We and the Timberts have both previously been to Tokar for a wine tasting a while back and separately. Upon discussion, we found we had similar experiences in that it was a rushed tasting and service was not as attentive as it could have been as it was the same staff as in the restaurant which was busy at the time. So we both concluded that it was more a restaurant than a cellar door.
Our table was a roomy square table not far from the windows and in the cut and thrust of the dining room which had a nice ambience and a Mediterranean feel.
After we chose our food options, we were shown to the counter for wine tasting and looked after professionally although, part of the commentary did sound a bit scripted.
Anyway we were definitely better looked after this time round although we found the wine so so but we'd probably been spoilt having been round the best that the Yarra Valley has to offer. There was enough to find something pleasant to accompany lunch though naturally!
The Confit Duck Rillettes that Steve ordered was much tastier and was classically executed with no complaints.
Steve and I both had the char grilled steak which was had been informed was porterhouse with sprouts and a red wine and pepper jus. Again, presentation was appetising. I enjoyed the bacon with the bitter sprouts. The steak itself was tender but wasn't particularly meaty in flavour.
Jon had the fish of the day which was a salmon fillet with a romesco sauce on top of some green beans that had been tossed through some green pesto.
Shern's saffron infused wild mushroom paella, thyme, sherry and shaved Parmesan was probably the worst pick. The shaved Parmeson was more chunks of melted non descript stringy cheese and the rice was undercooked so chalky and grainy and the rice was suspended in some gloopy soupy liquid.
Whilst we weren't overly impressed and don't feel the need to return we also realise that there aren't a huge amount of options in the Yarra Valley for a tour group to use. My usual preferred choice of Innocent Bystander in Healesville is too busy and has enough customers of its own without having to broker some relationship with tour groups. I've had pizza at Coldstream Brewery and there "fine" like this place so no gain there. Coombe Estate, De Bortoli all take too long and are expensive which would increase the cost of the tour. Platters at Medhurst whilst tasty are again expensive and something more substantial is probably sensible when on a wine tour.
Whilst the food and wine were merely acceptable, I did feel that the service was pretty attentive.