What’s one to do on boxing day when out in Gembrook?
Google like crazy to see what’s open and relatively nearby. Although bumming around at Brad’s place is lovely to do, I do get cabin fever quite quickly, so do need to have something to do or somewhere to go eventually.
Fortunately, he’s not too far from the Yarra Valley, and I remembered Ricky telling me that Napoleone & Co had recently opened up a cider house, with which a quick bit of googling I also discovered, had what sounded like a lovely cafe attached, which was also open.
So into the car we got and half an hour later, found ourselves in the sun, standing in front of Meletos which was a stunning building. A mix of wrought iron and brick walls surrounded a glass house, with floor to ceiling views and a very warm and rustic ambience.
They were bustling, but not full, so managed to quickly score ourselves a table, and as we perused the menu, I popped over the cider house to grab a flight of ciders (they have a selection of beers on tap as well), because why have one when you can have four?
We had the apple cider, cloudy apple cider, pear cider and the apple and pear cider. I think my favourites were classic apple and the apple and pear combo, as they weren’t too sweet, with a bit more body to them.
What drew me in particular to Meletos, was the casual and relaxed menu they had going on, although you could get a bit fancier if you wanted. Although I love the Yarra Valley, I’m not always keen to be dropping $50+ a head for a lunch (I’m a bit of a cheapskate at the best of times), and at Meletos, with pizzas on the menu, lunch can be lazy and very reasonable.
We started with marinated white anchovies, with lemon, chilli, garlic, oregano and a parsley salad. They are as it says on the cover, salty, zesty, slightly tart; meaty and quite plump little morsels, slippery to pick up but just right on lightly charred bread.
A mushroom and taleggio pizza with garlic, thyme and baby spinach, is light and honest, a drizzle of olive oil providing a lovely sheen to vibrant green baby spinach leaves. Although I could have gone for a little more mushrooms (but isn’t that always the case), the flavours here were all beautiful, really allowing the mushroom to shine and not be overwhelmed by cheese. Oh, but plenty of garlic, which I’m totally okay with.
Meletos makes me happy. Why? Because their serve of hand cup chips actually come with a serve of aioli that’s big enough to last the whole bowl. This shouldn’t be amazing…but it is, Melbourne seriously could be a little less stingy sometimes! The chips themselves are totally delicious, beautifully golden and crisp, just as they should be.
To finish our afternoon, we had a nougat semi freddo, with a generous serving of dark chocolate and crispy almonds. Being quite full after a carb heavy lunch, this was just the thing to satiate the sweet tooth. The nougat semi freddo was so light and refreshing, the dark chocolate almost crispy, more like nibs, which was not at all what I was expecting, but you got the flavour without the richness. Simply delightful.
Next time the salted caramel and chocolate tart is definitely on my agenda though…
Meletos was a lovely and relaxed way to spend a day off and would be somewhere I would only be more than happy to bring friends again, particularly on a lovely summery day…
12 St. Huberts Road