Josef Chromy Restaurant

Licensed $$   Glass icon
370 Relbia Road, Relbia
03) 6335 8700
Open: Daily 10.00am to 5.00pm; Dinner Fri and Sat from 5.30pm.

The new soaring glass and timber building makes an impressive modern architectural statement. Sitting on the deck looking across manicured lawns and gardens through beautiful old tress to the lake below, all set against a hillside swath of vines, the restaurant joins Meadowbank and Strathlynn as the most bucolic and relaxing of our vineyard eateries.

Less inspiring however is the small, fairly predictable menu consisting of five entrees – oysters, tomato and fennel tart, Serrano ham, seasonal risotto and pork belly – with pork lasagne, baked salmon, chicken and Scotch fillet for mains, supplemented by two assorted tasting plates.

While the cooking is competent and the plates come with all the trendy balsamic drizzles and squiggles, the food itself is more mainstream up-market cafe-style than perhaps what the building and setting might lead one to expect, or hope for. If that’s their market, then there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, for me, I found there was too often a sweetness or sweet element to most of the dishes which, after a while, tended to become repetitive and sat awkwardly with the accompanying wines. For example the main ingredient of the risotto was sweet caramelized onions, the smooth but fairly bland duck liver came with a fig compote and quince jelly with quince, again appearing as a jus to the pork lasagne. And in what could have been, and was perhaps intended to be, a celebration of summer, the flavours of an assortment of yellow, red and golden cherry tomatoes were essentially lost in the tart’s warm and dominating bed of braised onion and fennel.

It’s early days, and on the day of my visit workmen were still putting the finishing touches to the decking and were busy planting a few display rows of vines outside. So, while I might feel there’s still a bit of work to be done in the kitchen, the wines are top notch and reasonably priced, the service excellent, friendly and professional, the restaurant was busy and everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Oysters $18.50/$31.50; entrees $19.50 to $28; mains $26 to $34.50; plates $34.50 and $69; desserts $12 to $15; single cheese $9.50.

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