Highfield Wines in Marlborough has had it’s home in a Tuscan inspired building for many years and was a favourite place for us to stop at for lunch, their wines were also very good and great value for money. In fact we have a number of older Highfield rieslings in our cellar.
Some time ago the restaurant closed and we tended to bypass it as a stop when we visited Marlborough however a couple of years ago the venture was sold and is now also home to TerraVin Vineyard, the restaurant has also been reopened so when we were looking for somewhere for lunch we decided to revisit an old favourite to check it out.
I am glad to report it is as good, if not better, than it was a few years ago. the venue is stunning with expansive views over the vineyards and valley and the wines are still both great quality and exceptional value. One real surprise was the range of aged wines they have for tasting and sale at the cellar door.
The building is renowned for its Tuscan inspired design however the restaurant proved a distraction for the new management so they closed it in the winter for for a few years before deciding to lease the restaurant facility.
In 2015 Frenchwoman Stephanie Armstrong who has lived in New Zealand for a number of years decided to use her 27 years experience in hospitality and take on the lease of the restaurant, she says the building was the perfect complement to serve the the Mediterranean style foods she envisioned for the restaurant.
She hired a German head chef, David Haase, and the pair set about designing a menu of Mediterranean-style food and employing staff, staff who understand good service,
The Highfield TerraVin website tells us “Our food is fresh, simple, but innovative served in an atmosphere and ambiance that many Marlburians remember fondly. Mediterranean style cuisine is the food from the cultures adjacent to the Mediterranean, and although this region spans a wide variety of cultures, the historical connections of the region, as well as the impact of the Mediterranean Sea on the region’s climate and economy, have led to there being many common elements in the foods. Yours to enjoy at the newly refurbished Highfield TerraVin Restaurant on the corner of Brookby Road and Dog Point Road.”
And the food we enjoyed was beautiful with the innovation ad freshness promised above as well as being very generous in size.
This dish of French goats cheese, pickled beetroot and pureed beetroot was delicious, The goat’s cheese in particular was a very pleasant surprise, it wasn’t too ‘goaty’ or strong in flavour, it was delicate yet rich with an obvious note of goat’s cheese flavour without being overpowering. The earthy freshness of the beetroot was the perfect foil to the richness of the cheese.
We shared the platter as our main course and again the quality was exceptional, the flavours interesting yet balanced and very tasty and everything was prepared fresh on the premises.
Working our clockwise from the top are meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, a sauce so delicious it had to be mopped up with the bread; potato croquettes that were crispy on the outside and with a perfect texture inside, too often croquettes like this have a wallpaper paste like texture but not these; three dips, beetroot and ricotta, perfectly garlicky ailoi and a hand chopped avocado guacamole style dip;
Fresh baked bread; grilled ciabatta with home-made chickpea hummus, chopped fresh tomatoes and balsamic; a very tasty pepper Spanish style fratatta; caramelised onion on toast with a borage flower, toast with creamed blue cheese topped with a lavender flower while the centre-piece was steamed green lpped mussels in a while wine volute that also demanded being mopped up with bread. This platter was beautiful and great value for money at $55, more than enough for two people for lunch.
The only negative about the dining experience is one I often come across, my long black coffee was made with near boiling water, making it taste burnt and too hot to drink as quickly as I would expect but didn’t take away from the overall experiencve, enjoying fine wines, sitting on the Marlborough sunshine with stunning views.
This is a four star Marlborough dining experience.
As to Highfield wines and the TerraVin wines, go to the tasting notes section of this site to see my full comments but what a treat being able to taste a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend and 2008 Rose Cuvee. These wines show how delightfully wines can age. And they were on special – six bottles of a wonderful sparkling rose for just $120 and 12 bottles of the 2006 TerraVin Sauvignon Semillon for just $150, this wine in particular is rich, packed with flavour and drinking beautifully right now.