It’s rare that my family ventures out, but when we do, we do it in style! Just kidding – kind of.
Innocent Bystander is a winery in Healesville, a gateway into the Yarra Valley region. We were told it was not your typical winery with rolling hills and it truly fit into the bustling street of shops in town, like a local pub hall.
That’s not a bad thing – it makes the place feel more accessible and not too snobby. They let us do some wine tasting even though the usual area for that closes at 5pm and they let us book for 10 even though their website says maximum 8 people.
I’m not a big wine person but could appreciate several of them with the commentary of our informative sommelier. I loved that the ideas behind the names Innocent Bystander and the popular Known Pleasures Shiraz are related to the owners’ love for jazz, including the soundwaves on the bottle.
We were also treated to their famous moscato, which is very sweet and comes in screw-top bottles.
The interior is spacious with tall ceilings, ensuring bustling and echoing conversation. The menu is standard casual dining, but they are especially well-known for their pizzas.
To start off we ordered some olives, artisan sourdough and dip, natural oysters and pork/veal polpettes in tomato and haloumi. The polpettes were like saucy and juicy meatballs – my favourite small dish.
The waitress recommended how many pizzas to order but we know how much family eats, so we defiantly ordered more than that.
The pizzas were small and light with its thin base and crispy crust. This meant you could easily try several different slices of pizza before getting too full.
I particularly enjoyed the roast mushroom, black truffle oil and garlic/parsley pizza (above).
In addition to this I particularly wanted to try the moscato granita, which I saw churning away at the counter. It’s pretty much a moscato slurpy!
Alhough tasty and beautifully presented, my sister noted that without the bubbly aspect of normal moscato that it tasted even sweeter, so I’m glad I ordered one to share with the younger sis!
My family always has room for dessert so we ordered individual desserts. I went with the blueberry semifreddo, a frozen dessert, which was almost like ice-cream and was complimented by the lemon curd dabs.
My sister had the coconut, kaffir lime and pineapple tapioca pannacotta, which had a few mixed reactions. The family decided the most satisfying dessert was the classic sticky date.
It was quite busy for a Saturday evening but service was as attentive as they could be. Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived, even though we were only 15 minutes early, but they made an effort to quickly get it set up.
I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you’re in the area, especially if you love wine. I wouldn’t mind returning for a lunch or even their breakfast menu for something different.