Nowadays, the seven-acre property of immaculate gardens and restored buildings is open to the public to enjoy, in the form of a museum, cellar door and stunning restaurant.
The food and produce used on the menu really are an integral part of the overall experience when visiting Coombe Estate.
Tony Milton is the internationally trained head chef at Coombe and brings over twenty years of cooking experience to the role.
He launched his cooking career in Paris and moved on to an esteemed role in the kitchens aboard the luxury Cunard cruise liner- the QE2. Among his qualifications is the prestigious Diplome de Cuisine from the The Ecole Ferrandi in Paris.
Upon returning to Australia, Milton operated his own restaurant in North Carlton, while also running a catering company, as well as training the next generation of chefs at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE.
Milton says he is thrilled to have the opportunity to create a unique menu based on the house-grown seasonal produce.
“The dishes on the menu are largely inspired by the seasons and the seasonal produce available from the Coombe Estate vegetable gardens,” explains Milton.
Some examples include Happy Valley Free Range Pork, Raynors Stone Fruit Orchard, Melbastar Strawberries and Adams Brussel sprouts. For Milton, quality is the highest priority when choosing fresh produce.
“The process involved in creating a new dish is the kitchen team will meet to discuss ideas and then examples of a dish are created and tasted,” describes Milton.
“From there, the dish may or may not be put on the menu.”
In terms of desserts, The Coombe Farm Peach Melba, with sour peach jelly, raspberry leather and caramelized peaches are always well received.
Five kilometres up the road from Coombe Estate is a second property of 600 acres with 50 hectares of vines.
Daniel Johnson is the property manager of Coombe Estate and oversees the care of the gardens and vineyard on both sites.
“On this main site we have three full time gardeners, including myself,” says Johnson.
“There are probably five or six full time guys up on the vineyard at the other property with seasonal workers during vintage.”
The vineyard was planted 15 years ago by Lord Vestey and Mark Vestey (descendants of Melba) and over the last 10 years it has gone from being a hobby vineyard to producing award-winning wines.
“The site of the vines is actually the site of the oldest vines in the Yarra Valley. The idea was that it was a very good site so let’s put some vines in and then 15 years later the vines have matured enough that the fruit that we are getting is fantastic.
“We are now a five star vineyard for James Halliday, we are Dark Horse winners for 2015 and we won best sparkling at the Yarra Valley show,” says Johnson proudly.
675 Maroondah Highway,
Coldstream VIC 3770
(03) 9739 0173