Usually when I visit an artful venue it’s because I’ve hunted it down, researched it to within an inch of its life, heard the hype or doted on the designer. The Epicurean however, I completely stumbled upon by sheer luck in a tiny rural community an hour outside Melbourne. GOLD, I tell you! I found GOLD!
Red Hill on the Victorian Mornington Peninsula is just so captivating. OK, for Peninsula die-hards, it’s probably old news. But I was so proud of my find that I wrote about it for SMH Traveller. The landscape is decked out with grapevines, olive groves and strawberry patches, there are hidden hotels down winding driveways, and there is the most amazeballs string of shops seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And there in the middle of these, in a former 1920’s apple packing shed, is Red Hill Epicurean.
I should insert a warning here. If you’re a foodie, look out. You may never leave this place. It’s a multi-disciplinary gourmet universe, where you can not only eat the food, but learn how to cook it, understand the wine that goes with it, and even watch it grow. There’s a fromageria, a bakery, a comprehensive cooking school and wine purveyor to keep you busy for months. Or, you can just kick back next to one of the open fires and admire the absolutely gorgeous fitout. But any way you slice it, you’ll leave a few pounds heavier.
Hecker Guthrie are the talented designers behind the breathtaking interiors. They have successfully transformed what is essentially a cavernous country shed into an inviting, cosy, atmospheric hangout that positively wallows in natural light.
There’s all the beautiful detailing of it’s hard-working heritage on show here like the exposed brickwork, factory-style pendant lighting and corrugated tin roof, with some historic and inspired touches thrown in, like the enormous timber columns salvaged from the old Woolloomooloo wharf in Sydney. Then there’s the softening effect of enormous log fires, an atrium section in the roof that filters through an ethereal light, and an internal garden of herbs and small trees sprouting out of wooden crates and pallets. The effect instantly compels you to settle in, savour the scene and outstay your welcome.
The venue is the result of over five years of considered planning and design, and boy, doesn’t it show. It’s a truly gorgeous fusion of concrete, timber and brickwork with some leather, sandstone and greenery thrown in for good measure. The design is the perfect fit for the whole Epicurean concept; the space speaks volumes about the experience that you get here, like a visual and tactile clue of the earthy and nutritious food, country-quality service and edgy and progressive menu that you’re about to enjoy.
GO HERE IF
You like a good fusion of country meets industry in your décor.
SIX WORD SUMMARY
Inspiring, historic venue for foodie fun.
In true paddock to plate fashion, the menu is constantly changing, and almost always local. You can watch them pull your pizza from the Italian wood-fire oven, or sit back and order from the mouthwatering pasta e risotto selection. The Bakery brings a fabulous brekky menu to the table, with old-favourites mixed with edgy updates on the traditional poached egg dish.