Bianca: My mission for our latest Melbourne trip was to explore areas I’d never visited before. Alex has an obsession for the finer things in life and I have a thing for….food. When we can combine both, we jump. Even when it includes a 4 hour + road trip the day after the Monster Sydney > Melbourne drive.
Many people have made mention of just how gorgeous Daylesford is and in particular The Lake House restaurant Daylesford. Co-owned by esteemed chef Alla Wolf-Tasker, who also acts as the culinary director, with head chef David Green at the helm.
The grounds and the restaurant really is a sight to behold, leafy and tranquil whilst almost other-worldly.
We had a Tuesday lunch booking so it was quiet, I could just imagine the restaurant bustling on weekends with people celebrating birthdays and special occasions.
The two- hatted restaurant offers a few dining options with a minimum of two courses, up to four and a separate degustation.
We had a lot of food to look forward to over the two weeks we spent in Melbourne, so limited it to the 2 courser with a shared salad at $80 p.p.
The Bread was simply gorgeous, a generous small sour-dough loaf served piping hot with numerous seeds studding the top of the loaf. Served with a large pat of cold butter, minor misstep there, it was a little hard to spread especially if you’re impatient like Alex and I are.
Alex and I both opted for a main and a dessert. Ever the sweet fiends!
With Alex going for the House ricotta and goats cheese tortellini – w/zucchini ‘risotto’ crisp zucchini blossom & baba Ghanoush. I don’t think you go to the Lake house and expect a run of the mill boring pasta dish and that’s something we can definitely say did not happen here. Servings are obviously fine dining portions but we left truly stuffed after our meal. So don’t be turned off by what appears to be teeny tiny portions. The tortellini were beautifully al dente and full to the brim with the creamy goat’s cheese, leaving the ricotta in a supporting role in the flavour stakes. My favourite element would have to be the zucchini flowers, my nonno will sometimes make them for special occasions but these were on another level. Sorry nonno! I loved the celebration of the vegetables on this dish, with the finely diced zucchini replicating a risotto of sorts.
I saw pork belly on the menu and basically bypassed everything else. Going with the Crisp Pork Belly croustilant – scampi, squid noodles, enoki mushrooms. Tender, melt in your mouth pork and despite the pork and seafood broth, the skin still remained crispy. Everything about this dish was understated, perhaps a little too understated. With the mushrooms proving some earthiness and bite. The squid noodles were mostly forgotten till the very last few bites. I really enjoyed the combination of the pork with the coriander, a simple touch but one I’d not experienced before.
Dessert was fairly easy, our thought process went something along the lines of peanut butter, chocolate…. Check!!!
With Alex going with the Cherry Ripe – chocolate, cherry & coconut. The chocolate ‘bar’ was on the heavy side but I love chocolate so this can be forgiven. With varying cherry incarnations, a macaroon, fresh cherries, glacé cherries and a coconut sorbet. I enjoyed it but he much preferred my pick.
I think this time around the best dessert belonged to me! The Peanut Butter, black sesame, caramel and banana. There was a lot going on in this dish. Varying temperatures, textures and stark colour contrasts. There were elements I enjoyed over others but as a complete dish it was unlike anything I’ve had before. The parfait had an almost intense concentrated peanut butter flavour and was the standout for me. Despite being slightly concerned as how to the black sesame would marry into this dish, it worked seamlessly. An interesting modern Australian and Asian fusion dish.
Staff are lovely and attentive but sometimes came off a little impersonal. But the food and the location are worth a look in and I’d recommend those passing through Daylesford to stop in for lunch. It won’t be a cheap one though….
We couldn’t help stopping in at Lavandula Lavender farm for an impromptu photo-shoot, truly stunning with vast gardens and the most ADORABLE cafe! Alex couldn’t stop photographing it!
Photos by Alex