Nick McGonigal, an alumnus of three-Michelin-starred London restaurant The Ledbury, brings a touch of luxury and spectacle to the celebrated Mornington Peninsula winery restaurant.

Paringa Estate burnishes its reputation for great food on the Mornington Peninsula with the appointment of Nick McGonigal to lead its kitchens. McGonigal’s background is finer dining, and he counts the highly ambitious likes of London’s Ledbury and The Bentley in Sydney among his previous ports of call, alongside local heroes such as Cecconi’s and Society.

His brief, he says, is to merge classical technique with modern flavour pairings in a showcase for the premium produce of the Peninsula. Here’s the lowdown on how that translates to the plate:

Hey Nick, is there one dish that really captures the Paringa Estate vibe?
Sher Wagyu beef has been a longstanding highlight on the menu. It’s sourced from a Victorian farming family renowned for their commitment to high-quality standards. We cook the rostbiff medium-rare and glaze it with black garlic, and accompany it with shiitake mushrooms grown in Tyabb and cooked in butter.

How does the menu work? What’s the best way to tackle it?
You’ve got choice between the à la carte menu and a four-course menu showcasing our signature dishes, and we’ve also got options for vegan dining as well.

What are we drinking?
There are lots of wines we love from the estate, but my favourite is the 2019 Paringa Estate ‘Robinson’ Pinot Noir. It has heaps of dark cherries, spice and savouriness. Our sous chef, Josh, is a big fan of the 2021 Paringa Estate viognier – it has great texture and works well with our poached cobia.

What’s the best seat in the house?
I’d say one of the three tables located by the window, where the floor to ceiling glass overlooks the slopes of our oldest vines. In summer we expand our dining room onto the terrace with the fresh breeze and even larger panoramic views.

What have you got if I’m here for a good time rather than a long time?
The lightly torched scallop teamed with our XO sauce and served with Main Ridge Dairy Cashmere fresh curd has quickly become a crowd favourite.

What else have you got in the light-and-fresh department?
We dress wild-caught kingfish with kombu oil and a shallot chive sauce, then finish it with a pil pil cream and lemon juice and garnish it with seasonal flowers. With some fish crackers seasoned with nori vinegar powder served on the side, it’s a winner.

What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
Our Jerusalem artichoke custard is a perfect winter dish. We serve it with a rich onion broth and truffles sourced from the peninsula.

Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
The roast quail crown, smoked with rosemary at the table, creates an Instagram-worthy moment. It’s served with a jus infused with native muntries and the leg of the quail stuffed with a farce of chicken liver and wild mushrooms.

And to close?
Our coconut and citrus trifle features layers of sweet and tangy cream and coconut soil, crowned with a sorbet made from Sally’s verjuice, which is made here on the property, and a beloved ingredient in our kitchen.

Paringa Estate, lunch Wed-Sun, 44 Paringa Rd, Red Hill South, 03 5989 2669,, @paringaestate