A Rutherglen winery has recruited a new chef and renovated its heritage homestead and cellar door into a tasty new venture, Lakeside Restaurant at Lake Moodemere Estate.
Head chef Jarrod Smith, grew up in Bright and has returned to the North East after holding senior roles at a range of esteemed Melbourne establishments including Hellenic Republic, The Press Club, Mama Baba, Le Grand Cirque and Elyros.
He returns to the region with his young family, eager to showcase his skills and techniques to local and visiting diners.
“I was looking for something that was challenging that also highlights the local produce,” Jarrod said.
“Here we use the lamb on the estate, the grapes, the citrus growing out the front, figs from the fig tree down the road on the property, all of that was important to find.”
Jarrod’s last venture was head chef at Elyros, which focussed on Greek cuisine.
“I guess all those Greek influences are there in some of my cooking now, but the menu is probably more modern Australian,” Jarrod said.
“We’ll try and focus on what’s around me rather than get all sorts of ingredients from everywhere coming in. The estate grown lamb here is quite a special product and it’s a different flavour to anything I’d ever tasted before, really quite sweet.”
The new restaurant represents one of several innovations by the sixth generation wine producers, Michael and Belinda Chambers.
“This is a really big venture for us,” Belinda said.
“It’s the third step in the development that we’ve been undertaking for the past five years since we moved into the heritage homestead.
“We’ve expanded the indoor area, we have a private meeting room or dining area with a capacity of around 70 inside. We have a beautiful heritage fireplace that gives us a lovely atmosphere through the winter. We’ve installed a commercial kitchen and hired Jarrod, which has really lifted us from a café to a restaurant.”
To celebrate the launch of Lakeside Restaurant there’ll be a special event featuring the new vintage Lake Moodemere Estate wines paired with a new menu planned for April. There are also a series of master classes planned, where Jarrod will share his skills, technique and experience.