The award-winning Montalto Restaurant has reopened as part of an exciting process of evolution… and just in time for summer.

Last month, Montalto retained its award-winning status, collecting its 14th hat at The Age Good Food Guide awards. The new Montalto Restaurant offers guests the same high standard within a brand-new concept unlike anything on the Mornington Peninsula: a moment out of the ordinary.

In the reinvigorated Montalto Restaurant the kitchen has been stripped back and redesigned to focus on fire with the introduction of an asado grill, a true showpiece based on the traditional parrillas of Argentina.

Gerard Phelan, Montalto Restaurant head chef, explains: “The grill is a modern take on something very traditional, that’s how I like to cook so there’s a connection there for me. This style of cooking requires great care and attention so we give the produce the treatment it truly deserves, and it brings a refined rusticity to the dishes.”

Diners at the new Montalto Restaurant will experience the strong connection between the menu and the Montalto estate kitchen garden – now expanded to almost four acres – in dishes including broad bean, globe artichoke, goat cheese and dill and the swimmer crab and white asparagus mornay.

On the menu, meat, fish and fowl are all locally sourced from producers including Milla’s Farm Ducks (Mount Macedon) and Milking Yard Farm (Trentham), to showcase the very best of the region. Try the half duck with preserved mandarin or veal rib-eye, kohlrabi and miso.

In addition to a less prescriptive menu – allowing patrons greater choice and flexibility and encouraging sharing and conversation – the dining room is more open and relaxed, bringing focus to the views of the vines, olive groves and sculptures of the picturesque Montalto estate.

Linen tablecloths are gone. Montalto worked with Zac Pearton of ZP Woodworks, who specialises in recycled and sustainable timbers, tasking him with creating chestnut tables that not only complement the inviting dining room redesign but that also stand as design features in their own right.

Chef – Gerard Phelan

Growing up on a dairy-turned-vegetable farm in Gippsland, Montalto Head Chef Gerard Phelan has always been passionate about cooking with the fresh produce growing on his doorstep. So after a stint fronting a metal band and working in the Australian music industry, a career in food was a logical choice. Gerard soon found himself working in some of the best known restaurants in Melbourne and regional Victoria. He was appointed Montalto Restaurant Head Chef in 2016 after successfully guiding the Montalto Piazza Cafe kitchen team through an extensive refurbishment and re-opening.  The Montalto Restaurant earned its 14th chefs hat under his guidance in 2017.