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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Locale

@ the De Bortali Estate 

Dixons Creek, Victoria, Australia
Italian-Australian Lunch in Yarra Valley
Dined in March 2015



Day two in Australia started with a bang, after a fantastic city tour of Melbourne, it was time to visit Victoria Wine County in the Yarra Valley. After some tastings at Yering Station and Sticks Wineries, it was time for lunch with a tasting at the De Bortali Estate and Restaurant Locale. I left with much needed food in my system from the wines I had been drinking, but still felt something was missing afterwards.

Scroll down to read the main review





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Follow Wine, dine, and Play:




Star ratings chart:

5 stars
Extraordinary  
4 stars
Outstanding  
3 stars
Exceeded expectations     
2 stars
Above average                          
1 star
Average
No star rating
Basic, poor, or appalling 




Review basics:
Overall Star rating by Wine, Dine, & Play:
2 of 5
Quality of food:
6 of 10
Presentation:
7 of 10
Wine selections by region:


Scroll below the main review section to see the tasting notes of the wines chosen.


4 of 10

Old world: 
France: Champagne 
Italy: Conegliano and Valdobbiadene
New World: 
Australia: Yarra Valley, & King Valley





   “Explore the restaurant wine list

Customer service:
6 of 10
Ambiance:
6 of 10
Corkage fee’s:
American Restaurant standard is $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual
Dress code:
Smart casual, Casual, or Conservative attire

Reservations:
Not Required, but Recommended 
Walk-in:
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Child policy:


The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a child’s menu or cater to them; however for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended for children not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. Hire a Babysitter. See Alinea Baby Gate, god I love Alinea.
Cuisine style:
Contemporary, Bistro, Mediterranean, Australian, New Zealand (Kiwi), International, & Vegetarian
Music styles:
Background instrumental
Experiences:
Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Scenic views, Upscale, Tourist grabber, and a Neighborhood gem.
Gratuities:
Industry standard is 18-20% added to parties of 6 or more
Payments:
Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Parking:
Complementary 
Transport options:
limousine, and personal vehicle
Wifi
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Low, to Medium
Smoking:
Nonsmoking restaurant

Chef:
Adam Mead
Picture Courtesy of De Bortali

























Food price per person 
(Excluding tax & gratuity)


Price chart:
$£€¥ -               Under 50.00 
$£€¥ x 2 -          Under 75.00 
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 

**Currencies chosen reflect the world’s major travelers and restaurant connoisseur’s**

My food bill:
Currency:
Price chart:
$57.50
Australian Dollar (AUS)
$$
$46.00
United States Dollar (USD)
$
£29.00
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
£
€40.00
European Union (EUR)

$56.00
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
$$
¥285.00
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
¥¥¥¥

To get up to date currency rates:









Scroll down below the main review to see cost of wines and tasting notes.



From restaurants home page:

The name Locale (pron Low-car-leh), reflects not only the De Bortoli family's Italian heritage but also the restaurant's philosophy of sourcing the best local, seasonal and organic produce. Sourcing this excellent local produce is a job that is made easier because of Locale's position in the Yarra Valley, an abundant region full of people producing great quality ingredients from quail and salmon to beautifully fresh mascarpone from Yea and trout from Buxton.

The philosophy behind Locale is a perfect match with the De Bortoli belief of moving towards sustainable, environmentally aware farming and winemaking practices. The fresh new look of the dining room with its neutral tones, carpeted and tiled areas and airy light-filled spaces allow customers to fully focus on the excellent views and the ingredient-driven Italian dishes on the menu.

Archival pictures of the De Bortoli family, framed and hung on the wall, add a sense of history to the place. Add a wine list that highlights De Bortoli’s award winning Yarra Valley wines alongside some of the best that the rest of the country and the world have to offer and you have a restaurant that truly is devoted to the good tastes that spring from the local earth and how those flavours are unique to and representative of this particular part of the world.

Main review:
Hunger was all I could think about, especially after doing a few tastings at some wineries here in Yarra Valley and skipping breakfast to boot. Like any review I judge the food as a reflection upon the Chef, but inform you on the overall picture as well. The restaurant and tasting room vineyard were located on a beautiful piece of property with stunning views of the valley, beautiful floral arrangements and green grass as far as the eye could see. I had just returned from eight months in Antarctica, where it is void of all things green and most things that are alive and taken for granted by the rest of the world. 
The restaurant was on the second floor of a brick built building, the decor was very modern and semi upbeat, tables set properly and the staff dressed very well, which all gave indications that the experience was going to be a good one. Could chef Mead hold up to the decor around him? In my introduction I mentioned that I left feeling that something was missing, but was it the food or lack of service? Service though dressed well, professional when possible, was not the best to be expected. Remember they are setting an image, the restaurant practically requires a reservation and is booked on most days. Chef Mead’s menu was diverse and represented Australian cuisine quite well, so good job on that account. 

