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Tag Archives: vineyard

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria)

Did you check out my travel post to Phillip Island? If not you must, since this is what we were upto the second day of our travels.

Whenever I travel within Australia, I try and visit a local winery or restaurant in the region – a part of the holiday I incorporate to broaden my understanding of food and wines here. Though a lot of names came up while researching for wineries both in Phillip Island and along the Gippsland Highway, Djinta Djinta captured my interest as they had a restaurant on the property.

After leaving the San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op, we took a picturesque drive towards Kardella South to visit Djinta Djinta Winery and also to lunch at deVine Restaurant (on the property itself).

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

What a unique name, isn’t it? Djinta Djinta (gin-tah gin-tah) is actually a distinctive sound that is made by the indigenous Willy Wagtails. This winery is a 10.5 acre picturesque property located within the Strzelecki Ranges and lies between Korumburra and Leongatha, just off the South Gippsland Highway.

The view is spectacular and we were blessed with a bright sunny day to walk around and enjoy the property. A stunning location for events especially weddings; I even told the husband that maybe we should renew our vows here.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

Unfortunately the cellar door, ‘Wines of Armour Room’ was closed due to an event so we couldn’t do any tastings. Please do call up ahead and confirm about availability if you are interested in tastings. That was a miss for us as we were looking forward to this eagerly.

But the experience at deVine more than made up for this.

The restaurant is situated at the upper level of the main house and a beautiful barrel shaped door greets you at its entrance. The ambience at deVine is traditional and infused with a lot of warmth and comfort. All the wood paneling, rich colours and a well laid out space gives you a homely and welcoming feeling.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

After a warm greeting by Eleonor who is part owner at Djinta Djinta, we were seated at a table overlooking the vineyard, a sight so spectacular that you could gaze at it for hours. A seasonal a-la-carte menu is available and there is also a special children’s menu, vegetarian and vegan menu.

Since we couldn’t enjoy the tastings, we got two bottles of wine based on recommendations Eleanor gave us after understanding our taste preferences and also our meal order.

The first was a bottle of 2014 Djinta Djinta Pinot Noir which had a strong, velvety and lengthy flavourful palate with hints of cherry, plum and cassis.

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Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

And the second was a bottle of 2013 Sweet Melody; a sweet, aromatic and refreshing white with floral and musk flavours. Hands down, the wine of the day and especially recommended for those who are fond of sweeter whites than the crisp dry ones. Loved it so much that we bought home an extra bottle for the festive season.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

The luncheon menu had options for 2 and 3 course and with four of us, there were quite a few dishes we sampled.

The first entrée was Housemade Hungarian Pork Sausage on Caramelized Onion drizzled with Romesco Sauce.  Delicious was the verdict especially with the quality of the sausages really shining through. A great entrée which is not only flavourful but showcased the quality of ingredients.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next entrée was Beetroot, Feta and Toasted Cashew Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Housemade SourDough Crisps. I ordered this salad because it was a unique combination of flavours, one that I had never tried before. A stunning option for those who want to start off with something light and highly recommended if you are a vegetarian too.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

The third entrée was Pumpkin and Chickpea Fritters with Chilli Dressing and served with a Mixed Lettuce Salad. Yet another delicious vegetarian option, the fritters were so full of flavour with the chilli dressing complimenting the sweetness from the pumpkin.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

Time for the mains; we ordered two of the Pan Seared Meditteranean Salmon Fillet on Roasted Tomato, Eggplant, Zucchini, Onion and Olives topped with Tangy Lemon Salsa Verde. Cooked to perfection, moist and succulent salmon paired deliciously with the roast vegetables and tangy herby dressing. While it was perfect, I would have liked more of the salsa verde on the plate.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next main dish to arrive was the Marinated Roast Duck Leg in Sweet Spiced Pinot Gris with Plum Jus and Seasonal Vegetables. The duck was cooked perfectly and I loved that sweet spicy jus which went really well with the duck.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

