Ahh…Binalong Bay. So good to the photographer in me, yet so lacking in food…
If you’re going to spend some time in sleepy little Binalong Bay then keep in mind that your local meal options are going to be scarce. It’s a good thing St Helens is only 10 minutes away, but if you’re keen to eat locally then there’s only one option, and that’s Matt Stone’s Moresco.
They’re open breakfast, lunch and dinner, but unfortunately, as tends to happen when you’ve got a stranglehold on the market, the prices are exorbitant.
Breakfast is from 7:30-11:30am and the menu couldn’t be said to be overly adventurous; although the buttermilk pancakes add a slight point of difference. Expect to pay anything from $18-24 for anything requiring a hotplate though. The breakfast menu can be found here.
Lunch is from 12:00-3:00pm with the menu doing a fine job of remaining mediocre in its offerings, and extortionate in its claims for compensation. While there is a single option under $15 (Leavenbank Bakehouse green olive and thyme sourdough at $12), expect to fork out $36 for a dozen Lease 65 oysters (from 5 minutes down the road!!), or $37 for a 300g Cape Grim Beef Sirloin. Seriously?! The lunch menu can be found here.
For the more budget conscious, it’s great that they offer a takeaway menu all day (7:30am-9:00pm). Wedges, fish and chips, calamari, pasta…We tried the flathead with chips ($15) and were satisfied without being wowed. The takeaway menu can be found here.
Dinner (6:00pm-9:00pm) is no different to the breakfast and lunch experience. Entrees sit in the mid/high teens, and mains predominantly in the high 30’s. The dinner menu can be found here.
For entree we were both keen to try the ‘Tasmanian Seafood Broth’ ($18), containing clams, salmon, blue eye, prawns and calamari in a mild chilli, tomato, garlic and white wine broth.
Main course for Karen was the local hook caught Blue Eye served with Georges Bay clams, Anchor Farm baby potato, snow peas, and saffron broth ($38).
For myself I tried the Clover Hill rack of lamb served with minted peas, roasted butternut pumpkin and Westhaven Persian fetta ($36).
Yes, we paid an arm and a leg, but thankfully the quality of the fresh produce and the deft skills of the chef shone through in the entree and the blue eye; the lamb, less so, albeit still tasty. The Tasmanian seafood broth in particular was very good, showcasing each of the numerous ingredients therein without it becoming a melange of competing flavours.
For dessert Karen ordered the warm sticky date pudding with caramel semi freddo and caramel sauce ($14), while I had the Cradle Mountain leatherwood honey panna cotta with Milton Iced Riesling jelly, chocolate soil and raspberry gel ($14).
I loved the panna cotta. It’s rare for me to make that sort of a choice in dessert, but in this instance the extra little touches sounded quite interesting. Of all our dishes this had to be the best value of the evening.
From memory the wine selection was predominantly, if not totally Tasmanian, with most being standard fare. Nothing over which to get overly excited.
Service was friendly and adequate, but without those special touches that you would normally expect within a venue that sets such high expectations within the mind of the diner.
Monopolies, strangleholds, wounded bulls…while the food was excellent, we left feeling like unfortunate participants in a game of ‘fleece the tourist’, particularly considering that we also paid a 10% surcharge as it was a Sunday (normally I wouldn’t care as I totally understand the penalty rate situation, but on top of the already sky high prices it was a bridge too far…).
I understand that distance can force venues such as Moresco to up their prices, but when you’ve got some of the best oysters in the country right on your doorstep selling for a king’s ransom then something just isn’t right.
If you ARE baulking at the price, then take my advice and drop by Möhr and Smith in St Helens where you’ll get food of slightly lesser quality, but of significantly greater value (review to come shortly!).
For more information on Moresco drop by their website – Moresco
You can also find them on Facebook – Moresco on Facebook
Overall – 3.5/5
(New KISS scoring system! More to come on this…)