I was recently invited to lunch by the lovely staff at Forest Edge Restaurant.
Set amidst the rolling green hills in Gembrook sits Forest Edge Restaurant. A beautiful, family run restaurant set on 65 acres of fresh farming land. The venue operates as a fine dining restaurant, a more casual pizza and wine bar and importantly, a beautiful venue for weddings.
I had driven past the turn off to Forest Edge Restaurant on a number of occasions and I had also been told by locals that this was a “must visit” restaurant, so a visit was high on my wish list. Last week I finally got to visit.
As soon as a I stepped out of the car I was glad I had made the trip.
The scenery was stunning.
Forest Edge is owned by locals Rob and Bev and the restaurant is run by chef Benjamin Smith. Nicole Cashman, the marketing and events coordinator was my host for the day and she heads up a very happy and welcoming staff team.
The dining room is beautifully decorated with a backdrop of floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the surrounding hills. The day I visited was sunny and pristine, although I am told that a visit in Winter is also well worth the trip for the swirling fog and constantly changing vistas.
Now to the food.
For entree we had a Chef’s tasting plate. How gorgeous does it look? This was one of those moments where you eat first with your eyes.
Pork, scallops and carpaccio of eye fillet of beef, all of it delicious.
The addition to the pork of the apple and chilli jelly and the apple and olive salsa cut right through the richness of the slow cooked pork and created a beautifully balanced and interesting dish. This attention to detail was repeated with the scallops (pickled ginger, avocado cream) and beef (parmesan crumb, horseradish aioli , parmesan and truffle oil crisp). Creating a very memorable and well-balanced entree.
Next up was mains.
Scotch Fillet of Beef, Maple Braised Baby Leeks, Beetroot Puree, Horseradish Cream & Red Wine Sauce .
Slow Cooked Lamb Rump, Hazelnut Purée, Kipfler Potato, Baby Zucchini, Parmesan Crumb.
Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin, Pear Purée, Broccoli & Prune Sauce.
I had to have a little taste of every dish (research of course) and they were all very good. I think that pork tenderloin was probably my favourite as it was light and zesty with the pear puree adding a lovely contrast to the pork.
Main dishes range in price from $32 to $40. Pizza in the more casual bar space is priced from $12 to $18.
The desert menu was just gorgeous and featured a lovely cheese selection which is normally my dream pick. But this time I was in the mood for something sweet.
White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Berry Compote, Balsamic and Chocolate Parfait, Toasted Custard, Cocoa Soil & Raspberry Yoghurt Sorbet.
The toasted custard was new to me and it was so delicious.
We shared two desserts between us, but to be honest the whole dessert menu was amazing. I think I may still be harbouring a little regret for not tasting that beetroot and chocolate brownie.
We had lunch in the main dining room but I could not resist taking a peek at the more casual pizza and wine bar. This was a busy little area and with good reason. The pizza menu sounded delicious and the views from the deck were breath-taking.
There was also live music playing and I am told they also regularly host a Thursday night open mic night.
I thoroughly recommend a visit to Forest Edge Restaurant, or even better, book your next birthday celebration there. The views will astound, the food will leave you feeling satisfied and the lovely staff will ensure you leave with a smile on your face.
Meet the Chef
Benjamin Smith is the executive Chef at Forest Edge Restaurant. Originally from Kent, in the South East corner of England, Ben moved to Australia in 2003.
The story of how he ended up at Forest Edge Restaurant is a bit of a romantic one. Ben and his wife held their wedding at the restaurant and he loved it so much that not too long after, he started there as Head Chef.
He is a true convert to the Hills lifestyle and spoke to Dani about his love for the beautiful rolling hills of Gembrook and his joy at working in a restaurant with such gorgeous views from the kitchen.
1. Favourite dish to cook?
My favourite dish to cook is one I recreate at home nearly every Christmas. It’s a simple dish but packed with flavour. I put it in the oven in the morning and it is ready to be served when I get home from work that afternoon.
I serve it with mograbeih, sultanas and almond salad.
2. Name a Chef who inspires you?
I take my inspiration from many places, chefs, journeys and travels…
If I was to name one chef who I find inspirational however, it would be Spencer Patrick from Harrisons in Port Douglas. His vision and ethics are outstanding.
3. Favourite local cafe?
My favourite local Cafe would be the General Store in Emerald. Great coffee, spot on tasty food and unpretentious atmosphere.
4. The first dish you ever cooked?
The first dish I ever cooked commercially was chickpea falafels with a tabouli salad.
5. What do you love about the local area?
What’s not to love!?
Waking up to the sound of kookaburras, the wind in the trees. Also the local produce that is on offer in abundance in these Hills is unbelievable. I am definitely a convert to the hill life!
Address: 2905 Gembrook-Launching Pl Rd, Gembrook VIC 3783
Phone:(03) 5967 7007
Main Dining Room
Lunch Saturday & Sunday from 12pm
Dinner Friday & Saturday from 6.00pm
Gourmet Wood Fired Pizza Bar
Thursday from 6:30pm-9pm
STOP! While you are here you might also like to see Eat My Street’s Greek Lamb Burger Recipe.