The vegetarian mains ordered was a Thai Coconut Vegetable Curry on Jasmine Rice. While it might not be an authentic Thai curry, it was definitely full of flavour especially that coconut broth; refreshing and delicious.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

My little fellow chose the Gourmet Pizza with Ham, Cheese, Pineapple, Chicken and Olives. So happy to see that the children’s menu gets the same attention as the adults. He was extremely happy and so were we; I even managed to sneak in a slice.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

For desserts, the first one ordered was a French Fudge Chocolate Mousse in a White Chocolate Cup, Chocolate Shavings and Almond Tuille.

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The second choice was the Nashi Pear and Blueberry Cobbler served with Vanilla Icecream.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

And the third was a Cacao Pudding served with Raspberry Coulis and Fresh Strawberries.

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

There was utter silence at the table after the desserts arrived; in fact everyone was impatient for me to finish my photography so that they could tuck in. Unanimously, the dessert course was acknowledged as the best course of the day (not by me, I am a savoury girl). And every single plate went back polished off. It would be hard to pick a favourite as all of them were delicious but I thoroughly enjoyed the Nashi pear crumble which was so warm, fresh, not too sweet and dancing on your tastebuds with that cold icecream. Highly recommend all three.

So happily fed, we thanked Eleonor for a wonderful time and then strolled around the winery a bit. While everyone else settled in the shade for a bit of rest, I decided to explore where the vines grew and spotted these baby grape bunches. My first ever experience!

Djinta Djinta Winery and deVine Restaurant (Kardella South, Victoria) - thespiceadventuress.com

I strongly encourage all of you to visit Djinta Djinta; it could be a day’s journey in itself or as part of the South Gippsland wine trail or perhaps clubbed with your Phillip Island trip. Djinta Djinta also hosts different types of food events at the restaurant like the Friday Tapas nights.

Djinta Djinta Winery & deVine Restaurant

10 Stevens Rd
Kardella South VIC 395

Phone no: (03) 5658 1163

Website: http://www.djintadjinta.com.au/

Email: info@djintadjinta.com.au

Djinta Djinta Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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An Indian Food and Wine Experience in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

The first time I heard of Tulsi Indian Restaurant was in 2014. Tulsi had just won the distinguished Victorian Award of Excellence 2014 by Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTplus Awards for Excellence and I had the opportunity to write a feature about the restaurant and the team behind it for Indian Link.

During the course of research and writing the feature, I got to know more about Chef Devendra and his wife Shashi Singh, their love for food and also their passion for representing India’s rich culinary heritage through Tulsi.

But the surprise factor for me was Shashi Singh, who also happens to be a winemaker; one of the few Indian-origin winemakers in Australia. She owns and operates Avani (The Earth) Syrah, located at Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula.

I got an opportunity to meet Shashi again early this year at the ‘Spice and Wine’ Masterclass held as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Along with Chef Adam D’Sylva of Coda and Tonka, she took us on a learning process of how to match Indian spices and flavours with wine. The first thing that struck me about Shashi was her friendliness and down-to-earth approach. She was so welcoming when I requested that I would love to have a personal tour of her winery.

And that wish of mine was finally fulfilled a couple of weeks ago when I visited both Avani and Tulsi as part of my Mornington Peninsula holiday.

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Shashi’s home is situated on the vineyard itself; infact, you look out of her living room and you see the vineyard stretching out like a green panorama as far as eyes can see. Totally addictive!

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We had a small wine tasting session, a very personal one as Shashi believes in small, intimate groups rather than large, commercial ones. I totally agree with her viewpoint especially after visiting a lot of wineries in Australia where sometimes the tasting session becomes so stuffy and formal. Shashi is happy to answer all your questions and she puts you instantly at ease that you would open up and ask the most basic things you want to know about wine and pairing with food.

