Shadowfax Winery



Shadowfax Winery, K Rd, Werribee. Phone: 9731 4420

Much earlier in our western lives, visits to Werribee Mansion became a regular thing.

Often such visits involved a meal chosen from the bar menu of the mansion hotel followed by a lengthy ramble around the lovely grounds and gardens.

That practice has fallen by the wayside as different places and attractions, as well as different circumstances, have seen us find new ways of living in the west.

Thus we have yet to review the mansion bar food, let alone the much more pricey main restaurant, though CTS has had a look at nearby Wyndham Cache Cafe and TeaPot Cottage Cafe.

Today, though, on a lovely, overcast yet far from gloomy day, it’s time for a visit to Shadowfaxy Winery.

Down a beaut tree-lined gravel road we find the rather imposing and angular metallic winery building, with the cellar door and restaurant at one end.

Despite there being space aplenty for us in the attractive, roomy dining, room, this time out we opt for the outdoor alternative.


Close by a number of largish communal tables, there’s a herb garden, vines, a chook house and picnic rugs scattered over the lawn.

The menu – you can check it out in its entirety here – has a nice list of starters for $10-$20, pizzas for $20 and larger plates in the $20-$30 vicinity.

The mussels, pizzas and prawns we see around us look very toothsome, but we are happy with out sharing choices.

The beetroot, rocket and fetta salad (top picture, $9) is fabulous, with the glistening beetroot cubes – some of them the palest pink – nestling among good-quality leaves and creamy cheese, all adorned with just the right level of dressing.

Given the amounts of beetroot and fetta we consume at home, you can bet I’ll be attempting this dish at home soonish.


Our tasting plate of “cured meats, seasonal vegetables, ricotta, polenta chips, house made grissini and focaccia” is a mixture of just OK and outstanding.

The salami and prosciutto suffice but are not particularly memorable, while the small splinters of grissini seem like little more than a garnish.

The standout component is the lemony ricotta, which is simply gorgeous smeared on the very fine bread.

Chargrilled courgette is a smoky wonder that puts the chewier and slightly bitter eggplant in the shade. The pickled, roasted red capsicum goes good with all.

Given the pricing of the rest of the menu, the $22 fee for our tasting plate is fine, but it is a little light on in terms of feeding the two of us – even with the salad.

However, all is fixed when we are brought an extra serve of bread for which we are not charged.

As we are paying for our meal, the staff inform us that new management has been running the show for about four months, there’s a new chef, the food is “a lot better” and that Saturdays are usually much, much more hectic than we’ve experienced.

The service has been fine for us, but it seems that if you’re contemplating a weekend visit, booking may be just the ticket.

As with previous visits to the mansion, our post-meal activity involves a walk around the grounds – in this case the sculpture garden and homestead buildings “behind” the mansion rather than the groomed prettiness of the mansion gardens proper.

We’re not sure how this works.

Entry to the gardens costs an admission fee when they are accessed through the official entrance, yet patrons of both the mansion eateries and the winery seem to have unpaid access.

Perhaps this annoys the hell out of Parks Victoria.

And perhaps the mansion hotel management and winery think it’s a fine arrangement.





The Shed @ Terindah Estate

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The Shed @ Terindah Estate, 90 McAdams Lane, Bellarine. Phone: 5251 5536

Scooting down the freeway, Geelong-bound, I am almost giggling with the joy of it.

This is quite different from the sometimes frenetic trips that until so very recently saw me making this journey for work purposes.

Because we are not headed specifically for that city, but through it instead for a lunch date on the Bellarine Peninsula.

I’ve roped in Brother Kurt for the experience and we’ll be meeting my pal and former Geelong Advertiser colleague Jane at Terindah Estate.

The catering, food and function aspects of the property have recently been assumed by Rue Cler Market, and it is as that outfit’s guests that we will be having lunch (full disclosure below).

Kurt and I are so busy playing catch-ups that carefully selected CD choices barely register and in what seems like mere minutes we are trundling down bumpy, rustic McAdams Lane, turning right into the grounds of Terindah Estate instead of left into Jack Rabbit Winery.

Unsurprisingly, the place is beautiful, the centre’s buildings looking out on vines and fields rolling gently down to the bay, the Melbourne CBD skyline visible on one side of the panorama, the You Yangs peeking through the trees on the other.

The place undeniably has an air of new business arrangements being bedded down.

So much so, we wonder if these folks have been a bit hasty in inviting a blogger and his mates down for a feed, especially when we lay eyes on the very succinct blackboard men.

Happily, our lunch more than makes up for menu brevity with class and quality.

We three make ourselves at home in a corner table of the vast, bright and airy dining area before mulling our lunch choices as sourdough, focaccia and olive oil are placed before us. 

Our first foray into Shed tucker is a sublime delight and triumph – the produce plate is not your typical antipasto platter.

That they sell it for $14 makes it a preposterous bargain.

Its contents are all locally sourced, fresh as can be and uniformly superb.

Smoky, tangy discs of Otways chorizo.

Tomato relish.

Creamy chevre.

Sweet, oh-so-tender steamed mussels.

Baby vegetables – spring onions, carrots, turnips – that manage the lovely trick of being both profoundly and lightly pickled, meaning the original flavour of the vegetables can be enjoyed.

Calamari strips, supremely unchewy and tender, and equally skillfully pickled.


