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Explore our French bistro menu and meet Michael Themel our Head Chef.

About Michael Themel

Now very much a Yarra Valley local, having spent the last six years in Healesville, Michael started his career in his homeland, Austria. Developing a love of traditional European cuisine in the hotels and resorts of the Alps, Micheal took a leap forward into fine dining at the two Michelin-starred Ikarus - Red Bull, Salzburg. With the rest of the world’s cuisines to discover, he swapped the beauty of the Austrian Alps for London and then the Bahamas. This was before he found his way to the Valley via some time in Melbourne favourites The Stokehouse and Philippe Mouchel.  Now at Dominique Portet, Michael brings his European understanding to the most French of Yarra Valley wineries. 

What can we expect from your menu?

“We have created our blend of local and historical on this new menu. Australia’s outstanding contributions to cuisine are the quality of the produce and the innovation that has come with the traditions that have combined here. Yet, at Dominique Portet we can’t forget our French heritage and what makes the wines and the experience unique. This bistro menu captures some classic regional French techniques and that amazing local innovation and quality”.

What do you enjoy from our menu?

“Without a second thought, it has to be anything from the wood-fired grill. Cooking over charcoal is not unique to France or Australia, almost every cuisine uses fire, but that just speaks to its universal appeal. When you drop a well marbled piece of local beef over the coals for our steak frites, it’s next level simplicity and what bistro dining is all about. Although, I often eat less meat now, so we have worked hard on redeveloping our veggie options too and the new gnocchi Parisienne with Comté and chanterelles is such a wine friendly dish, we can’t wait for diners to enjoy that with a glass of Single Vineyard Rosé.”

After the heights of cooking in Europe, the Caribbean and Melbourne what keeps you in the Valley?

”My wife, Georgina, pastry chef at Innocent Bystander and I just love what we are able to achieve here.  Again, with some of the best produce on our doorstep in businesses that deliver on so many fronts, there’s so much to love, and we feel like our experiences abroad are really valued. Add to that, we can bring our children up in a tight-knit community, very similar to me in Austria (just with smaller mountains), we think it’s perfect.”

What have you been drinking from Dominique Portet?

“With the recent sunshine out here in the Valley I have been loving the 2022 Fontaine Rosé, but the Single Vineyard 2022 Pinot Noir has also had quite a bit of time on the dining table at home over winter, and I suspect it will over spring too”.

And your opening hours are changing? 

"Yes we will now be offering the Bistro menu from Thursday to Sunday and reopening our l'Apero menu Monday to Wednesday. As customers are coming back to the Valley we are seeing more and more visitation during the week and we are keen for everyone to be able to experience our cuisine no matter which day they visit".