A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published February 6th 2014
Making a splash
Most Melburnians would be familiar with Montsalvat, the artist colony set up by Justus Jörgensen in 1934. Set on 4.8 hectares (12 acres) of parkland, and featuring over a dozen buildings, and wandering peacocks, Montsalvat is a most interesting place to visit.
Once you've finished your visit, or if you are in the Eltham area, I recommend you also pop into Montsalvat's restaurant, The Meeting Pool. I've been there twice for lunch, and each time I've had a positive experience.
Sign outside the restaurant
We were warmly greeted on arrival and shown to a table. The staff were pleasant and attentive throughout.
There is a fairly large indoor area for dining, and also a good sized courtyard, surrounded by large trees, around which the peacocks roam.
Inside the restaurant - we managed to beat the lunchtime rush
The Meeting Pool offers an interesting menu, in three sections. There is an all day breakfast section, with offerings including corn fritters with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, avocado and roquette ($15.50) and eggs Benedict ($16.50). Then there is the 'something light' section, which offers dishes suitable for a light lunch or for those with a smaller appetite. Options include pan fried house made gnocchi ($17.50 for entree size) and salt and pepper calamari ($16). Finally, there is the 'something larger' section, from which you could order pan fried hapuka ($34) or pulled wagyu beef burger ($25.50). There is a separate dinner menu.
I selected the chicken, jalapeño and manchego croquettes served with house made garlic aioli ($14) from the 'something light' menu. It's not a huge serve, but I found it just enough for a lunch dish. The croquettes were deliciously crunchy, and the flavours blended beautifully. I loved the subtle kick of jalapeño, which made the dish.
Chicken, Jalapeño and Manchego croquettes, house made garlic aioli
On this occasion, I was dining with my mother, who selected the pork, apricot and pistachio terrine, condiments and fresh baked ciabatta ($14.50), also from the 'something light' selection. She greatly enjoyed the dish.
We rounded out the meal with a glass each of Pebble Bay sauvignon blanc ($9 per glass).
Overall, the meal was thoroughly enjoyable and good value for money. I feel the prices are reasonable for the dishes that are on offer, and I'm pleased that the crew at Montsalvat are not exploiting visitors with extortionate prices (as you sometimes see at tourist destinations).
Another big plus for The Meeting Pool is that they've considered noise management, and taken steps to reduce the ambient noise. If you feel the underside of your table (inside the restaurant), you might be surprised to find foam padding; this helps to absorb noise.
There is much to commend The Meeting Pool and I highly recommend a visit.