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Renowned Peninsula Chef takes the reins at new Queenscliff food offering TARRA

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Chris McConville

One of the Mornington Peninsula’s most renowned chefs is set to take the helm at the latest premier restaurant launching in Queenscliff in time for winter.

Chef Michael Demagistris will take the lead as executive chef at the new restaurant TARRA – opening as part of the multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the Queenscliff Ferry Terminal on the Bellarine.

Michael Demagistris

Operated by Searoad Ferries, the 60-seat contemporary coastal dining experience will boast a menu that not only showcases the finest local produce and seasonal ingredients, but the wealth of experience that Chef Michael will bring to the fold.

Having previously worked at some of Australia’s most prestigious restaurants including Jacques Reymond, Chef Michael’s passion for food has seen him travel the world, working in venues such as Alinea, The Publican and Noma.

Known for his innovative approach to cooking and extensive use of local produce, he says he is looking forward to bringing his passion and expertise to TARRA Queenscliff and developing a menu that highlights the Bellarine’s produce while emphasising his love of foraging.

With a menu inspired by the ocean, land and change of seasons, diners can expect to savour innovative dishes that highlight Chef Michael’s affinity for exploration and interesting ingredients including sea succulents, kelp, samphire, and wild berries.

“I can’t wait to create some truly memorable dishes for our guests,” he says.

Chef Michael will take the reins alongside Head Chef Ryan James who will work with the TARRA team to craft a fresh food vision and menu to transform the restaurant into a unique dining destination.

TARRA is located on the ground floor of the new Queenscliff building – the iconic, architectural, state-of-the-art building that was opened earlier this year and houses Tarra store, food offering and Searoad Ferries.

Sitting against the stunning Port Phillip Bay backdrop, the terminal features a sleek, sophisticated coastal feel that complements the surrounding views with an internal design that equally oozes style and poise.

Bellarine Restaurant

The TARRA team will be give insight into the menu with a cooking demonstration at a Community Open Day held on April 22, which also includes live music, kids entertainment and prize giveaways.

Searoad Ferries COO Dwight Harrison says he was thrilled to have Chef Michael on board and was looking forward to the restaurant’s official opening.

“His passion and his commitment to delivering exceptional dining experiences align perfectly with our vision for the restaurant,” Dwight says.

“The internal fit-out of TARRA is of the highest quality that perfectly complements the surrounding natural environment and we can’t wait for it to be officially opened.”

Australia’s busiest vehicle ferry service, Searoad Ferries, car and passenger ferry service sails between Queenscliff and Sorrento with over 8,200 crossings annually and carries over 950,000 passengers.


WHAT: TARRA Queenscliff
WHEN: The new terminal opens April 20 (Community Open Day – April 22) and TARRA restaurant opening scheduled for mid-year.

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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