Passing by, still sleepy after rolling off the Spirit of Tasmania’s night crossing, my partner balks at stopping at a winery restaurant, as he feels underdressed. Fowles Wines Cellar Door Restaurant is neither too posh during breakfast nor overpriced, and is an easy 90-minute drive north along the Hume Motorway from Melbourne. It’s much a destination rather than just a pitstop to refuel. Firstly, the beautifully designed building is cavernous with some fine touches like the floor to ceiling glass around the dining room to let as much of the surrounding countryside in, and the industrial-style plumbing and old-style cement laundry tubs that have us talking about how well that style works here. Upon entering is the understated shop that sells everything from wine and jams to cookbooks and unusual gifts. Another section offers wine tasting, then further around the corner the restaurant opens up to a bright contemporary space that specialises in paddock to plate meals with ingredients sourced locally. The scones are listed on the lunch menu, but I’m here earlier and the kitchen still has them. I’d like to say that they are fresh from the oven, but unfortunately they don’t taste like it. The scones aren’t outstanding. Fresh – yes, but, I guess in such stylish surrounds, I am expecting better. The apple berry and Chardonnay jam, also sold in the onsite store, is unusual and looks like a jelly rather than a jam. It’s not overly sweet and offers an interesting element to the spread. The cream is double thick dollop cream, which goes well with the jam, and livens up the scone. Next time I’ll stop by for lunch as the food looks delicious!
Tea: A basic range of Larsen & Thompson loose-leaf teas served in a teapot.
Overall: A cellar door where it’s much about the whole destination rather than just the wine.
Location: 1175 Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel VIC 3664 Ph: 03 5796 2150 fowleswine.com
Reviewed in December, 2019