This was a pretty late review given that I have visited Innocent Bystander Winery back in early June and now it’s already end of July *facepalm*. Thank heaven I remember all the dishes that we had to be able to review them properly in this blog.
Last month my parents and siblings were coming over from Indonesia to visit me here. Believe it or not, this was my dad and my siblings’ first time coming to Melbourne during 8 years of my time here. It was so impossible to find an appropriate time that suited everyone’s schedule and my dad used to be so scared of flying. So I was pretty lucky this year that the time worked for everybody and even my dad wanted to come as well.
As you can imagine, I was so excited and I started to plan everything for the special visit, and I organised for us to spend 2 days 1 night in Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula as these two areas are quite closed to Melbourne and there would be plenty of places around that could keep us entertained.
I initially booked De Bortoli Winery for Sunday lunch as they had great reviews in Urbanspoon (now Zomato). However they only offered 3 courses lunch for $60 per person on that day. I was afraid that if the food wasn’t remarkable enough, we would be spending quite a fortune (7 x $60 = $420!). At the end I chose a more affordable restaurant that still has good review, so we decided on Innocent Bystander Winery.
The restaurant was pretty easy to find as it was located on the highway. I love the frosty timber look of the restaurant exterior as it gives this modern vibe from the outside. It looked more like a cafe than a restaurant.
You can find a few counters inside the restaurant that sell some small condiments, wine, cheese, and pastry, resembling a mini-market inside the restaurant. The place was quite big and could easily fit more than 100 people inside with big tables suitable to cater big groups. It was quite busy so we were lucky that we made the reservation a few days ahead.
While waiting for our orders to come, my boyfriend Raymond bought us a piece of strawberry danish to share. It looked impressive and the taste was yummy as well. The pastry was flaky, buttery and not too sweet, which was good for a pre-entree dish.
Innocent Bystander is famous for its Pink Moscato. So we ordered one small bottle to try. The pink moscato was really my type of wine. I really love sweet wine, and this one is sweet and fruity, truly refreshing.
I ordered the wood fired Spicy Pork Sausage Pizza ($20) to share. The pizza dough was a bit charred around the outside. The pork sausage wasn’t that spicy, however quite tasty. I did adore the melted mozarella cheese at the top and wanted more of it. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had but quite yummy and the portion didn’t disappoint.
Next to the pork sausage pizza was the Blackmore’s Wagyu Pastrami. Ray was so intrigued when he saw the word ‘wagyu’ together with ‘pastrami’ so he wanted to try that. It was quite tasty but for me it was a bit overpriced to get a few thin slices of pastrami for $14. I also couldn’t find the difference between using wagyu and the normal beef.
One of my favourites was the Smoked Ham Croquettes. I love crunchy stuffs and these babies were definitely crunchy and so yummy on the inside. I only had a bite but I still remember the taste. Not too pricey as we got three normal size croquettes for $11.
I did find something a tad disappointing, which was the Roast Kurobuta Pork Belly with Lettuce Salad. There are a couple things that I noted. I love roast pork belly and most pork belly in restaurants are generally yummy. But this one was a bit too oily on the outside and the skin wasn’t as crunchy as I would’ve liked. The taste was bland as well. For $22 the size of the pork belly was quite small as you can see the lettuce salad took up quite a bit of space on the plate.
I only took a small bite of the Roast Duck Bisteeya and could barely remember how it tasted like. But I definitely didn’t complain so the taste must be lovely. I remember the white sauce underneath was delicious. This costs $20.
Last but not least, my second favourite dish was the Truffle and Parmesan Frites ($10). I am not really a big fan of potato chips, but when it comes to truffle, anything becomes delicious. My siblings and I were nibbling on these frites without giving my parents any chance to try them.
The service at Innocent Bystander was quite good. All the dishes arrived at a timely manner and our waitress was quite attentive and kept changing our bottle water. The food was great, even though not that special and a bit overpriced for a casual cafe setting. The portion of the dishes were too small as well and we didn’t feel satisfied afterwards. I would however, come by again for a snack when I visit the area nearby and would try other things on their menu.
Innocent Bystander Winery
336 Maroondah Highway
Healesville (approximately 1.25 hour from Melbourne CBD)