Dining at Rochford Wines is an experience that is enhanced by the magnificent architecture of the restaurant, with its lofty ceilings, uninterrupted expanses of glass and the warming glow of its wooden floors.
An architect was engaged to transform the restaurant and cellar door complex into a modern, light filled steel and glass design featuring a glass walled barrel room, spiral stair case, observation tower and a horse shoe shaped cellar door tasting area.
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Rochford winery is big. The vineyards are expansive and frame an area that is used in summer for major event concerts (Rod Stewart in early 2008). The building is large, even imposing, and its interior is spacious with a large central bar and a huge kitchen. The wide open spaces and the views are the star turns rather than the interior decor, which is kept quite simple. There's a restaurant (white cloths, linen napkins) and a cafe area (bare tables, paper serviettes) and outdoor tables as well. There's also a cellar door, a shop, and an upstairs function room that can cater for conferences. Not enough? There's an art gallery, too.
In the restaurant, the menu has a fixed price of $55 for two courses, including coffee or tea. The style of food is contemporary, with strong Mediterranean influences. Think of a salad of Spanish ham, figs, gorgonzola and rocket to start, or perhaps a Yarra Valley quail terrine. Main courses feature roasted duck, lamb on parsnip puree with a spiced beetroot salad, a juicy steak, fish of the day and a vegetarian option. In the cafe, things are simpler, but still smart – a roast beef baguette, fish and chips, a pie made with Angus beef and Pinot. Rochford wines come from the Yarra Valley property (your waiter will point out the Sauvignon Blanc vineyard) or from the Macedon area. Rochford is particularly good for large groups and corporate events, and is well set up for tourists, who will find all kinds of delicious things to buy in the store.