“Wind up the windows kids. We’re going through Poo Town”
Poor Werribee; it has its elegant mansion, the open range zoo and it is home to the state rose garden. But what we all know Werribee for is its sewerage treatment plant and that unfortunate stench that wafts across the Princes Highway on a warm day. It’s the butt of jokes (including that one), its residents are mocked and even driving through it can cause dry retching.
But I love it when I stumble across something really cool, especially in an unexpected location. And jazz, wine and polenta chips with blue cheese sauce were not what I expected to find in amongst the market gardens on back roads of Werribee.
It seems that Werribee has a split personality; a split that is formed by the highway.
Shadowfax Winery is past the zoo, the rose garden, the mansion and well beyond wafting distance of the necessary evil that is the treatment plant.
I may have done Shadowfax, named after the horse from Lord of the Rings, a disservice by reviewing it in the same post in which I describe what Werribee is best known for but I still find it hard to believe that something so suave is co-existing with something so, well, yuk.
When we arrived at Shadowfax, hoping for a late lunch, the restaurant was still crowded but the kind staff asked if we would mind doing some wine tasting while they cleared us a table.
I should have handed over by credit card then and there.
My friend and I headed over to the tasting area, lining one side of the restaurant and worked our way through the wine list.
I will rarely purchase a bottle Sauvignon Blanc that is not from NZ but this tipple had me hooked and my friend who swore that she hated Riesling bought a bottle as well. We also both bought their Sparkling Shiraz, a favourite beverage of mine over the festive period.
But onto the food. We spent so long at the tasting bar that a waitress had to ask us to order before they closed the kitchen.
I’ve already mentioned the polenta chips, thick batons of polenta fried and served with a creamy blue cheese sauce. They were moreish and left me wondering why I don’t cook polenta more often.
We also ordered crispy arancini balls flavoured with pumpkin and oozing cheese and a tasting plate piled high with grilled zucchini, eggplant and capsicum, salami, prosciutto and house made grissini.
I accompanied my meal with a glass of the Australian Sauvignon Blanc, that I never usually buy, and my friend with the Riesling that she has never enjoyed before today. We listened to the 3 piece jazz band and never gave a thought to what may waft through the streets of Werribee on the other side of the highway.