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Apart from the Avani Syrah, we also had a taste of the 2015 Pinot Grigio which is yet to be bottled. She was so enthusiastic about this one and wanted us to have a taste. And I am so happy she did. For the first time, I understood what ‘spicy tones in a wine’ means. She later told me that she is planning on calling it ‘Amrit’ (the names of her wines are all Sanskrit and so brilliantly apt).

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After spending some time at the vineyard, we decided to visit Tulsi for dinner and more of the Indian food and wine pairing experience.

Situated in Somerville, Tulsi might come across as a regular suburban Indian restaurant. But the minute you step in, you realize that this is not your average, pedestrian Indian curry house. The décor is classic contemporary with definite Indian touches in the form of wooden artwork and photographs.

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The service is extremely professional yet friendly. A relaxed ambience with a view into the open kitchen where you find calm and composed chefs going about their business of sending out delicious food.

There is a good wine list which includes ones from their vineyard; you can also request for matching wines for each course. The dinner menu is a short and limited one unlike many of the Indian restos where you can usually find pages after pages of dishes; a matter of quality over quantity.

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One among the many awards won by Tulsi!

One among the many awards won by Tulsi!

We started off on hot, piping samosas filled with a savoury peas and potato stuffing. Now, I have had plenty of samosas in my lifetime but what made this one stand apart is its buttery, flaky shortcrust pastry which is really hard to find in Melbourne.

Samosas filled with a savoury peas and potato stuffing

Samosas filled with a savoury peas and potato stuffing

Next, we had the Kesari Murgh Tikka; melt-in-your-mouth chicken morsels with subtle yet flavourful marinade of spices and saffron. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this is the best chicken tikka I have had for a really long time especially in Australia. No artificial colours and absolutely juicy chicken bites. Highly recommended.

We also had a tasting of Tandoori Champ or marinated racks of lamb. Delicious with the cooking of the lamb spot on.

Kesari Murgh Tikka and Tandoori Champ

Kesari Murgh Tikka and Tandoori Champ

For the mains, we had steamed basmati rice and naan/bread accompanied with Saag Paneer (cottage cheese and spinach curry) and Jheenga Nariyal (King prawns cooked with coconut and spices). I hardly ever talk about the naan I eat at the Indian restaurants here but at Tulsi, you will want to. And that’s probably because of the slight twist, the bread is finished off in an oven instead of a tandoor which makes it soft and pillowy, the perfect carrier for scooping the curries.

I am usually not a big fan of saag but this one was delicious primarily because of the quality of the cottage cheese. Anyone who is familiar with paneer or Indian cottage cheese would be able to say that this one is prepared in house as it is soft and crumbly. The dish was mild just as it is prepared in Northern part of India. Definitely recommended for paneer lovers.

And I will not be able to stop talking about the prawn curry. Perfectly cooked king prawns in a luxuriously creamy coconut gravy with just the right hint of spices. Again, totally recommended!

Steamed basmati rice and naan/bread accompanied with Saag Paneer (cottage cheese and spinach curry) and Jheenga Nariyal (King prawns cooked with coconut and spices).

Steamed basmati rice and naan/bread accompanied with Saag Paneer (cottage cheese and spinach curry) and Jheenga Nariyal (King prawns cooked with coconut and spices).

Finished the meal with gulab jamuns (dumplings in golden sugar syrup) with a side of mango ice-cream. The jamuns were warm and fresh but could have been a tad bit softer but paired beautifully with the mango ice cream.

Gulab jamuns (dumplings in golden sugar syrup) with mango ice-cream

Gulab jamuns (dumplings in golden sugar syrup) with mango ice-cream

Now I know the post is getting longer but the experience at Tulsi cannot be complete if I do not talk about another dining opportunity I had at the restaurant. Three days after I visited, Tulsi was hosting a special Diwali dinner series specially curated and prepared by Chef Balaji who specializes in South Indian cuisine.

It was a three course meal with matching wines from Avani. The restaurant was beautifully decked with traditional earthen lamps (diyas) and rose petals.

