• TOTE (Moonee Ponds)

New to Moonee Ponds, TOTE brings fine dining to the suburb with a modern Australian menu, signature cocktails, and 1930s inspired racing décor with contemporary twists.

We had been invited to try their vegetarian menu. It is extremely good value with four courses for $95, an extra $45 per person for matching wines. A la carte is also available.

Located on the edge of the racecourse, the outdoor area was abuzz when we arrived. Locals enjoyed an aperitivo in the early evening light. The grounds are exceptionally maintained, making this the perfect spot to admire the garden.

Inside, the décor is modern, while maintaining hints of the building’s 1930’s and racing history. The name ‘Tote’ pays homage to the space – tote is the industry term for betting from a collective pool of prize money. And while the restaurant resides on the edge of the course, it is very much separate from the hubbub of race days. On this Saturday night, it was already vibrant with families, couples and groups of friends.

Seated on the comfy green-grey booth seat, I admired the oval bar, and perused the menu by Head Chef John Jo (whose previous experience includes Attica and Lakehouse). A selection of wines and signature cocktails has also been curated, giving customers unique experience.

Their take on an espresso martini is a “Native Espresso Martini” with native yam vodka, bush honey and wattle seed coffee liqueur, coffee, salted caramel syrup and chocolate. Dusted with cocoa and garnished with blueberry and rosemary, this looks a treat. The alcohol was strong, but the taste still creamy and lovely.

Mark had a “Corsican”, with limoncello, amaro, orange liqueur and egg white. He loved it! 

“Amuse bouche: Creamed corn croquettes, yuzu mayonnaise” paired with Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut.

The croquettes were crunchy, with a light dough between the crust and rich corn cream centre. I loved the tang of the yuzu mayonnaise. The saltiness of the cheese brought the dish together. These were extremely well done with a blend of textures and flavours all coming together.

The dry champagne brought out the flavours of this petite amuse bouche.

This was also served with crusty, fresh sourdough and butter.

“1st Course: Heirloom beetroot, radish, yuzu, wasabi, shiso” paired with Le Bon Chardonnay.

This is a very pretty dish, as you can see. The hint of the wasabi brought out the sweetness of the beetroot, which was soft and wet. Rolls of thinly sliced cucumber gave a refreshing twist.

The Chardonnay was slightly oaked, with no acid, and an overall balanced taste.

“2nd Course: Caramelised onion tart, zucchini flower, cimi di rapa, chevre” paired with Zilzie BTW Pinot Noir.

I loved the intense flavours of this dish: the sweet tang of the thinly sliced caramelised onion, the creaminess and saltiness of the goats’ cheese, the crunch of the sugared walnuts, and the beautiful tempura leaf on top. 

The pinot smelled delicious, ripe strawberries with a hint of old dust. With light tannins and complex tastes, this wine complemented the onion tart smoothly.

“3rd Course: Grilled vegetable terrine, confit mushroom, honey glazed carrot, romesco” paired with 821 South Sauvignon Blanc.

Mark loved this dish. The veggies were very smooth, all layered into a beautiful terrine. The time and care put into this, made us appreciate it even more. 

The Sauvignon Blanc was beautifully fresh and fruity. Uncomplicated and delicious. This is your true Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at its best.

“To finish: Pistachio millefeuille” with Campbells Topaque.

Really crisp, flaky, buttery pastry, layered with soft folds of subtle pistachio cream; what’s not to love about this dessert? What a beautiful way to finish a delectable meal.

This was my first time ever trying topaque. To me it was like a mix between a muscat and a lighter dessert wine. It was still creamy, but with a subtle finish, and a stronger grapey fruit in the palate.  

Overall, we had a great time and really enjoyed our meal. I would definitely come back, and order the same dishes again.  The food was beautifully presented, the flavours were complex, well-thought-out and most importantly, delicious. The atmosphere was fun. And the service very welcoming.

14 Feehan Ave (Carpark Entry Gate 2)
Moonee Ponds 3039
03 9373 2211