It’s hard to know which is best – the serene set­ting among the vines, the strik­ing din­ing space or the fan­tas­tic fare at this re­ju­ve­nated cel­lar door

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Delicious On Sunday -


THE first thing you no­tice at Rare Hare, the multi-zero reimag­in­ing of Wil­low Creek win­ery, is the for­mi­da­ble jack­a­lope – a myth­i­cal antlered hare from which the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ho­tel takes its name – which should come with a trig­ger warn­ing for any­one who’s seen Don­nie Darko.

Much later, after a trip to the loos, you’ll spy the most hi­lar­i­ously OTT coat rack in the land.

In be­tween, you’ll see the win­ery’s barrel and tast­ing room, clev­erly sep­a­rated from the entry, be taken in by the dra­matic vine views be­yond the ex­panse of glass, and likely be im­pressed by the sheer num­ber of young, keen staff bounc­ing around the hand­some, if loud, space. Wel­come to the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula’s new­est and most am­bi­tious cel­lar door.

There are ex­cel­lent es­tate wines by the bot­tle, glass and half pour, as well as lo­cal beers on tap, but the real hero, apart from that view, is the el­e­vated fare from chef Guy Stan­away.

Whether one-bite won­ders like ne­groni-cured trout on rye and plump mus­sel es­cabeche on crisp bread, or stun­ning plates such as ten­der soft kan­ga­roo tartare with white soy and shiso, there’s equal cre­ativ­ity go­ing on in the kitchen as out in the vine­yard.

Sup­ple blue eye cured in punchy le­mon is tem­pered by slices of fat, juicy peaches, with a hand­ful of fried ca­per blooms adding salty crunch. It’s as lovely as roasted bone mar­row is bold. Wood-roasted, topped with a spicy sam­bal and served with toasted sour­dough, it’s a win­ning idea.

A squid ink-dyed romesco, yet an­other cre­ative twist, is the bed for per­fectly cooked curls of squid, while pink lamb with harissa and smoked yo­ghurt re­boots a clas­sic with style.

For a new space, team and chef, Rare Hare is un­com­monly good. Jump to it.


250g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened ½ bunch co­rian­der, roots scraped to re­move dirt, chopped

2 gar­lic cloves

2 small red chill­ies, roughly chopped

4 an­chocy fil­lets in oil, drained

½ tsp white pep­per

166 Bal­nar­ring Rd, Mer­ricks North au From top: kan­ga­roo tartare, the lu­mi­nous in­te­rior, and

4/5 $$$

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