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There are several institutions in Falls Creek that have stood the test of time and even more, the discerning palate of knowledgeable diners. Winterhaven Restaurant is one such venue - and it continues to prosper.

Winterhaven began life in the 50’s as a very small store. It was transformed slowly into an accommodation venue and a ski hire.

During the 80’s the focus moved more from lodge style accommodation to a comprehensive ski hire and retail outlet. Later the balcony was built in and the upstairs area totally devoted to the provision of fine meals, cool drinks and a warm atmosphere. The Alpine Ash timber lining throughout continues that warm country feeling and the large windows bring the lightly falling fresh snow settling on the snow gums almost to the table. A well stocked bar, a comprehensive wine list and friendly service for patrons around the fire complete the picture.

This last summer saw the most recent renovation - a complete refurbishment of the new larger kitchen - ready for the new team to walk in and start sending out the dishes.

Barry Iddles is a former Falls Creek skier and a serious foodie. Barry is the skipper of the Sorrento Catering Company which runs the food and beverage operations at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, the Royal Brighton Yacht Club and several other prominent establishments on the Mornington Peninsula. Catering is in the blood and Barry has established a ‘solid’ reputation in that part of the state.

Not unlike the snow industry, summer on the beach is seasonal. The next logical step was to transfer key personnel to Falls Creek and take over Winterhaven. Having a quality team in the metropolitan area has enabled Barry to immediately have available staff he can work with - knowing they will produce a quality product.

One key member is Roy Shaak, a young professional waiter, originally from Holland, who will handle the front of house. Waiting and front of house are Roy’s love - to the point where he has even travelled overseas to study the art.

For season 2010, Barry opened the doors of the restaurant on the Wednesday prior to the official start of the season - and plans to have the doors open at the close of the season. The initial response has been great, with locals appreciating the warm atmosphere and inviting manner.

Some innovative moves have been made at Winterhaven. One marketing treat is that every time you dine in the restaurant, you may put your name into the hat to win one of two 2011 Season Passes (valued at around $1200 each).

Saturday and Sunday, Winterhaven is offering an Express Lunch for only $15 - and you’re in and out in 30 minutes. The a la carte menu is also available for lunch - for those that take lunch seriously - with a glass or two of wine.

Sunday night is Roast Night - three courses for only $30 from 5pm. One other special is the Christmas in July - Sunday 25th. The best advice here is to book early.

Another innovation is the Staff Dinners between 5pm and 6:30pm from Monday to Saturday with the a la carte menu available from 7pm.

The Winterhaven menu is quite extensive offering eight entrees, nine mains and a tasty selection of desserts.

A selection of the entrees included:

Okonomiyaki Japanese pancakes topped with wakame salad, teriyaki sauce mayo.

Chicken Laab with spiced ground chicken with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and chilli.

Tempura prawns mango salsa & citrus chilli salt.

Wasabi pea crusted calamari with lime mayonnaise.

Among the mains, there were:

Veal sautéed with lemon, sherry, toasted almonds & creamy sauce.

Confit of salmon with olive mash & braised winter vegetables.

The Moroccan lamb shank, mash potato & beans could include one shank or two.

Prawns in a sugar, curry crust with braised creamy leaks & greens.

Spinach gnocchi tossed with spinach, toasted pine nuts & seared onion

Winterhaven’s wine list was quite comprehensive - with a selection to satisfy the discerning palate - containing a range of local, quality wines from around the country and some imported.

But, instead of trying to read about it here, phone 5758 3888 and make your booking. You will not be disappointed.

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