It was a balmy spring day, romance in the air, so an intimate lunch at the Cedar Creek Winery, North Tamborine sounded like a great idea. Cedar Creek Estate is the result of former television executive John Pengliss’ vision. Although he’d bought the property just off Gallery Walk to retire on, he says he was pressured by friends to start a winery. So John bought several adjoining properties, and began the winery in 2000. He designed the original layout, and built much of what’s there – the house (including some recycled timber from another of his properties), the beautiful Wild Duck Lake, in fact much of what you see today, says John, waving his arms expansively. The Estate now includes Glow Worm Caves, a wildlife sanctuary; the Queensland Wine Centre, as well as the restaurant and winery.
Ushered through the expansive car park by attendants, we entered the homestead, passing through the Arthur Hamblin Room which features paintings of the outback, their orange hues contrasting with the verdant grounds. Fortunately there’s quite a bit of outside seating in a beautiful setting. It was not overly busy, despite the car park traffic, due to the other attractions on the site dispersing the visitors.
So it was surprising that we are seated down one end of the verandah, adjoining a covered pagoda which soon housed fifty people celebrating a wedding anniversary. We were told with pride that this was the second ‘wedding’ of the morning, and for uninvited guests we gained intimate knowledge of this family!
Seated for 25 minutes before wait staff came to the table, we relaxed and enjoyed the gorgeous day in a beautiful spot, with views through trees to the lake on one side, across lawns scattered with bird feeders and their inhabitants on the other. Our starter arrived: three similar dips with far more delicious home-baked bread. The mains, which were served an hour after our arrival – Eye Fillet sautéed with garlic and flamed with brandy, beside seasonal vegetable julienne; and Atlantic Salmon resting on vegetable linguini, capers and asparagus with a Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce and Salmon Pearls – were cooked as the chef desired, rather than as we desired.
No, we were told, the steak was not served rare at Cedar Creek. Steak and salmon would be cooked medium. By taste, we’d say they were closer to medium-well. Mmmm! Our ‘salmon pearls’ also had been downgraded to salty red lumpfish ‘caviar’. Still, the mains were pleasant enough and the vegetables and sauces competent. As there was no further service, we showed ourselves out and settled the bill.
Cedar Creek is a beautiful location for a group booking or a wedding. Our dining experience formed part of a relaxed and companionable day which could have been close to perfect with better customer service and attention to detail.
104 – 144 Hartley Rd., North Tamborine Ph: 07 5545 1666