Scorcher reviews: Marnong Estate
2335 Mickleham Rd, Mickleham
If you need proof that it’s possible to get a great feed in the most unlikely of locations in Melbourne, you need look no further than Bankvale Run restaurant at Marnong Estate.
Right on the edge of Melbourne’s urban sprawl, at the northern tip of the city, Bankvale Run sits on a rise overlooking rolling green hills to the west; on the Mickleham side of the estate, new housing plots suck up farmland and spit it out as suburbia – signs the great Aussie dream is alive and well.
Located 20 minutes north of Melbourne Airport, Marnong Estate comprises an historic homestead featuring four suites, a vineyard, cellar door, a 250-seat events space and a damn fine restaurant. And baby llamas. Who doesn’t love a baby llama?
It’s a mighty lovely place to spend an afternoon; you can sip the house pinot and enjoy views of the pastureland, or take a walk around the farm after your meal.
Bankvale Run was a bit of a surprise for me. I came expecting it to be a swanky affair but the restaurant straddles two vibes – luxe and relaxed – with ease; it feels special occasion but casual and cruisy at the same time. Women were dressed in nice dresses, men in blazers. But there was also a pleasingly healthy dose of sandshoes, baseball caps and kids on iPads.
The seasonal menu is made up of family-friendly options like woodfired pizzas, a smattering of meat-focused dishes and Italian-leaning classics.
Proper flex to the bowl of mussels we started with. They arrived bathing in spicy liquor of Marnong Estate chardy, tomato sugo, chilli and garlic, which you can mop up, once you’ve gone through all the mussels, with crispy rectangles of handmade focaccia.
For main we shared lamb shoulder with salsa verde and roast spuds, which was bigger than Patrick Cripp’s arms. Also on the list of bigger dishes is a butterflied spatchcock with Tuscan rub, lemon and oregano; pumpkin ravioli with walnuts and ricotta; and whole cauliflower with harissa chickpeas and spinach.
As Marnong Estate is also a working beef farm, Bankvale Run offers a range of signature steaks that you can pimp with sauces and seafood.
Marnong Estate has put Mickleham on the map, a map that is rapidly morphing from farmland into house-and-land packages.
Bankvale Run should do very well with locals and day-trippers, and even international visitors from China looking for a ridgy-didge Aussie experience. And of course they’ll come for the llamas. Who could resist the llamas?
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