Scorcher reviews: Stamford Park Homestead — ‘a world away from its suburban Rowville surrounds’
Stamford Park Homestead
8 Emmeline Row, Rowville
It sounds like the name of a stately manor house in a period drama starring Colin Firth but there’s no doffing of caps or tugging of forelocks at Stamford Park.
Known as the ‘jewel of Knox City’, Stamford Park Homestead feels a world away from its suburban Rowville surrounds. Located between industrial factories and a brand new housing estate, Stamford Park, built in 1882, has recently been restored to its former glory and reopened as a restaurant after failing into disrepair since it was abandoned in the late 80s.
Once you’ve waltzed your way through the grand entrance, you’ll be ushered into the elegant dining room, with its white linen, large bay windows, grandfather clocks and antique furniture. I must admit I feel a little underdressed sitting here in my bomber jacket and jeans. You half expect to look over at the fireplace and see Judi Dench sipping on a flute of bubbly.
But while the room exudes poshness the service is welcoming, warm, and unstuffy.
What I liked most about dining at Stamford Park is the fact that while you’ll have a special and memorable evening, you won’t need to sell the family heirlooms to pay for it. A three-course meal will set you back a very reasonable $75 (or go for two courses for $60 if you’re not that hungry).
The menu changes with the seasons and on this particular evening, on a brisk spring night, crispy skinned pork belly with granny smith puree and black radish for starters warms me up a treat.
Other first-course options include a beautiful slow-roasted octopus with picked grapes and quinoa chips; heirloom zucchini ‘carpaccio’ with fiore di latte and macadamia; and chevre pannacotta with pea sorbet and black garlic. All solid stuff.
Moving on to the mains, our Saltbush lamb shoulder and rump with asparagus and spiced labneh balls is a most pleasing dish, as is the cod fillet with chorizo, corn, smoked avocado and mussels.
Other dishes I was also eyeing off were the Cape Grim beef brisket with kohlrabi remoulade and rocket, and the duck breast confit leg with beetroot and spiced tamarillo.
If you’re not having the cheese, the only way to finish the meal is with the brilliant burnt orange crème brûlée, which is finished with a pistachio praline and topped with a quenelle of blood orange sorbet. Delicious.
So blokes, dust off your top hats and tails; gals, grab your bonnets and bloomers and reserve your place for this drawing room soiree. I jest, fancy attire isn’t mandatory.
You may just feel like you’re highborn when dining at Stamford Park, although you won’t have to sell off your first born to settle the bill.