The first course consisted of Kerala Pan Seared Salmon, Pepper studded Vadai, Madras style Calamari and a shot of peppery Rasam. The accompanying wines were two different types of Pinot; the first one a 2015 Pinot (Amrit) – with spicy notes which matched perfectly with the South Indian spices. The second was a limited edition 2015 Pinot fermented with the skins on which gave the wine a nice rosy hue and a refreshing lightness.

I loved the salmon; crispy skin and perfectly flaky flesh with a subtle hint of spices. Loved the calamari too which was served on a bed of lettuce and sautéed onions. The vadai was delicious but I would have preferred it warm and slightly crispier but then, that’s the South Indian in me talking. All finished off with a shot of rasam, high on flavour and packed a punch.

Kerala Pan Seared Salmon, Pepper studded Vadai, Madras style Calamari and a shot of peppery Rasam

Kerala Pan Seared Salmon, Pepper studded Vadai, Madras style Calamari and a shot of peppery Rasam

Limited edition 2015 Amrit (Pinot) fermented with the skins

Limited edition 2015 Amrit (Pinot) fermented with the skins

2015 Amrit (Pinot)

2015 Amrit (Pinot)

The second course was Kozhi Vartha or Oven Roasted Chicken with Coconut served with Hyderabadi Pilaf and Long Beans Poriyal. Paired with a 2013 Avani Syrah which matched beautifully with the spices in the chicken. The meat was tender and served with a flavourful savoury tomato sauce with the pilaf subtle but delicious.

Kozhi Vartha or Oven Roasted Chicken with Coconut served with Hyderabadi Pilaf and Long Beans Poriyal paired with a 2013 Avani Syrah

Kozhi Vartha or Oven Roasted Chicken with Coconut served with Hyderabadi Pilaf and Long Beans Poriyal paired with a 2013 Avani Syrah

And the final course was dessert which was the most delicious rice and saffron kheer and jalebi which I have ever had. I am usually not the person to rave about desserts but this one was outstanding. The kheer was light, not very sweet to match the sticky, syrupy sweetness of the jalebis. Absolutely brilliant.

Rice and saffron kheer and jalebi

Rice and saffron kheer and jalebi

Tulsi was a delicious experience and a clear stand out among the mediocre Indian restaurants out here in Melbourne. Each dish is carefully prepared with the best quality ingredients and a true understanding of the cuisine which translates into a delicious and memorable experience for the diner.

The Team.....

The Team…..

Making a reservation ahead is advised especially for weekends. Also sign up to the Tulsi newsletter for special dinners, wine matching events and degustations.

Rating – 8.5/10

Tulsi Indian Restaurant

74 Station Street
Somerville
Victoria 3192

Phone no: 0359776733

Website: http://www.tulsi.com.au/

Timings:

Monday – 5.30 pm onwards
Tuesday – closed
Wednesday – 5.30 pm onwards
Thursday – 5.30 pm onwards
Friday – 5.30 pm onwards
Saturday – 5.30 pm onwards
Sunday – 5.30 pm onwards

Tulsi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – We were guests at Tulsi on both occasions but all the views and opinions expressed here are entirely mine.

Grilled Steak (with curry flavoured smoked sea salt) with Chimichurri Salsa and Fennel Salad (dressed with strawberry port wine vinaigrette)

Quite a mouthful title, isn’t it?

It had to be because today’s post is my dedication to the farmers and food and wine producers of the panoramic Yarra Valley.

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Travel, for me, is not about just visiting a destination. It is about the whole experience of discovering what that place has to be offer, albeit at a small level. It is about bringing back not just memories but also intimate knowledge about the culture, food and life of that region. So when I got this amazing opportunity to visit Yarra Valley as part of the regional food group tour, I bought back some incredible food products and wine using which I created today’s recipe.

