This weekend I (inadvertently) ended up at Schoolies in Lorne. To be honest, this isn’t the first time I have ended up gatecrashing the highschool end of year celebrations. The first time this happened we were driving into Lorne on a Friday night at about midnight. We were perplexed to see huge groups of teenagers wandering the streets and a little concerned to see plumes of smoke in the air. It turns out that the teenagers were doing burn-outs, leaving tyre marks wavering down the centre of the main street. That weekend we vowed to avoid all activities that may be associated with the Schoolies and consequently had a relaxing weekend away.
Once again we happened to schedule a trip to Lorne during the Schoolies festivities. In my defense, this time of year is really the last opportunity for a quiet weekend away before the madness of Christmas and January. This weekend, as in Schoolies weekends past, we decided to avoid any potential Schoolies-related activities, lest we be branded a bunch of “toolies”. It was in this vein that we found ourselves visiting the olive farm Old Lorne Road Olives (OLRO) for lunch, followed by dessert at the Berry Farm, Gentle Annie (which I will post about later in the week).
OLRO is a favourite haunt for lunch with friends when we are in Lorne. It is situated about 20 minutes outside of Lorne, in Deans Marsh. The OLRO has a range of artwork for sale as well as a suite of olive-related products (including aprons, tea towels, olive oil, olives, olive tea and soap).
Six of us arrived for Saturday lunch to a moderately full dining room, with all tables bar one either full or proudly displaying a “reserved” sign. Despite us being “too old for schoolies” we were seemingly too young for OLRO, as evidenced by the po-faced waitress who wasn’t particularly welcoming. The waitress made little effort to find seats for us, eventually commanded that we sit outside (in the semi-cold) and thrust a business card at us, exclaiming “you better book next time!”.
It was an interesting start to lunch.
On the plus side, it wasn’t that cold outside and it gave us an opportunity to reel from our poor treatment, safe in the knowledge we could not be overheard. Further, it allowed me to take some photos of our lunch with my “big” camera, given no-one else had been relegated to the Siberia of the balcony.
After a couple more shall we say “interesting” back and forths with the waitress (which I won’t bother to detail here), we settled in with a bottle of Pizzini Pinot Grigio. The meals arrived and looked pretty good:
I had the cream of artichoke soup, served drizzled with olive oil and garnished with an unidentified bit of greenery that tasted strongly of aniseed (a clandestine taste-test of an olive leaf on the way out assured us that it wasn’t olive leaf in the soup). The soup came with a lovely (or so I’m told) olive bread on the side.
Mr M & Mr D both ordered the veal and pork terrine. I was surprised when their meals arrived hot – my understanding was that a terrine by definition is served cold (and it turns out the Cambridge Dictionary agrees with me). In any event their meal (which was more of a meat loaf) was delicious; it was made with a mixture of veal and pork, covered in crispy pancetta and served with parmesan and a rich tomato sauce. I admit I had a bit of food envy.
The pistachio and polenta crusted sardines were also a winner. The fresh sardines were lightly crumbed and served with a salad of cucumber and olives.
The mushroom tart (which from the menu description sounded great), was a lacklustre mess of cheesiness without any bite or interest. Unlike the other meals, it also looked pretty unappetising on the plate:
So all-in-all it was a bit of a mixed bag really. Most of the food was pretty good, but the service was pretty poor (or, in the very least it was odd and unwelcoming). At this stage I am undecided about whether I would return (I do love to hold a grudge!), so time will tell. Maybe you will have a better experience, but whatever you do, don’t forget to book!
Old Lorne Road Olives
45 Old Lorne Road
Deans Marsh, Victoria
Ph: (03) 52 363 479
Meals from $10-25.
Coming up: delicious dessert from Gentle Annie.