One of the joys of travelling through wine regions is having lunch at a winery. Not only can you dine looking out over the vines, but also the food is often exceptional, best enjoyed with a wine from the local area.
Such an experience is rare in South-East Queensland, in fact we could count our great winery restaurants on one hand!
Mason Winery on Mt Tamborine is another to add to your list.
Owned by Mason Wines, Ballandean, the Mt Tamborine venue is one of their three cellar doors. The restaurant, once the old winery and barrel room, is now a dining room complete with fireplace and an alfresco deck overlooking an idyllic vineyard estate.
Since late 2018, Anna and Dave Rochfort have owned the hinterland business, their management experience evident in the venue: excellent staff, a well-maintained and administered property and a clear focus on showcasing local produce. Anna also manages wine production of the estate in Ballandean.
With Head Chef Andrew Quarantini (ex-Old Church) and Pastry Chef Tammy Cole on board, the restaurant has been raised to destination status.
They’re a fantastic duo, Andrew’s food renowned in the south-east corner, and Tammy with over fifteen years of experience in Scotland, Hamilton Island, Brisbane (where she was Executive Pastry Chef at Bacchus) and The Star Gold Coast as an award-winning pastry chef.
Using the best local produce available, Andrew dishes up a feast: After a starter of Housemade falafel with tahini and spices rolled in sesame, our waitress brings out a tastefully arranged charcuterie board for two to share featuring house-made lavoche, tapenade, relish, hummus and pork terrine, local triple cream brie and cloth-bound cheddar, prosciutto, salami and chorizo. The platter is a great alternative to traditional entrée and main course; perfect fare for vineyard grazing, a glass of easy-drinking Mason Verdelho in hand.
Local suppliers are championed in a rough guide to ingredient provenance on the menu, a practice we’d love to see followed far more often. The restaurant is intent on sourcing the best ingredients from local markets, producers and suppliers: local eggs and coffee sourced on the mountain, meat from the local butcher, seafood from Mooloolaba, cheese from Witches Chase or Towri, as close to home as possible when seasonally available.
Tammy shows off a Dessert platter for two featuring a trio of tastes: Deconstructed lemon polenta cake, Lime vanilla cheesecake with berry jelly and Apple parfait. With a meringue swipe here, a poppy seed crisp there, we get intense syrupy goodness, crunch and richness in alternate bites.
As satisfying as the platter is, the ‘pièce de resistance’ is to come: the Melting Chocolate Egg. A large chocolate eggshell is filled with dark chocolate brownie, toasted macadamias, orange, honeycomb parfait and chocolate mousse, the shell disintegrating when hot chocolate sauce is poured over it. It’s performance and disassembly in one, all in the making of the final result – a molten mass of chocolate orange rubble begging to be eaten.
It’s the perfect end to a meal that satisfies both the sight and senses.
Dessert could be accompanied by a Mason Port or Late Harvest VMV.
With fabulous food and friendly attentive service served in a relaxed environment, Mason Wines joins some of the best vineyard experiences we’ve enjoyed around Australasia. Little wonder it was the restaurant of choice for New Zealand’s Prime Minister recently!
Mason Wines, 32 Hartley Rd, Tamborine Mountain Ph: 07 5545 2000
Open: Restaurant Wed – Sun 10am – 4pm; Cellar Door | 10am – 4pm | Wed – Sun
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Mason Wines.