If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Mildura, which is perched on the north-western border of Victoria only a step's throw from New South Wales and 30 minute drive from South Australia, and a trip to Trentham Estate is a dining experience that embodies the essence of the Murrayland.
Open only for lunch and situated a mere 15 minute drive from Mildura's town centre in Trentham Cliffs, this popular restaurant serves formidable culinary delights and, oh yeah, it's a winery too!
I'm ashamed to say that I neglected to take any personal photos of the place, probably because I was so mesmerised by the calmness of the Murray River the restaurant overlooked. With houseboats and kayakers passing by you can't help but lose track of time in this place and momentarily forget all your daily life worries.
Diners have the choice of dining inside or outside, but if the weather is fair (which it usually is in this region), you would be daft not to enjoy the sunshine outside. There is also the option to cook your own BBQ in the outside porch. You can buy a variety of different meats from the restaurant which you can cook at your own leisure on the outside grill. The sizzle and aroma of the BBQ only added to the jovial atmosphere for those lazy diners like us sitting outside while waiting for out meals to arrive.
A must-try is the Trentham Platter ($27) which contains a selection of house-made terrines, cured meats, pates, grilled vegies, and a slab of camembert, all accompanied by a generous serving of bread and crackers. There is something comforting about sharing a platter at the start of a meal in such an intimate environment.
We simply could not forgo the daily special, the Yabbie Platter ($25). Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best and this could not be better reflected in this platter, consisting of 5 freshly steamed yabbies still in their shell. The effort of cracking these babies open, sending shells all over each other and getting your hands dirty, is definitely worth it. The flesh is lightly salted and oh sooo fresh. I recall there once was a yabbie farm in these parts which has since regretfully closed down, but Trentham does well to make up for this loss.
After the two platters, we ordered a delectable main course; the double roasted duck leg on a poached pear served with seasonal greens and citrus sauce ($28). Just reading the menu made my mouth water and the dish certainly did not disappoint. The duck flesh fell from the bone at the ease of a fork and was still moist and tender. The citrus of the sauce was a perfect zing cutting through the richness of the flesh. The accompaniments were also perfectly executed. I have never had poached pear as an accompaniment in a savoury dish before but this certainly worked well. The cinnamon-spiced pear was poached to perfection enabling a fork to slice through cleanly with little resistance. Set aside with some perfectly cooked and fresh broccolini, this dish was perfectly balanced.
Being a winery, one cannot pass up on a detailed wine-tasting in the adjoining tasting room. You can purchase a bottle at a reasonable price, either to take home or to enjoy with your delightful meal. Wine-pairings are also suggested in the menu.
Perched on the edge of the mighty Murray, Trentham is a favourite with the locals as it embodies Sunraysia's philosophy of local, fresh produce and beautiful surrounds.