My mum and I celebrate our birthdays a couple of days apart, and after not getting to celebrate at all last year we were determined to do something lovely this year. Lunch in the Yarra Valley seemed like an excellent idea, and we settled on Many Hands Winery as our venue of choice. We were very glad we did!
Due to where my folks live they visit the Yarra Valley somewhat often, but we had never been to Many Hands Winery before. The whole thing was almost derailed by Covid related events again, but the incredibly friendly and helpful staff were able to accomodate our changing situation with no stress or drama at all.
It’s safe to say we were very happy when we finally arrived and settled down to a glass of their delicious rose (so delicious some bottles came home with us!).
They are doing a $50 set menu at the moment, with plenty of choices for both entree and main, including a good amount of vegetarian options. We hadn’t quite realised how substantial the entrees were going to be, so it was definitely good value!
I went with the vegetarian version of the antipasto platter, which consisted of a seriously excellent selection of cheeses, with the addition of marinated vegetables, nuts and other goodies. It was an excellent place to start!
Mum went with the actual cheese platter, which didn’t differ all that much from what I ordered in the end! As a serious fan of cheese she was definitely a happy camper. We were both particularly big fans of the chilli-flecked cheddar, and the soft cheese (although unfortunately I don’t know what that one was!).
Dad ordered the cheese-melt herb pizza, which really could have been a main dish! The pizza itself was perfectly cooked and when combined with the bubbly, melty, garlicky cheese it was a pretty irresistible combination. I made sure to play the birthday card so I could get to try a piece! I liked that you added the cheese on top yourself, as it allowed you to savour the pizza a bit more as well, and to control the intensity of the cheese on each piece. Delicious!
We all chose from the pasta section of the menu for our mains. Mum went with the Seafood Marinara Linguini and there was definitely no shortage of seafood in this dish. She couldn’t quite get through all the pasta in the dish, but had no complaints about the flavour or the variety of seafood, that’s for sure.
Dad ordered the Italian Meatballs Linguine, which was similarly not short on flavour! There was absolutely nothing left of this dish, so I am taking that as a sign of success. Meatballs is a classic choice, but from all accounts these were done very well!
Last but absolutely not least was my choice – the Pumpkin and Blue Cheese Ricotta Gnocchi. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, and the combination of the silky pumpkin puree, strong blue cheese and crunchy walnuts was absolutely spot on. This was one of the best pasta dishes I have had out in a while, so I was a very happy pre-birthday girl!
Overall we had an excellent lunch at Many Hands Winery and would definitely visit again. It was nice to go to one of the smaller venues in the Yarra Valley, and we definitely couldn’t fault the friendly, helpful service either!