Paringa wins Simon Tarlington

By Melissa Walsh  Photos Yanni

When Simon Talrington became head chef at Paringa Estate Winery and Restaurant he was not particularly familiar with the Mornington Peninsula, apart from visiting the odd winery over the years. Now the 28 year old is becoming entrenched in the amazing food and wine of the area and discovering incredible local delights to add to his diverse menu.

“I was thrilled to be working at Paringa and bringing my experience to the restaurant which has always had an excellent reputation,” said Simon, who began at Paringa in April of this year. “I also have a team of new chefs and an experienced sommelier, Eric Wagnon, who I worked with at Highline.”

The Simon Tarlington résumé includes working at some of the top venues in London and Sydney, including Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, Pied à Terre, Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, and Quay. “I was a national finalist in the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef Awards in 2014,” said Simon whose most recent triumph was the creation of the award winning fine dining restaurant, Highline, above the Railway Hotel in Windsor, which closed in March. 

“My culinary focus is fresh flavours, and seasonal, sustainable, predominantly Victorian, produce, and I am now sourcing local produce from the peninsula as well, having just discovered the fabulous Boat Shed cheese and other incredible produce,” he said. “We have introduced a four or six-course degustation and a-la-carte is still available at lunch. To start there are dishes like lard-brushed vegemite scrolls, a ham and egg mousse served in the egg shell, and lamb bacon-wrapped prunes soaked in Paringa pinot,” 

Produce is Victorian focused with everything from Western Plains pork to Mount Martha mussels. Wines are matched to the menu in two new tiered wine matchings. 

“The important thing with this restaurant is the quality. It is not about fitting a lot of people in, it is quite small and intimate. The food needs to match the high quality of the wine and that is one of the things we love in the kitchen,” said Simon. “I do source local ingredients but also insist on maintaining the quality so use  the sea urchins and cod from Lakes Entrance, with locally grown vegetables and wild ingredients from local foragers. 

In an understated elegance and intimate setting, the restaurant looks out over the vines that the owner planted decades ago. 

Sommelier Eric Wagnon has quadrupled the choice of wines on the list, with a well-chosen selection of over 180 different bottles from around Australia, France, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Diners can choose from over thirty wines by the glass. 

“Our variety of dishes, whether a la carte or degustation, has been matched beautifully with wines from our own Paringa Estate, locally and international,” said Simon.





  • 250g baker’s flour
  • 112ml water (room temperature)
  • 2.5g fresh yeast
  • 10ml olive oil (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2g caster sugar
  • 25g sea salt flakes
  • 5g cumin seeds
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary 


Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees celsius. If possible, turn off oven fan or down to the lowest setting.

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, warm water, extra virgin olive oil and caster sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes in a warm spot until the mix starts to lightly bubble on top.

Using a stand mixer (Kitchen Aid) with the dough hook or paddle attachment, mix the flour and salt for one minute until combined. Add in the yeast mix, then on the lowest speed mix for a further seven minutes until the dough starts to form and becomes smooth and bound together.

Remove the bowl from the Kitchen Aid and place a damp clean tea towel over the top of the dough and set in a warm place in the kitchen for 1 hour to allow the dough to prove. The dough should double in size, if the dough has not doubled in size leave for a

further thirty minutes. Once the dough has risen, wrap tightly in cling film and place in the fridge for three hours.

While the dough is resting, make the cumin and rosemary salt mix. Toast off the cumin seeds in a pan over a medium heat. Leave aside to cool for five minutes. Pick the fresh rosemary off the stalk and place an even layer on a plate and microwave on high for two minutes and allow to cool for three minutes (this process brings out a strong rosemary flavour and preserves the colour). Place rosemary in a food processer with half the sea salt and the cumin seeds and blitz together for one minute. Remove from the food processor, mix through the remaining salt, and set aside until needed.

Lightly dust with flour on a clean flat bench surface. Using the rolling pin, roll the dough out to around 8mm in thickness. Once this is done, roll through the pasta machine on the second lowest setting. 

Cut the dough into long, rectangular strips at 15cm by 1.5cm. Place on baking paper and lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary salt mix.

Place in the oven and bake for 9 – 12 minutes. The grissini should be a nice golden-brown colour when they are cooked.

Store in an air tight container or use right away.



  • 4 pears (Packham pears variety)
  • Fresh hay
  • 1 bottle Paringa Iced Viognier wine 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 10g earl grey  loose leaf tea


Set your oven to 120 degrees celsius

Place the fresh hay into a baking tray and set aside.

Peel the pears, cut into half and remove the core and seeds with a melon baller.

Place the pears on top of the hay and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

While your pears are baking, make your syrup.

Start with making a caramel for the syrup base. Place a quarter of the sugar into a large heavy based sauce pan on a medium heat. When the sugar starts to colour (a light golden brown), add in the
remainder of the sugar. Take the caramel to 160c

Once the temperature has been reached, add in the bottle of Paringa Iced Viognier. Be careful when adding liquid as hot caramel may spray out of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and add in a handful of fresh hay and the earl grey tea. Wrap the top of the pot with cling film and let the liquid infuse with flavour for 10 minutes. Strain out hay and tea through a fine mesh strainer.

Once the pears have come out of the oven, allow to cool to room temperature. Place the baked pears into a jam jar with a lid. Pour the Viognier & hay syrup into the jar to cover the pears, then set in the fridge for at least four hours before serving. The pears will keep preserved in syrup up to three months. 

BoatShed Cheese is found in various locations on the Mornington Peninsula. All their cheese is made by hand, using traditional French and Italian methods.

They source their goat’s milk from local producers. The cheese is made and aged in their own facility so that they can manage the quality from the farm to the consumer.

Black Pearl is one of Boat Shed’s most striking cheeses. This delightful cheese is hand-shaped, and the rind features a wonderful wrinkled texture, dusted with French vine ash to give it its dramatic colour and appearance. The interior is fresh and light when young and becomes stronger and more robust (as well as oozy) as it ages.

At Paringa Winery and Restaurant, the cheese is baked in the oven for 2 minutes with some fresh rosemary at 220 degrees celsius. After removal from the oven, drizzle over some tangerine oil. It is then ready to be served with hay-baked pear and cumin and rosemary grissini.

Paringa Estate, 4 Paringa Road, Red Hill South
Phone 5989 2669

Peninsula Essence – June 2019