On a busy Saturday exploring the Yarra Valley we headed to Innocent Bystander for lunch. The restaurant acts as the cellar door for the winery with tastings, some produce available to take home and even takeaway coffee on offer.
We had to wait for a table but this freed us up to do a tasting. Innocent Bystander was packed and much less peaceful than Four Pillars, we had to fight to get the attention of staff to try something.
We tried a bit of everything but the Rose was the standout. I’m not usually one for moscato but theirs was delicious, plus we also picked up a bottle of vermouth. We couldn’t help but grab some cheese and bread on our way out too – it’s hard to resist fresh made and delicious things!
Soon we had a seat outside in the sunshine and were quick to order drinks and a selection of food from the menu. The service was polite but hurried and not particularly attentive, weekend lunch service had staff run off their feet. We started with a selection of bread and olive oil. Baked in house, the breads were absolutely delicious and wonderfully fresh. With a touch of good quality oil and salt, it was a fantastic way to begin a meal. The real winners for us were the wine. It’s a must that you make the most of the alcohol on offer by choosing their house wines. We even gave the moscato slushie a try, combining the childlike glee of the frozen treat, with the very adult enjoyment of wine. It’s a winning combination for something a little bit different!
The food came out as ready. The croquettes were a definite highlight, crispy and beautifully light while the kofta was nice without being particularly special. Similarly the frites (shoestring fries) and olives were good without being outstanding and quite pricey given what they were. We also went for a pizza. Standard pub food done well, but without the nuance and finesse of the best woodfired pizzas we’ve had.
Innocent Bystander are a nice place to dine but treat it more as drinks with snacks – and make the most of the delicious, locally made wines!