It wasn’t just all breakfasts & chocolate during our recent trip to the Yarra Valley – we went out for lunch too! There are many great places to eat in the area, so I would suggest doing some research beforehand if you’re planning to visit – the first place on my long list was Meletos, a regional café and gourmet pizzeria.
Meletos is located within a very picturesque property known as Stones of the Yarra Valley, and shares its premises with Napoleone Brewers, a family-owned microbrewery that produces hand-crafted ales and cider. Meletos also has a 23-room boutique guesthouse, the Farmhouse, which features some of the best views in the Valley.
The cafe is a beautiful open space, with views straight into the kitchen and the sizeable pizza oven.
The philosophy of Meletos and its head chef Neil Cunningham is to be inspired by local produce – you can see the full menu here, which is separated into six sections – smaller, salumi, bigger, wood-fired pizza, sides & dessert.
Examples of “smaller” include half-shell Hervey Bay scallops with Morcilla sausage, pea puree and Shizo ($15), proscuitto & manchego croquettes with salsa verde ($12), smoked Buxton trout with avocado, radish, watercress, whisky cream & soft poached egg ($17) and leek & potato soup with diamond clams, pancetta & Tuscan cabbage ($18). The “salumi” section showcases quality Australian wagyu beef and smoked meats, plus items such as chicken liver parfait with house-baked bread, olive oil & cornichons ($18) and wild rabbit & pistachio terrine ($18).
Heading for the “bigger” menu, I chose the baked semolina gnocchi with taleggio, roasted pear, shallots & honey ($28). My next choice would have been the slow-cooked beef cheek with pancetta, balsamic onions and creamy potato ($36).
Another interesting item is the 21-day aged rib of beef with salsa verde and sauteed greens, which serves two ($58).
This was a bowl of soft, sweet, cheesy goodness – I wasn’t sure about the pears when I placed my order, but this was a harmonious dish beautifully brought together by the gooey teleggio, which simply had to be part of every mouthful.
Renay chose the mushroom & teleggio pizza which she described as the best mushroom pizza she’d ever eaten. As with my gnocchi, the teleggio was an absolute delight, and the crust was perfect.
Other interesting pizza varieties include calabrese salami with roasted red peppers & buffalo mozzarella, prawn with roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes, fetta, chilli & watercress and pork & fennel sausage with chilli, capers, parsely, tomatoes & buffalo mozzarella. All pizzas are $24.
We couldn’t resist the triple cooked chips with aioli ($10) – Heston’s recipe, apparently – and they didn’t disappoint. Best chips ever.
Alas we didn’t have room for dessert, but I would have chosen the salted caramel & chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream ($16).
Meletos is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and as you can see, it’s a popular destination. The service was friendly, and the atmosphere was casual making it an enjoyable place to eat – there’s also seating outside so you can enjoy the spectacular view.
A selection of Napoleone beers & ciders are available to order with your meal, or you can walk a few steps to the left and see what’s on offer at the bar.
I’m not supposed to be drinking anything fizzy, alcoholic or with sugar in it – so of course I had to try some pear cider, which was very crisp and clean. Meletos also has a comprehensive wine selection if beer & cider aren’t your thing.
Beer and cider are available for purchase.
Stay in the Farmhouse right next door to the cafe and this is the kind of view you’ll wake up to – we’ll definitely be considering this for our accommodation the next time we return.
Our lunch at Meletos was one of the highlights of our trip to the Yarra Valley, and should definitely be on your list of places to try in the area – make sure you try the chips. Highly recommended.