We have long enjoyed Simon Stewart’s superb cooking since his time at Bespoke in Forrest. So it was with anticipation when we checked out Yield in his new restaurant in Birregurra, just an hour from Sea Zen at Wye River.
The entrance looks deceptively small and old fashioned, a taste of Birregurra from 100 years ago. Like Dr Who’s Tardis, the inside opens up to a generous interior space. It has welcoming Mint green walls and generous rustic tables. Each table is subtly different and some with a bench seat on one side are softened with a fluffy sheepskin rug.
The menu is fixed, and of local seasonal produce. There are seven courses, previewed with Spelt sour bread baked a few hours before and accompanied with local Olive oil for dipping.
The entrée courses are a series of Tapas style adventures.
The Kale and goat’s cheese croquettes are small packages of delight, briefly deep fried and garnished with fine cheese, exploding into complex flavours of cheese and vegetables as you bite into them.
The local Haloumi is beautifully cooked and adorned with little piles of walnut and cheese that balance the firm texture of the cheese.
The pork rillettes is a base of shredded slow cooked pork, with a richness that is offset by the colourful Daikon topping and like all of the dishes, individual pieces of art.
The quantities were just right, small tastes that kept us waiting with anticipation for the main courses.
Local carrots from Simon’s garden were the waitress’s favourite. I thought, how can simple carrots be her favourite? Then I tasted them. Yes carrots, but more, with subtle flavours mixed with buttered popped local sorghum. Simple, but exquisite.
The main dish, the lamb shoulder had been slow cooked till tender, served with red lentils and cabbage, worth the wait.
Even the roasted potatoes were a discovery. The rich creamy flavour of the Dutch cream potatoes was offset by the subtly different purple variety.
A feature of the experience is the explanation of each ingredient of each course by Simon’s wife Kara. Some ingredients are from the herb garden out the back, some from Simon’s larger home garden at nearby Colac, the rest from many farms and producers in the area.
Of course everything is seasonal and at its peak which is why the menu changes with the seasons. So French, so Japanese!
To finish we had the rhubarb paste on a bed of whipped yoghurt, topped with Meringue and pepitas. Like all the dishes, it was balanced for the palate and a pleasure for the eye.
The set menu was $75 per head for lunch, a little more for dinner. Matched wines are an extra $40.
The wine list had good variety from local and further afar. Several of us chose the excellent local Geelong Sarge Shiraz. I was the driver and had a fruit soda made on the premises, tasty and refreshing.
Yield Birregurra is an hour’s picturesque drive from Sea Zen in Wye River, 20 minutes from Colac and 40 minutes from Lorne.
Attached to the restaurant is the Provedore shop with a wide selection of local produce for purchase, perfect for xmas hampers. We bought more than we expected.
Like those precious meals at Bespoke, we will be back to Yield many times.
Contact and Bookings
43 Main St Birregurra
www.yieldbirregurra.com.au 5236 2611.
Fixed menu, $75 per head lunch. Bookings essential
Review – Rex Brown, Sea Zen