This Mornington Peninsula institution has a winery cellar door, cafe and fine dining restaurant.
This Mornington Peninsula institution (that's been hatted 16 times, no less) reopened in 2018 as a revamped, more relaxed version of itself. And now, celebrated chef Matt Wilkinson is at the helm as Culinary Captain, steering Montalto's emphasis on sharing plates, enjoying long conversations and soaking up idyllic rural views.
On arriving, the first thing you'll notice is the kitchen's stripped-back redesign. The new centrepiece is an asado grill, based on Argentinian parrillas. Providing much of the produce is Montalto's kitchen garden, now expanded to a mighty three acres. To sample its goodness, order the likes of roasted Jerusalem artichoke with crème fraîche and chives ($7), or the bagna cauda with fresh crudités ($12).
Meanwhile, all meat on the menu is sourced from nearby producers; from the slow-cooked pork chop teamed with lentils and braised greens ($38), to the grass-fed sirloin featuring pumpkin, and a parsley and cucumber salad ($49). The linen tablecloths have disappeared and in their place are handcrafted tables, made of recycled and sustainable chestnut by Zac Pearton of ZP Woodworks. The restaurant is open Friday through Monday, while the all-weather outdoor piazza is a daily affair, serving produce-driven pizzas, along with Mediterranean-style plates like a prawn gnocchi ($36) and chicken liver parfait with house pickles ($22).
Overall, the space has a more relaxed, open feel, making the most of Montalto Estate panoramas, dotted with vines, olive groves and sculptures. While you're there, be sure to check out the cellar door, open each day from 11am–5pm.
Images: Karon Photography.