The Independent Gembrook
Tonight we took a beautiful drive through the Yarra Ranges to the visit The Independent restaurant in Gembrook. You can read about my previous visit here, but I thought a little update was in order.
Set in a former hardware store in the main street of Gembrook, The Independent is co-owned by Chef Mauro Callegari and the family behind Robert Gordon pottery. They serve Argentinian food in a large, open dining hall with exposed timber beams and a sweet little view out onto the street.
To find it you have to take a sweeping drive through the surrounding hills, to end up in the tiny little town of Gembrook, home to the iconic Puffing Billy railway. Consider the drive through rolling green pastures a part of the overall experience and you might just have yourself a refreshing mini- break in the country. There are a lot of good things to do out this way, most of which will leave you feeling recharged and reconnected.
The menu is based around shared plates and tapas style food. The wine list has a few local offerings as well as their Argentinian counterparts. Service was prompt, enthusiastic and solicitous this time around. We ordered the shoulder of lamb to share ($59) which was served with a Beetroot dish with smoked yoghurt & pine nuts. We had to allow half an hour for he lamb to be cooked, but when it arrived it was smoky, sweet and falling off the bone. Well worth the wait.
The half hour wait was also a great excuse to order some of the smaller dishes to share.
Twice smoked crumbed pork belly log, $18
Grilled chorizo with capsicum, prunes & chimmichurri $12
Roasted potatoes with onion, garlic & thyme $11
Baked mozzarella with Chilli.
Overall the food was interesting and full of salty, spicy flavours. The restaurant was busy and was run by a team who seemed to know how to manage the bustling space without trouble. Casual yet stylish Argentinian-Australian dining at its best.
Click here to see their website and menu.