[tweetmeme] Tin shed, rustic timber, produce-rich gardens and set amongst rolling vineyards; it must be T’Gallant. This one-of-a-kind winery, an hour and a half south of Melbourne, is like a little piece of Tuscany in our own backyard.
You wont find a multi-million dollar cellar door and winery operation here. The restaurant (La Baracca Trattoria), cellar door and bar (Spuntino Bar) are all housed in a rustic tin shed, surrounded by large fig trees, artichokes, potted herbs and assorted vegetables all ensconced in a rolling vineyard.
I visited on a warm Saturday afternoon, and even though arriving shortly after opening, a table outside in the sunshine was an impossible equation. Still, finding a table next to the bar with a view past cellar door and out over the vineyard, I was hardly complaining. Table service is not part of the, well service when dining at the Spuntino Bar, which for me adds to the charm. Lining up gives you ample time to consider your options and finalise your choice.
This visit was similar to most. A half funghi (mushrooms, gorgonzola & parsley), half salami pizza, salsicce and insalata. Add a glass of Tribute Pinot Gris, and the meal was in full-swing.
The pizzas here are great. Perfectly cooked, erring slightly toward the darker side (which I prefer), they come served piping hot on a large timber slab. Every ingredient on the pizza is perfect in its own right. The tomatoes sweet, the salami smokey and full of spice, the mushrooms earthy and the gorgonzola ripe and pungent. It’s a match made in heaven, and for me, a contender for Victoria’s best pizza. At least best regional pizza.
The salsicce or small pork sausages are tasty, with fennel seed and enough chilli to notice, without it becoming over-bearing. My only gripe is that they were a little over-cooked and as a consequence were a little dry. The house-made tomato sauce they are served with does go some way to rectify this though. Rounding out the meat, I mean meal, is the insalata. Salad greens served with shaved pecorino and a honey vinaigrette. Simple yet absolutely gorgeous, the bitterness of the roquette and radicchio are balanced expertly by the creaminess of the pecorino and sweetness of the vinaigrette. Sometimes it can be hard to get excited over salad – after-all you don’t make friends with it – but T’Gallant know how to get you in the mood with this little number. The dressing can also be purchased from cellar door.
If you’re searching for perfection, T’Gallant may not be for you. However if it’s rustic charm, regional produce and exciting wines you’re after, the place is certainly worth a visit. I know I’ll be back.
1385 Mornington Flinders Rd, Main Ridge Victoria 3928
p: (03) 5989 6565