrass and ginger tea, unwind, relax
I wrapped up desserts with a lemon grass and ginger tea.


We loved it.


If you haven't been down to Rochford Restaurant in the past few months, it is well worth coming back (or visiting for the first time).  It has undergone a Renaissance.  The dining experience has changed with intimate tasting stations so that one could interact with the sommeliers; the menu is fresh, new and innovative and even the Rochford shop is more geared towards extending the dining experience to home with more food and produce for sale.

Find it at

Rochford Restaurant
878 Maroondah Hwy
Coldstream  VIC 3770
Telephone: 03 5957 3333

Rochford Wines Yarra Valley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Ming said...

I absolutely agree! I actually just came back from Rochford this afternoon, and I have to say I was extremely impressed with the change that they have undergone in the last few months. Great review!

EatAndBeMerryCrew said...

Thank you Ming! Glad to hear you loved it too!

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