There’s a new venue amongst the Yarra Valley wineries where you can enjoy a glass of wine and dine whilst taking in the rolling landscape.
The St Huberts vineyard has had a schmick face-lift and a rebrand to Hubert Estate. And apart from a stylish Cellar Door and an Indigenous Australian Art Gallery there’s a better class of casual dining at Quarters.
Location: 1-3 Huberts Rd, Coldstream, VIC 3770 Ph: (03) 8756 1600
It’s easy to see why the Yarra Valley wineries are amongst Victoria’s biggest tourist attractions.
Lying barely an hour out of Melbourne and featuring some stunning cellar doors and great dining options – all in bucolic settings. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip, or even a couple of nights, from the city. What’s more, the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are rather excellent too.
One of the original Yarra Valley wineries was St Hubert’s. Now this revered elder statesman of the Australian wine industry has been revamped and renamed – to simply Hubert Estate.
With the name change has come a big spend. The most obvious sign of this as you approach is the turf-topped ‘molehill’, rising out of the manicured lawn to hunch sedately, overlooking the vines.
This striking structure houses a very chic new Cellar Door on the entry level. If you take the moody staircase down to the level below, you’ll find an Indigenous Australian Art Gallery. Both the Cellar Door and Art Gallery have extensive floor to ceiling windows along one side, bringing light and a view of the vines into the bunker-like space.
Now whilst the Art Gallery is a get addition to the Hubert Estate and the Cellar Door is a gorgeous room, we were here to eat. And yes, the Cellar Door has wine-friendly snacks – including a rather inciting looking cheese board. However, we had our stomachs set on a more substantial feed.
This meant abandoning the architecturally appealing molehill and heading over to the Quarters restaurant.
Quarters at Hubert Estate is housed in what must be one of the flashiest sheds in the Yarra Valley.
With space for 180 diners inside and more than another 100 outside when the weather permits, that’s a lot of covers.
Happily, the chef in charge of the kitchen knows all about the workings of a busy kitchen. Michael Smith, ex-Tonka & Jorg, has left the city behind and is overseeing a menu that naturally lends itself to relaxed, convivial dining.
It’s the kind of food that encourages sharing and, pleasingly, many dishes have a little twist to add a smidge of intrigue.
So the Crispy School Prawns ($16.50) come with Nori & Lemon Aioli and the Spiced Fried Chicken Wings appear with Pickles & Black Garlic Aioli. Just that wee tweak to the Aiolis shows an attention to detail that speaks volumes.
And yes. It may be unusual, but I have a child who adores Brussel Sprouts. Seriously. So thank goodness the sprouts dish at Quarters is a belter. Crunchy and vivid green, they sit on a bed of Labne and are given herby texture by a Falafel Crumb & Pine Nuts. I will be experimenting with toasted bits of falafel on lots of my green veg from now on.
One of the big draws at Quarters at Hubert Estate has to be their wood-fired pizzas. Easy to divide up, popular with adults and kids alike, pizza should be a star on any menu it graces. Yet it’s surprising how often this endlessly-adaptable dish disappoints.
Well not at Quarters.
If you like authentic Italian-style pizza bases that are thin with a heat-blistered edge, you’ll love these.
We ordered the Special and the Calabrese and both were excellent. The Special – Olive Mortadella, Pickled Green Chilli & Stracchiatella was especially memorable. The soft, creamy cheese and savoury notes of the mortadella worked well against a seriously garlicky base. Luckily the pickled Chillies weren’t sliced and scattered across the pizza. Instead, they came whole in the centre of the dish, so allowing us to choose our level of heat.
Still on the food, Quarters at Hubert offers a Hungry Hungry Hubert ($79) selection if you can’t decide what to order. Including Pizza, Almond Hummus, those Chicken Wings and some fabulously, sticky Lamb Ribs, it’s a great tasting board of crowd-pleasers.
Better still, if you’ve got Littlies in tow, there’s also a Kids Menu. With favourites such as Penne Bolognese ($14) and Cheeseburger, Chips & Tomato Sauce ($14), everyone should be happy.
Finally, there’s the Desserts. Lots and lots of sinful-looking desserts. The only problem is whether the Blood Orange Cheesecake ($8.50) is more appealing than the Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Canelle ($6.00)? For me, it’s the Canelle, every time.
Obviously, there’s wine. After all, Quarters at Hubert Estate is a winery restaurant.
That said, it’s nice to see all the wines here offered by the glass, 500ml and 1 litre. I haven’t seen carafe of wine on a table for a while. To my mind, it added to the relaxed European vibe of the dining room.
However, if wine isn’t your thing, there’s also are an array of beers and spirits as well as a smattering of cocktails.
If you’re not feeling the love for alcohol, there are mocktails, soft drinks and a very Melbourne list of coffees and teas.
First impressions of Quarters as you walk in is of entering a very cool, spacious wool-shed that’s been converted into a very cool, spacious dining hall.
Much of this is due to the use of plenty of dark wood in the new buildings at Hubert Estate. The entry to the Art Gallery and the elegant Cellar Door both utilise it to dramatic effect.
The same is true at Quarters, where varied wood grains are celebrated in the table tops, bar cladding and end feature wall.
Surprisingly, this has the effect of making the large, vibrant space quite cozy and welcoming.
Although we visited late on a sadly sunless afternoon, we felt cosseted by the room. I’m sure that come summer, the big glass doors along one side will be open, allowing a flow of people and food from interior to exterior. It’ll totally change the atmosphere of the place. In fact, it’ll give us a good excuse to dine here again.
Lastly, ordering is done via a QR code on each table.
The food came promptly, delivered by busy, but smiley staff. Talking of which, special mention must go to the two ladies running the bookings at the front of the house. They were charming and efficient, even at the end of what must have been a long day.
Sitting just up the road from Lilydale, Coldstream is the gateway to the Yarra Valley – the perfect destination for a lunch in the country.
And if that appeals to you, then put Quarters at Hubert Estate on your ‘to do’ list.
Quarters restaurants serves balanced, tasty plates of rustic-inspired dishes. Though many plates are familiar, each has a wee tweak of interest. The signs of a kitchen team that clearly knows what it’s doing.
On a sunny summer’s afternoon, there’ll be few places better to sit with a glass of vino and tuck into a gourmet pizza. Or even a bowl of falafel-garnished Brussel Sprouts!