Many Windsor locals have drunk a brew at the beloved Railway, and the wider Melbourne community has frequented its 24 hour bottle shop, but what they may not be aware of is its two month old exclusive Highline restaurant boasting city views and featuring a Paddock to Plate style menu, courtesy of head chef, Simon Tarlington (ex Quay). “Simon’s focus is on fresh flavours, seasonal produce and sustainable practices.” The menu draws heavily from seasonal produce harvested from the owner’s farm in Oak Valley, 140 km North East of Melbourne in the Strathbogie Ranges.
Where the Highline differs from restaurants of similar ilk is the level of control it has over the produce from the farm. General Manager Peter McCormack explains, “ We control when we plant, when we harvest, when livestock is butchered, how it is cut and when it is smoked. We are planting Jerusalem artichoke right now to harvest in Winter next year.”
The effort and care in handling and cooking of the produce is evident in the final dishes. Poached lettuce with crispy skin, liver pate on toast, finely sliced bresaola and an oyster dressed with crispy, smoked bacon and homemade barbecue sauce is the first starter and primes ones tastebuds for the dishes to follow.
Plump, tender prawns, covered in powdered prawn shell, a top a piquant prawn head sauce, surrounded by slices of yellow and green beans, with a tinge of lemon juice, could’ve fared better less adorned with prawn flavour and is accompanied by a crisp and fresh 2013 Quartier Pinot Gris as recommended by our savvy waiter. My vegetarian companion is well catered for and tucks into a myriad of brightly coloured, sliced beetroot. The next starter disappears swiftly before being photographed. It’s simply a variety of ripe, juicy red and yellow tomatoes, filled with white, fresh cow’s curd from the farm served with almond crumb, olive tapenade, and fresh oregano.
The main exemplifies Tarlington’s ingenuity; Pig-nose to tail terrine, symbolising the pig, with outer skin, pork flesh and black pudding as blood, in a smoked bacon broth, with preserved celery. The black pudding gives the dish a depth of flavour and the saltiness of the broth is satisfying. A velvety chocolate mousse, with shiny, freshly picked blackberries and a blackberry jelly make up an impeccable dessert, the choc-berry obsession. To finish and cleanse the palette, petit fours as soft, tangy hand made, passionfruit jellies follow.
The Highline Restaurant is offering patrons a unique dining experience, with an inventive menu, seasonal produce, flawless service, and seasoned Bar Manager Rommer Bernarte, who knows a thing or two about pairing drink with food. For those looking for a venue to hold their next private or business function or for something more than the next food fad along Chapel St, look no further than the Highline Restaurant at the Railway Hotel Windsor.
Address: 29 Chapel St, Windsor 3181
Ph: 03 9510 4050
Hours: Mon-Sat 6pm-late.
This article was originally published on The AU Review.