Villa Maria Estate and Winery is In a location you wouldn’t expect, in the farther sides of South of Auckland. Villa Maria Winery and Estate is truly a gorgeous place to visit- the rows of plantations and the sprawling lawns of grass make a very nice scenery. I had been here previously for my birthday with three friends last year, but this time was to celebrate the birthday of my cousin. There was quite a lot of us this time, so we were dining from a set menu ($45 per person).
The service was great- the staff are knowledgeable and organised. Our orders were taken in a way where they knew who ordered which dish so there were no mix ups, and were very welcome and accommodating.
To start, we had a platter of Warm Turkish bread served with olive oil, olives & dukkah. The bread was so soft, warm, and pillow-y to the touch. It was delicious on it’s own without any condments.
For the mains, there were two options:
Eye Fillet of Beef with candied baby onions, button mushrooms, fava bean salad, roasted jersey bennes, shallot & fresh herb jus.
The food arrived in good timing, we did not have to wait for ages which happens too often when dining out in big groups. The chicken and beef were all cooked to perfection, and the flavours were classic flavours that complemented each other well. However, I’d say that the dishes were not ‘wow’ or exciting, they were reminiscent of Christmas Day roast dinners that you cook at home. Overall, they were great dishes, reliable and well cooked, but lacking the little extra magic touch.
For dessert, again there were two options:
The desserts were beautifully presented and looked like art on a plate. The panna cotta was a clear favourite on the table- it was smooth as silk with the perfect amount of wobble. However, I found these menu rather misleading, the panna cotta was actually Vanilla with passionfruit sauce on top. My cousins loved it, but I found that it tasted exactly the same as vanilla ice cream.. Tip Top to be precise. The Mint Tuille was not mint either, it was simply a plain tuille biscuit flavour, but was nice all the same.
The Bitter Chocolate Tart was in fact, not bitter at all and was Orange Chocolate, like Jaffa. I wish they had mentioned that because I dislike the orange and chocolate combination so I was disappointed with the result. The black currant sorbet was cooling and cut through the richness of the tart nicely though.
Of course, you can’t visit a vineyard without drinking wine! I love dessert wines, so I ordered a glass of Cellar Selection Late Harvest Semillon ’11 ($9). This was beautiful- fruity, syrupy sweet, with a balanced finish.
There was also some bottles of Rose for the table to share.