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Red Hill Epicurean

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published May 4th 2013
A culinary heart for the Mornington Peninsula
The colours in this dish were amazing

The best way to describe the new business, Epicurean, is probably as a food resort.

At a resort you get to do and try lots of things like taking a dip in the pool or playing tennis and so on. At Epicurean you also have lots of activities. You can swill, sample, savour, sip, taste, savour, masticate and devour.

The fact that all of these activities have to do with food and wine only heightens the pleasure.

Epicurean is a strikingly large new building in the centre of the small township of Red Hill. It is built from the shell of an old apple packing shed and only opened on Australia Day 2013.

Walk in and to your right is their coffee shop and bakery. Shelves are stacked with French and Italian artisan style breads -- straight from the wood fire ovens which you can see at the back.

In glass shelves on the counter are luscious snowy peaked lemon meringue tarts and plump clouds of raspberry and chocolate meringue. The croissants are so large they look like huge sand coloured crabs heading to get you.

Then there is a room full of rounds of cheeses, hams and small goods. Very French provincial. A formageria no less.

Finally you come to the restaurant which is as big as a barn but at the same time has lots of cosy corners and fireplaces where you can sit and chat.

Everywhere you look there are growing edibles; pots of herbs and vegetables spilling over in a profusion of verdant green.Vases of languorous heavy-headed roses decorate the counter.

Just inside the restaurant are trendy steel self-service wine contraptions.

Perhaps you can't decide what wine to have with a meal and you want to try before you buy a whole bottle. Then you can purchase a card which allows you to swipe the various machines and taste dozens of wines.

We got the same service from Pascal at the bar but apparently locals like the machines because Epicurean stocks wines from over 100 Mornington Peninsula vignerons so there are a lot of tastings if you happen to come into town regularly.

Oh to be a local and live on the Mornington Peninsula.

Although for time poor visitors it is a way to taste your way around Melbourne's backyard while remaining rooted to the spot.

The menu is simple but delightful with a strong Italian influence.

We started with the bakeries breads, focaccia, ciabatta and olive bread. This came with marinated local olives, aged balsamic and a rich olive oil. An interesting twist was the raw marinated whole olive cloves($6.50). I swear they cured my cold in one sitting.

Then we shared a few entree dishes.

Western Port grilled calamari, which came with bright green sea vegetables, crispy shallots and grapefruit ($16). This we decided was the highlight of the meal.

My friend tucked into her ravioli which was stuffed with braised ox cheek and adrift in a sweet pea sauce. ($15.50) While she adored it I found the meaty taste too strong for my palette.

We shared a main which was pepperoni (roasted red pepper risotto with lemon mascarpone pedron peppers and parmesan) all decorated with zucchini flowers($24). The colours were amazing but it became a bit samish so we failed to get to the bottom of it. We also had a side serve of vegetables which included garden fresh beans, peas, asparagus and preserved lemon. Again a stunning colour combination.

Beautiful roses

We then took a walk just behind the Epicurean where there is an old rail trail. It stretches 6.5km to Merricks and has some stunning elevated views.

On our return we decided to try the Epicurean bakery for coffee. Which of course lead to some of their light meringues and a sour dough fruit loaf to take home.

The coffee was amazing. They even roast their own and it has a rich choclately flavour.

Every Friday at 2.30pm Jacob the barista hosts a coffee class showing you the ins and outs of making the perfect cup of coffee as well as explaining the different coffees and their origins. (The class costs $10.)

If you are considering a drive down to this new epicurean heart of the Mornington Peninsula then you will find Red Hill only takes an hour or so due to the new Peninsula Link Freeway.

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Why? To imbibe on all the Peninsula has to offer.
When: Open for all meals, seven days a week.
Phone: 5989 4000
Where: 165 Red Hill-Shoreham Rd Red Hill South
Cost: Varies. Some dishes just pub prices but pizza is around $20. Although it is all very gourmet.
Your Comment
Great article Nadine, this is a local spot for me and this place has been a huge success since opening. You bet me to it and done a great review:)

by Lorraine A (score: 3|1610) 2582 days ago
Nadine, I now dub thee one of the best food photographers :) Gr8 article too, must check it out :) Stay well :)
by Jen (score: 3|2579) 2066 days ago
Hello and thank you for visiting our Epicurean at Red Hill. Needless to say your comments are greatly appreciated. T
his has been an epic journey to get this place open, and to have such warm repsonses from customers such as you is deeply felt. Kind regards, Craig and all the hard working Red Hill Epicurean team.
by craig (score: 0|5) 2582 days ago
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