132 Breakaway Road, Acheron
I can unashamedly say that I love going to Rennie’s (though I do know the owner and artist Marian Rennie, so perhaps I’m just a tad biased). For me, it’s as much the atmosphere as it is the food. The walls are covered with Marian’s artwork; colourful canvases of dancers and landscapes and birds but done in a fantastically modern style. In a central table there is an enormous vase of flowers that works to break up an otherwise large space, and I particularly like the burnt orange of the chairs.
While taking shots I noticed a funny similarity between a vase of flowers in one of the paintings and a real vase of flowers standing in one corner of the room. Marian laughed and assured me it was pure coincidence, but was pleased with the effect all the same.
These fabulous salt and pepper holders are from Bankok.
When we arrived there was a young boy sitting on one of these couches reading a book while his parents finished their meal. Just another little touch that makes the place so welcoming and homely.
On this particular visit, D and I were up at the farm and rather fancied the idea of a stress-free casual meal. We were lucky enough, upon arrival, to find Marian and Bob eating their dinner at the large communal table, and were invited to sit and share a bottle (or two) of wine and some dinner. Lucky us.
Even the pizza oven is decorated with sketches by Marian! There isn’t a square inch of this restaurant that isn’t covered in her work!
I rather like this shot of the room from over the coffee machine, it gives a nice perspective.
First bottle of wine, Shiraz (with wooden duck also pictured).
To begin we shared a bread platter which came with moorish, garlicy focaccia and a sort of round mini-loaf which had been warmed in the oven and was perfect smothered with a little butter. Awesome pesto, too.
Both D and I went with the prosciutto wrapped eye fillet scolded (naughty fillet) in Rennie’s garden sage, rosemary Dobson rosti accompanied by almond infused broccolini and a rich beef jus. This was a really wonderful piece of eye fillet, cooked perfectly pink in the middle and topped with an earthy mushroom. I also loved the salty zing from the prosciutto around it. Great dish.
Just for robustness, here are some of the other fanastic sounding dishes on the menu on the night we were there.
- Rabbit and fennel seed spanakopita, roquette salad and balsamic dressing.
- Thornton smoked chicken, apple and chestnut salad.
- Osso Bucco slow cooked in red wine and tomato, braised heirloom vegetables, sweet polenta mash and gremolata.
- Pan seared local Eildon salmon with fennel, caper and Chardonnay tagliatelle.
- Wood fired pizza with locally grown Dobson potatoes, olives, buffalo mozzarella and rosemary
- Wood fired pizza with prawn and atlantic salmon, pesto, capers, fetta and dill.
- Baked Cathedral cherry, green apple and almond tart tartin
- Local Mandy’s fruit pudding with warm chocolate ganache and cinnamon cream.
The menu changes every couple of weeks, keeping with the availability of local produce. Marian also told me she’s about to get in Blackpool wagyu beef from a nearby farm – go go, for heavens sake go!! Wagyu beef is seriously good, order it if you get the chance.
Second bottle of rather special wine, Passing Clouds Graeme’s Blend from 1996. Wow that was a great glass of red! Such a fantastically mature and fruity palate.
Here’s why I love Rennie’s. I love the consistently good food. I love the seasonality of the menu, which showcases the best local produce from different times of the year. Just reading through the menu I saw cherries from an orchard a few kilometres away, smoked chicken from a nearby town, salmon from the fish farm near our property, a pudding from a lady called Mandy (who I don’t doubt is an actual person). And, most of all, I love the warm atmosphere. It’s easy to see how much love and effort Marian has put into this place, and it makes all the difference. Though a little while out of Melbourne, a trip to Acheron is well worth the time taken, I assure you!