Upon entry wind down the windows. You will be serenade by frogs.
Welcome to Clyde Park, Bannockburn, mid way between Ballarat and Geelong.
Just past the barrel shed is a view to write home about, across rolling green hills lined with vines.
The cellar door and main cafe seating area is inside the barrel shed, but you can also choose the wide verandah with wood fired pizza oven on one side and the view on the other.
Small touches in the decorating makes a huge difference to what is essentially a shed on a hill, lined with barrels full of sleeping wines.
A quick wine tasting before lunch is well worth your while.
There are a number of ranges at Clyde Park, the Reserve is being run out, but the Locale, Estate and Block ranges will remain.
The 2011 Reserve Chardonnay ($18) is the old, bold style with a good whack of oak and pawpaw, but with nice soft acid giving lingering juiciness.
The Locale range is comprised of 70% local and 30% non-estate fruit.
Estate Pinot Noir 2013 ($28) has a French inspired mushroom nose. Smooth and spicy, the palate finishes with low tannin.
Estate Shiraz 2013 ($28) has more red fruit spectrum with a whack of spice. Medium to medium plus so a good match for the wood fired pizzas. Refreshing acidity also helps, as does moderate non-aggressive tannin and good length.
Clever menu highlights local seasonal produce with the tag “Victorian Taste”.
All of the pizzas are presented beautifully on wooden boards, with crisp, thin wood fired bases in rectangle shape, the perfect size for one.
The High Tide pizza ($35) is adorned with almost translucent scallops and prawns, so there is no fear of them being overdone.
Salami ($29) is adorned with rocket and creme fraiche to balance the spiced charcuterie.
Acropolis ($29) is delicious with house grown pumpkin, Mt Zero olives and Merideth Goat Fetta add saltiness.
Middle Eastern ($32) has tender lamb strips and a little dish of tangy/spicy aoli to add in the perfect proportion for your taste.
Buffalo Bill ($24) is a margherita with both normal and local Shaw River buffalo mozzerella. Perfect stretch & squeak, and plenty of the cheese, makes for a substantial pizza. My preferred style is less-is-more. A sprinkle of the Mt Zero pink lake salt makes it sing.
Both the pinot with it’s clean acid and the shiraz with it’s medium body are well suited to the pizzas.
Make a point of wandering outside. There is a compact but delightful kitchen garden.
Chooks luxuriate in a deluxe run with substantial coop, fed with scraps from the pizza making process.
Wire terrariums hang.
Facilities are signposted with old maps.
And they are rooms with a one-way view over the hills.
Service is friendly and attentive, with thoughtful touches like blankets for your knees on each chair and well placed heat lamps. Cutlery is a cut above and very art deco in style. It is little wonder that this is a popular venue for hens parties and birthday celebrations with long tables available inside and room to spread your blanket and retire to a spot in the sun on the hill outside afterward, glass in hand, admiring the view.
A wonderful location for an afternoon in the sun, great wines, local food, and good times.
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Menu – Wood fired pizza, burgers, calamari, share platters.
Standout Dish: Acropolis pizza $29.
Service: Friendly, helpful, welcoming.
Online Booking: Yes, and by phone.
Restaurant Details and Location:
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for lunch from 12pm & Public Holidays
Access: Onsite, off street carpark.