From the Gateway Estate, I bought home this bottle of strawberry port wine which I used to make the salad dressing. I really wanted to bring back some dry aged steak but unfortunately travelling by public transport didn’t allow me that luxury.

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While walking around the regional farmer’s market at Yering Station, I came across the Smoke and Roast stall. Getting to hear about my fascination with spices and the like, the owner offered me a sample of their signature curry flavoured smoked sea salt which I have used in today’s recipe as the spice rub for my steak. I also bought a pack of their original smoked sea salt and this gorgeous looking salt container.

While I have used plenty of smoked sea salts before, I have never come across a curry flavoured one. Bang on flavour; totally recommend this one for your spice pantry.

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I also picked up a bottle of Yering Station ‘Old Beenak Road’ Shiraz 2013. A single vineyard wine, I could not have asked for a better pairing to my steak. It was rich yet velvety and smooth with the hint of ripe blackberry fruit and peppercorn spices. The wine tasting session did improve my knowledge and helped me pick a really good bottle.

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Our final stop in the journey was at the Locavore Studio from where I didn’t bring back a product but rather recipes and cooking skills. I learnt to cook the perfect steak and also picked up a great chimichurri salsa recipe, both of which are put to use today.

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Usually I photograph the food for the blog beforehand for optimal light conditions. But today, I am inviting you to our dinner table – no unwanted props or stylized food; this is how we eat whenever I make something special at home.

So come along on this delicious journey……

Ingredients:

For the fennel salad:

1. 2 cups mixed salad leaves
2. 1 fennel (white bulb); sliced lengthwise finely
3. 1 small red bell pepper; sliced lengthwise finely
4. 1 small red onion; sliced lengthwise finely
5. Fennel fronds; for garnish
6. For the vinaigrette:
• 4 tbsp strawberry port wine
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, to season
• Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Note – If you do not have strawberry port wine, use vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic or any other port wine. Orange juice is also a great one to experiment with.

For the chimichurri salsa:

1. 1 cup fresh continental parsley leaves; finely chopped
2. 1 cup fresh coriander; finely chopped
3. 3-4 fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
4. 1 garlic clove; crushed and finely chopped
5. 2 tbsp strawberry port wine (red wine vinegar can also be used)
6. ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
7. Salt, to season
8. Dried chilli flakes; a pinch (or more to suit your preferences)

For the steak:

1. 3 Scotch fillet steaks (the best quality you can buy)
2. Smoked curry flavoured sea salt rub
3. Olive oil
4. Freshly milled black pepper, to season

Note – If you cannot get the smoked sea salt rub, use any spice rub of your choice or just salt and pepper.

Method:

To prepare the salad:

• Cut all the vegetables and place in a bowl. Refrigerate till serving time.
• To prepare the dressing, mix all the ingredients given under vinaigrette. Vigorously shake well to form an emulsion and keep aside.
• Dress the salad just before serving (remember to shake the vinaigrette again) and garnish with fennel fronds.

To prepare the chimichurri:

Combine the chopped leaves, garlic, port wine, olive oil, salt and chilli flakes. Taste and adjust balance if necessary. Refrigerate till serving time.

To prepare the steak:

• Heat the grill to smoking hot; most people make the mistake of not heating the grill enough so make sure its smoking hot.
• Crush the smoked sea salt lightly (the salt crystals were chunky).
• Rub olive oil onto both sides of the steak well and then rub the smoked sea salt all over the steak.
• Place the steak pieces on the grill lengthwise; after a minute turn the steak breadthwise on the same side to get the nice criss cross marks. Half a minute later, flip the steaks over and repeat the same (almost one minute each). This is an approximate time for a medium done steak.
• Remove and rest for 1-2 minutes before serving.

Note:
• If you prefer medium well, then place in the oven at 180°C for 2-3 minutes.
• Timings are always an approximate as the cooking times will vary according to the cut and quality of meat that you are using. So go by the feel of the meat and cook to your preferences.

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