Almost two years after fire ripped through Martin and Karen Spedding's then two-hatted Mornington Peninsula restaurant Ten Minutes by Tractor, the fine diner will finally reopen on November 9.
The rebuild doesn't mean a straight reboot, however. The 1930s orchard cottage has been expanded, adding space for another 30 diners, plus a private dining room for 24, a new cellar, reached by spiral staircase, and a large outdoor terrace for summer. The cellar door is now a restaurant bar.
Head chef Adam Sanderson had also only recently taken the reins from chef Stuart Bell when the 2017 fire hit. With two years to hone his plans for the space, while also overseeing the winery's more casual bistro, Petit Tracteur, he is ready to fire up his five- and eight-course menus built around Mornington Peninsula produce.
The ingredients and techniques point to Sanderson's career in kitchens like the Fat Duck in the UK, Noma and Cutler and Co – more prog-Oz than the French-inflected style of Bell. Kangaroo en croute will come with a caramelised cauliflower puree, black cherry and grilled greens; roast Eugowra quail with blueberry, beetroot, sickle pod and licorice; and a sweet-savoury dessert will star fresh peas, buttermilk ice-cream and green pine cone.
Former restaurant manager Graham Kinsey has moved on. Stepping into the role is sommelier Jacques Savary de Beauregard, a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, who staged at Ten Minutes by Tractor six years ago and never left. As before, the winery's own stable of stars will be supported by other premium cool-climate wines from Australia and around the world on the stellar wine list.
Bookings open October 21 and a new cellar door will follow in December.
1333 Mornington-Flinders Road, Main Ridge, 03 5989 6455, tenminutesbytractor.com.au.