Stunning spot for some fine wine and dine
THE COTERIE Coal Valley Vineyard, 257 Richmond Rd, Cambridge Licensed Open Sunday/ Monday/ Tuesday 10am- 5pm, Friday/ Saturday to 9pm 6248 5367
AFTER operating for many years as one of the most popular cellar doors and vineyard restaurants in the valley, Coal Valley Vineyard’s restaurant closed four years ago. Subsequently, while the cellar door continued to trade regularly, the restaurant only opened intermittently for functions and weddings.
As a result, by the time Amy Russell and Sheralee Davies took it on last November, and renamed it The Coterie, the restaurant had effectively and sadly dropped from many people’s radar. It’s been hard work and a fairly slow road back.
As the new name implies, rather than a full- on restaurant, their aim was to create a convivial and relaxed wine bar- style atmosphere offering good Tasmanian wines and simple, shared food for visitors and locals to enjoy in what is one of the most picturesque vineyard settings in the state.
Seated comfortably on a lounge with a glass of the 2013 Coal Valley Riesling watching the sun slowly set on the vines and the Pittwater last Saturday, we enjoyed snacking on a delicious and well- made chicken, date and walnut terrine from the small plates section of the menu followed by three of the large plate options – discs of well- flavoured boudin blanc, a beautifully presented dish of shredded wagyu with root vegetables and kale, and a duo of duck with slices of the bird housesmoked to pink perfection accompanied by an equally excellent duck liver parfait.
As good as they were, our large plate options proved difficult to share and were, I felt, in both composition and presentation, more mainstream restaurant than wine bar- styled dishes.
And there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s the way they want to go. However, chestnut gnocchi in a bitter, smoked duck broth didn’t work for me and the sharpness of soused plums, pickled baby vegetables, mustard seed vinaigrette and assorted relishes accompanying the various dishes didn’t do much to help our enjoyment of the otherwise excellent wines either.
So we left with me feeling that they appear to be caught in the somewhat schizoid position of being not quite a restaurant or the sort of casual, wine- friendly venue they originally wanted it to be. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink.
Meanwhile, it is what it is, the food is generally very good, the wine selection excellent, their Sunday live music afternoons are hugely popular and, for Bastille Day, their consultant chef, Wayne Smith, exFrogmore Creek, is presenting a five- course, deconstructed cassoulet menu with wines for $ 95. Bookings recommended.
Small plates $ 15; large plates $ 20 to $ 32; three cheeses $ 22; desserts $ 9.
DIG IN: The Coterie’s chicken, date and walnut terrine.