THE EPICUREAN RED HILL HAS A LONG HISTORY IN FRESH FOOD. ONCE THE Red Hill Cool Store, IT dates back to the 1920’s.
Red Hill was settled in 1862 and originally named 'Bald Hill' which came from when wild bullocks and kangaroos roamed and grazed the rich fertile hills. Located in the centre of Mornington Peninsula's Hinterland with panoramic views, Port Phillip Bay to the north and west and Western Port Bay to the south east.
In the 1920's, the area progressed into thoroughbred breeding, cattle farming and further orchiding and strawberry farms. The Red Hill Cool Store opened in May 1920 and warehoused much of the local produce. In 1921, the Red Hill to Bittern Railway opened allowing local producers to get their goods to the Melbourne market over night. The site of the railway station is marked at the rear of The Epicurean building and behind Blue Moon Trading building. The railway closed in 1954 and the establishment of the equestrian trail through to Merricks follows the route of the railway line today. In 1929, The Red Hill Cool Store was destroyed by fire, but soon replaced by a larger one. A packing shed was constructed in 1927.
The secluded and peaceful Red Hill Rail Trail is suitable for all walkers and riders and runs between Red Hill South and Merricks Station Ground, mostly along the route of the old Red Hill Rail Line – an extension from Bittern that stopped at Balnarring, Merricks and Red Hill. The line operated for a little over three decades from 1921 to 1953 before the rise of motor transport made it unprofitable.
Though relatively short lived, the rail line has an important place in the history of both Red Hill and Merricks. It played a key role in the development of the region, bringing in stockfeed and fertiliser, and helping to distribute locally-produced apples, strawberries, stock, timber and firewood; and the township of Merricks, which has maintained its charming rural character and function, was essentially established around its station.
THE EPICUREAN TODAY
Despite a major refit and transition into large regional food and wine destination, which began in 2008 and opened in 2013, much of the old building has been purposely preserved and is still intact, revealing its past glory at every angle.
The Shed encompasses a towering atrium to let in natural light and the winter sun. Herb planter boxes, the original industrial concrete floor, Carrara stone bench tops, 100 year old recycled wharf beams, 2 extensive bars with wine displays and Enomatic wine dispensers, a pizza oven and multiple large open fireplaces built from locally sourced Red Hill stone adorn the internal spaces. Every element at The Epicurean Red Hill has been considered to bring together rustic and industrial chic to protect the integrity of the historical Packing Shed.
The Shed is the principle dining space and ‘cucina’ style restaurant that showcases an Italian-inspired menu, which focuses on honest, regional produce complemented by wine from over 50 Vigneron's from the Mornington Peninsula.
If privacy is your requirement, 4 uniquely styled event spaces are offered to suit all types of gathering. The kitchen offers shared style menu concepts that capture a relaxed, Mediterranean style of dining perfect for any celebration with friends and family.
If you only need a quick snack or coffee there is The Store Cafe Located at the front of the building offering delicious baked goods, continental cafe fare, home wares and local produce to take home and enjoy. Locally roasted coffee beans from Little Rebel Coffee are used and paired perfectly with pastries and honest sweet treats from Johnny Ripe.
The Epicurean Red Hill is a landmark property offering something for everyone visiting the Mornington peninsula, even if its just to step your toes in for a taste of Red Hill agricultural history. However, for those requiring a good dose of warm hospitality mixed with some perfectly prepared Italian dishes and wine, sourced from premium local produce, then The Epicurean experience will not disappoint.
For more information about the region click here.