What left that feeling was the service and price of the menu. I had a later lunch reservation so the main crowd was gone, leaving no reason why it took a large amount of time to deliver requested wines, or even to return to the table to take my food order. They had done a wonderful job explaining and giving recommendations, but all that was lost whilst waiting fifteen minutes to take the order, and a good amount of time to deliver the first course. Take the Chef’s cuisine, with this form of service, they are not providing the best for the price to be paid. Starters were between 15-26 Australian dollars, and main courses were 23-36 Dollars. With that price, the service, no matter how busy the early lunch rush was, needed to be better, and this is why I left empty. I research this restaurant, read the reviews, and booked my reservation on a combination of many factors. Thank good the food was good.
Speaking of food, Chef Mead’s menu though focused on Australian Cuisine had the flair of Italian with the full first page of the menu broken down by Stuzzichini (starter antipasto), the summer special, then the full Antipasti, followed by a pasta section for starter or entree size. I skipped over the Stuzzichini which featured local oysters, Fried Saffron Arancini Balls, and Sher Family Wagyu in the air dried, and thinly sliced Italian Bresaola form, plus a few other dishes. The summer special was a larger version of the oyster selection from the Stuzzichini section.

The second section was the starter section of Antipasti which had selections such as Quail Ballotine with mushroom duxelle and baby carrots, to Insalata di Fichi with hazelnut and goat cheese, and a Mozzarella Terrine with pine nut gremolata, made of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. I settled on the Smoked Saikou Salmon Carpaccio from New Zealand, with fregola, which is a type of pasta from Sardinia, pecorino cheese, sherry vinegar, topped with cauliflower, garnished with parsley, and a spray of olive oil coating the plate. With this course I had a glass of the La Bohème Pinot Gris, when it finally arrived to the table that is. Yes, the name is the same as the Paris Opera. (Scroll down below the main review to see wine tasting notes) The Fish and wine were extremely tasty. 
The next section and final for that menu page was pasts which I skipped over. Their varieties included Gnocchi with roasted pork and duck ragout, and Asparagus Risotto,Zucchini Fettuccini, Cannelloni, and spaghetti to round it up. The main courses or Secondi as listed on the menu included Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Milawa Duck Breast Confit, Grass Fed Scotch fillet, Pacific Reef Cobia and my choice which was recommended to me by the neighboring table, the Suckling Pig. Crisp olive oil poached shoulder and leg, rolled loin, with a cabbage and pine nut salad tossed in a Champaign Vinaigrette, and natural jus. With the main course I had a glass of the Estate Grown Shiraz, and having bin to Stellenbosch in South Africa, and trying their Shiraz, Australia still has a ways to go to perfecting that grape varietal. Overall though, hats down to a very good tasting piece of pork, I was very impressed. 

On the dessert range which I did not have room for included Blood Orange Tart, Panna Cotta, Assorted Cheese Plate, and Gelato. 



This Restaurant reminds me of:
To give a few examples of what Locale reminds me of, taking the good food, yet not so good service into context, for the good food that the chef prepared and the wonderful atmosphere both in the dining room and around the property, I would compare it to Hanks Seafood in Charleston South Carolina which has some amazing food, with a wonderful atmosphere, and would rate the service here equal to the Wine Spectator Restaurant, part of the Culinary Institute of America, in Napa, California, where the students are your servers, and though they may be great chef’s, they have to learn the front of house side as well, and it leaves a hell of a lot to be desired.

Other Australian Restaurant favorites:
il  Tempo, Melbourne
Tarra Warra Estate Restaurant,Yarra Valley
Aria, Sydney


Other trending Restaurants on Wine, Dine, and Play:

Harlequin Public House, Christchurch, New Zealand
91 Wood Fire Oven, North Canton, Ohio
Frevo, Dubai, UAE


Cost of wines and other alcoholic beverages in $$ USD:
$19.00 AUS




Tasting Notes:
Wine & Grape:
Nose (Bouquet):
Palette Experience:
La bohème Pinot Gris
All fruit de-stemmed and gently pressed. The juice settled for 72 hours and racked to both casks and stainless tank. Faintly aromatic with classic, perfumed Pinot Gris characters of pear, orange blossom and honeysuckle. 
CONTACT WINERY
Pinot Gris 90%, Gewűrztraminer 5%, Pinot Blanc 3%, Riesling 2%, Vibrant straw color with green edges.Refined, dry structural palate with green apple and mandarin. Textural, gently aromatic, and soft acidity.
De Bortoli Shiraz
Dry to medium body
Will continue to develop complexity and interest for up to ten years if stored in a good cellar.

Generous flavors of white pepper, aromatic, spice, grainy tannins, great with duck.


Wine Regulatory: 





Restaurant address:
Pinnacle Lane
Dixons Creek
VIC, 3775


















Neighborhood:
Yarra Valley

Cross streets:
 Melba Highway 

GPS Coordinates
Latitude: -37.597521
Longitude: 145.411606

Contact Information: 

Maître d, Reservations:
(03) 5965 2271
Restaurant Website:
Restaurant Name
Email:
Contact Restaurant
Social Media:


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Hours:

Monday
From 12pm
Tuesday
Closed
Wednesday
Closed
Thursday
From 12pm
Friday
From 12pm
Saturday
From 12pm
Dinner from 6pm
Sunday
From 12pm
  
Standard Time (GMT + 10:00)










Review by:
Chef Sean Overpeck (CFE)















Chef Sean cooks for soldiers in Afghanistan, 2012:
































"Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well."


TTFN

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