An adjacent table for two has received an identical plate of goodies, so it’s not like we have been given favourable treatment. Just saying …

As we await our main course, unbidden we are presented with a lovely blue cheese and potato pizza ($14).

This simple affair goes a long way toward blunting my cynicism about the cost/benefits of thin-crust Italian-style pizzas.

Blue cheese very flavoursome but not overbearing, slices of purple congo spud evincing real potato taste, base not particularly thin but fresh, crusty and easy on the fang.

Kurt and I both choose the bay whiting with fennel salad ($22).

The fish is delicate of texture and taste, and very good.

The whiting works well with the fennel, but I am less convinced about the somewhat strident addition of grapefruit segments.

It’s a very spartan meal – another element or some more obvious salad dressing would’ve been welcome.

Jane likes her mushroom gnocchi ($18) – they’re roly poly, tanned and slightly crispy on the exterior, almost molten inside, and the way is smoothed with more of the chevre that graced our entree plate.

Kurt gleefully works his way through much of the wine list – he expresses fondness most of all for the chardonnay – with details provided by property owner Peter Slattery.

Jane enjoys her sticky date pudding ($6).

By this point, I’m fully full, so opt out of the dessert stakes – but I do nick a spoonful, just for review purposes.

The pudding is light and fresh, and the sauce is, well, super sticky.

The Shed @ Terindah Estate shapes as a handy, relaxing and affordable option in the fiercely competitive Bellarine winery scene.

The September 2 Father’s Day deal – $40 for adults, $10 for kids – looks like a great deal, for instance. Check out the Terindah Facebook page for details.

And certainly, I’d return in a heartbeat for another shot at the terrific $14 produce platter.

It’s been a hoot to catch up on the goss with Jane, but she’s off on other business.

Kurt’s happy to kick back, enjoy the moment and talk with the staff.

After a good cafe latte, I go for a ramble around the grounds, even making it right down to the bay beach.

Eventually, to the strains of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ classic third album, we zip across the peninsula to Point Lonsdale, where we dwell for a while watching a ship enter through the heads and seals frolicking in the surf.

After swinging through Ocean Grove, we head home with some raunchy, classic and wisecracking southern soul from Joe Tex for company.

What a cracking day we’ve had – thanks to all concerned!

Our meal at The Shed @ Terindah Estate was provided free of charge by the owner in return for a story on Consider The Sauce. With the exception of pizza noted above, neither staff nor management knew what we were going to order. The Shed @ Terindah Estate has not been given any editorial control of this post.

Galli Winery and Restaurant

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1507 Melton Hwy, Plumpton. Phone: 9747 1433

Galli Winery was noted down and placed high on the hit list during the course of a pleasant/pheasant visit to its next door neighbour, Gamekeepers Secret Country Inn.

Never ever, though, did I expect to visiting the winery so soon, let alone with the fabulous company of my oldest and dearest friend, Penny, who is in town for a week from Wellington.

We are so busy doing the catch-up thing that we fly along the Calder Highway and many kilometres past the turn-off to the Melton Highway before we realise we are effectively lost.

My stubborn opposition to ever retracing my steps comes into full play as we negotiate a series of country roads, some of them bumpy, some of them gravel and one of them a dead end, taking in an incredible view of the distant Melbourne CBD along the way..

Nevertheless we have a hoot of a time before eventually getting there, thanks to a reliable sense of direction and lot of finger jabbing at the Melway.

A 1.30pm lunch it is!

The winery dining room is fabulous. Though nothing much more than a glorified barn, it presents as a very pleasing, tranquil and sophisticated space.

Galli Winery has a variety of menus that can be checked out here.

Garlic and chilli fried olives with fetta and bread ($13.50) – frankly this is pretty ordinary, although after our adventures we’re hungry to go.

The olives are warm and good, though too oily and too garlicky; we can see the chillis, but they don’t seem to be embraced by the dish as a whole.

Penny uses the term “supermarket” to describe the fetta cheese – and she’s right.

The herbed cubes are edible and dull.

The best thing about the platter is the crunchy and moreish pitta bread, on which we are still nibbling when we are presented with our main fare.

Penny describes her caesar salad with “cajun spiced chicken” ($13.90) in terms barely approaching lukewarm. She’s certainly had better – she finds it all a bit tired.

The main protagonist of my meatloaf special ($13.90) is fine – tasty, tender, well-seasoned, all with a dark, rich onion gravy.

They’re badly let down by the supporting cast, though.

The potato wedges are sad and the “sour cream dipping sauce” sitting atop them seems nothing more than plain old sour cream. Dreadful is a word that comes to mind.

The breadcrumb-topped tomato is like something from a childhood nightmare and the sprig of broccoli is so close to raw it’s not worth quibbling over.

Our cafe lattes are just a touch north of good.

Galli Winery is a fabulous venue we’ll surely visit again, so pleasurable is it to pursue a western suburbs version of “get out of town” with such ease.

The largely indifferent nature of our food did absolutely nothing to spoil our afternoon, but I wonder if we may have fared better by taking “a horses for courses” approach and ordering a $30+ steak each.

However, reading between the lines of the various menus it seems likely even those would have come with the same vegetables and wedges, so that’s a worry right there.

No arguments, though, with the linen napkins, ice water and $53 price tag.

This warmly recommended destination comes with an “order with care” proviso from us.

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