Category Archives: Lunch

Healesville Hotel and friends

The Yarra Valley is one of my favourite day-trip destinations in Victoria. So when I heard the 2011 Archibald Prize would be held at the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Healesville, I conjoured up a heady itinerary of wineries, involving much wine-tasting and of course, some art.

However, I hadn’t counted on Friday night drinks @ Newmarket Hotel the night before. So I’m afraid to say, there wasn’t a single wine tasting to be had (ironic given I was drinking Yarra Valley pinot noir by the litre the previous night…)! To get us started, we grab a couple of large coffees and a pastry from Harlequin Deli in Richmond, then hit the road.

We made it to the gallery by midday and waited patiently in line with the droves of other portraiture-lovers and out of towners. But ah, it’s such a pretty place, so we didn’t mind waiting.

I loved Adam Chang’s amazing painting of John Coetzee (People’s Choice 2011). And the 2011 winner Ben Quilty’s painting of artist Margeret Olley is so bold, so striking. I watched the way people gazed at it with absolute admiration for both Quilty and Olley – now ever-more poignant with Olley’s passing on Tuesday.

Happy but hungry, we had a quick wander around the grounds, then headed to Healesville Hotel (say that three times fast!). It was packed, but we found a spot in the courtyard where I delicately sipped on some Punt Road apple cider ’til our meals arrived. N. had the fish and chips. The batter on the fish was thick, crispy and perfect and the tartare sauce was so good, I had to steal a few extras tastes.

Fish, chips and 'slaw!

I decided to try the chickpea kofta dish, which came with a thick roasted tomato sauce, lovely pieces of cheese baked throughout and fresh, doughy serve of flatbread. It was a lovely, hearty dish – perfect for a Winter’s day.

Mmm ... little hot pot of kofta goodness!

I was a bit sad there was no sticky date pudding on the menu, so we pushed on for afternoon tea at one of the wineries. We ended up at Domaine Chandon, where we got a table overlooking the vineyards, the tourists photographing themselves in the vineyards, and the expansive, stunning Dandenong Ranges. We shared a chocolate ganache cake over coffee and tea (still no wine for me), before picking up some Yarra Valley apples at a local produce store on the way home. Lovely.

Perfect way to finish a lovely day in the valley

 “My life and my paintings are one and the same thing.”
Margaret Olley, 24 June 1923 – 26 July 2011

Harlequin Fine Wines and Deli
207 Swan Street, Richmond

TarraWarra Museum of Art
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville

Healesville Hotel
256 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville

Domaine Chandon
727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream

Healesville Hotel

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Breakfast, lunch and tea – Boheme Restaurant Bar

I have been going to Boheme Restaurant for about a year and it is consistently good. The staff are lovely, the food is good and well presented and the prices are decent. Boheme serves brunch until 4pm and puts up a good lunch/dinner menu, with a few weekly specials thrown in. Here are my favourite offerings from the vegetarian menu:

Breakfast: The Bircher muesli at Boheme is one of prettiest little breakfast set ups going round. It comes with chai poached pears (delicate, but not at all overcooked, and sweet), fresh vanilla yoghurt and a little saucer of milk. The muesli itself is a substantial serve, with lots of dried (but juicy!) fruit, topped with lush strawberries and glazed in honey. It’s healthy, filling and at under $9, great value for such a big serve.

Bircher bliss!

Lunch: It can sometimes be hard to find a good place for a large booking, but Boheme is great for a team lunch and you can’t go past the weekday special: $4.50 pizzas! The pizzas are normally about $14-$15 and come with a dozen different toppings (three vegetarian options). On the last occassion, a colleague and I split a vegetarian pizza and were pleasantly full (not to mention polite, trying to spot the other’s bargain price of $2.25 for the meal).

Tea: My favourite main meal here is the homemade pan fried gnocchi with pumpkin, goat’s cheese and a balsamic reduction. Actually, on closer inspection of the menu, it’s the only vegetarian main (among many seafood options). But it’s so good! The gnocchi is soft and bite-y with a bit of crunch from the pan. Usually the goats cheese is crumbled over the dish, but the last time I was there, it came in a few big chunks. I thought, there’s no way I’ll eat all that! Guess how much was left at the end of the meal …

Pan fried gnocchi perfection

So whether it be for breakfast, lunch or tea, these options at Boheme get the vegetarian thumbs up.

Boheme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond

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