November 30, 2009

Daylesford Getaway Day 1 - Lakehouse

I was fortunate enough to be whisked away to Daylesford for a pampering weekend of sleeping, shopping, sight-seeing and, of course, eating! Without letting the wet and gloomy weather dampen our spirits, we managed to explore and indulge in the old country town's spectacular scenery, natural mineral springs, award-winning day spas, abundant farm-gate foods and acclaimed cuisine of fresh, seasonal, free range and organic produce.

In preparation for the 90 minute drive ahead of us on Friday afternoon, we fuelled up with a quick brunch at University Hill Town Centre (224 Plenty Road, Bundoora, VIC 3083).

 Crispy Charcoal Chicken from Hot Rock Grill and Burgers;
 Battered Calamari, Scallops, Prawns and Chips (unfortunately soggy) from Flakey Jakes

Arriving in Daylesford, we excitedly settled into Gables Bend Studio, our home for the next 2 nights. I was immediately drawn to the outdoor pool and jacuzzi, open wood fireplace, and the beautiful garden views across the valley - it really felt like we were nestled in our own cozy spot, away from the bustle of the city and everyday worries back at home.

King Street,
Daylesford, VIC 3460
(03) 5348 3329
Food: Modern Australian, French, Regional
Date visited: 27th November 2009

Soon it was time for a much anticipated dinner at Lakehouse. The restaurant glows with elegance and attenton to detail, and it is clear that great dedication went into creating such a tranquilizing and romantic ambience with professional service and modern, pretentious food. Its large expanse of windows open to a lush scenery, perfect for watching the kookaburras fly in to be fed on the outdoor terraces.

Dark cellar of library of wines on offer

The restaurant's menu cover features the infamous painting by Allan Wolf-Tasker, of his wife and Executive Chef, Ella Wolf-Tasker. "Rousseau's Sleeping Chef" represents Ella's passion for food and creativity, so powerful that it invades her dreams, unbewildered by reality's distractions, symbolized by the image of her dog.

 The waiter's station was beautifully arranged in the centre, with a bon bon trolley of house-made sweets, and where the day's baked bread is sliced for you upon arrival.

Delicious, crusty sourdough bread

Salted Cod on Crouton - the cod in this teasing amuse bouche was salted in-house and delicately blended with potato and garlic.

Four Tastes From The Sea - Pan-seared Scallop with Carrot and Black Bean; St.Helens Oyster with Shellfish Jelly; Kinkawooka Mussels; Tuna Sashimi with Pickled Cucumber Asian Salad.

Each element to this dish was absolutely divine in its individual combination of flavours and textures, it would just be too hard to pick a favourite! This entree was my highlight dish of the night.

Four Things With Cheese - Spiced Haloumi with Spinach, Pinenut and Raisin Salad; Ricotta and Spinach Tortellini; Goat Cheese and Carrot Custard with Spiced Carrot and Red Lentil 'Soup'; Parmesan Panisses with Onion and Currant Marmalade.

Sadly, only the presentation of this dish somewhat impressed me. The Tortellini was dry, as was the Parmesan Panisses, which was also tough to bite through.

Spring Lamb - Slow Cooked (it was poached) Loin and Shoulder, 'Cracklings', Ragout of Spring Vegetables, Goat's Curd Fondue, Wild Nettle Puree.

Once again, very artistic, but disappointing in taste. I did, however, enjoy the crispy Crackling and the smooth Goat's Curd, which feature on the bottom left of the plate.

Aromatic Pilaf of Mt Zero Farro - served with my spring lamb, which I gladly devoured

Bitter Greens Salad - served alongside our mains

Mango Puree on Sour Cream Mousse - an amazingly smooth and delectable dessert amuse bouche

Sweet Seasonal Desserts - Panna Cotta with Orange; Yoghurt Sorbet; Vanilla Creme Brulee; Citrus Clafoutis; Watermelon and Vodka Granita; Peanut Butter Parfait with Chocolate.

One of the best brulees I've tasted, beautiful milky panna cotta and surprisingly decadent peanut butter, I wanted more!

 Toasted Soft Meringue, Fromage Frais Mousse, Warm Rhubarb Gelee, Strawberry Soup, Almond Gelato - Rich, velvety mousse, plump gelee with a slight bite, and a soft, refreshing gelato. Mmmmm...

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