Zonzo Estate (Yarra Valley) Loves Melbourne
Zonzo Estate is a worthy destination to visit from Melbourne, or from anywhere else. If you're looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy picturesque surrounds, while imbibing a decent menu and wine, then this is for you. It's bright and cheery, with a buzz of dining groups, and even weddings and hot air ballooning abound.
The World Loves Melbourne was invited to Zonzo Estate to experience a lazy lunch and enjoy rustic cuisine, notably the amazing wood-fired pizza. To be honest we enjoy this relaxed style of dining at a winery. We'd heard great things about Zonzo Estate with our friends telling us it's a great option in the Yarra Valley and that the pizza is some of the best around. There's charm in spades as you enter the grounds and cross the old train track, from which the Train Trak wines derives it's name.
The restaurant is open and airy, with large windows taking advantage of the stunning view, and with rustic theme throughout. Enjoy a lazy meal inside or relax on the outdoor terrace. Looking for family friendly wineries? Zonzo Estate is a place you can take your children; with the lawned area a place to watch your children run around as you imbibe your meal. Or indeed run around with them. (Zonzo Estate acquired the word "zonzo" which means in Italian "to wander about or stroll around".
Tiger prawns marinated in chilli, garlic and parsley is a rewarding dish. We noted the generous serving of prawns for this dish, and it had a pleasing tang while complementing the quality of the seafood.
Arancini hit the mark as Vegetarian Arborio rice balls filled with Mozzarella. Again, it was a generous serving. We enjoyed the mozzarella oozing in the middle of the arancini. As it arrived warm from the kitchen we were thoughtfully advised by the waiter to be careful with the first bite as the warm cheese in the middle of the arancini explodes across your palate.
Fried and crumbed artichoke hearts with sticky vincotto were also a welcoming dish. These are dishes you can share with friends; perfect for dining in a delightful winery setting.
All the while we were enjoying the excellent beer and wine list. Zonzo Estate has it's own excellent wines (has the label and about to experience first vintage of 45 acres of vineyards) and we enjoyed the Pinot Noir 2013 as a lighter style.
Pizza is the big drawcard with a variety of first class Italian style wood-fired pizzas with outstanding base, perfectly cooked, with quality gourmet ingredients. The Napoletana was a delight, featuring Pomodoro, buffalo mozzarella, Sicilian green olives, basil and anchovies. As the song says "It's all about that bass (base)." The World Loves Melbourne is an anchovy fan so we appreciated this nuance.
Radicchio salad was the perfect complement to our pizza. All food was professionally presented by the kitchen team.
A big thing for us is the attitude of the staff in a busy winery restaurant and here at Zonzo Estate we experienced professional, warm and welcoming service. As the restaurant was pumping (and it seemed that 100 people arrived at once) the staff were taking the high activity in their stride, gracious and keen to please, explaining the menu and attentive to our table. Head chef and owner Rod Micallef spoke with us (pictured in front of the wood fired oven) while in the throes of service to a packed restaurant, calm and cheerful, proud of his food and service. The World Loves Melbourne always thinks there's something about an owner operator running a business, and the passion and care is seen at every level with hands on application.
Dessert also hit the mark with Orange infused Panna Cotta served with a decadent Cointreau and orange syrup.
Zonzo Estate is a keeper; a popular Yarra Valley destination that gives the punters what they want in smart affordable cuisine (Italian style pizza a hit), excellent service and stunning Yarra Valley views.
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