Lake House restaurant is a bit of a fine food destination for visitors to Daylesford. Couples come to Daylesford for weekend getaways and spa retreats. Incidentally, I also hear that the town is a bit of a retirement place for gays and lesbians who’re sick of city-living.
All that said, I did a typical practicalboo comic act. Drove my folks (and fakegf) to Lake House for lunch, explored Daylesford very briefly, then sped back to Melbourne.
Maybe in my twilight years (when I’m richer), I’ll take a more relaxed approach towards dining in the country… :)
The town’s just about an hour’s drive from the city, it’s quite surprising how near it is. The restaurant itself resides inside Lake House spa retreat, so guests can dine here as part of their spa package.
Ambience was formal but relaxed, with white tablecloths, velvety purple chairs, plush cushions and vibrant paintings by Allan Wolf Tasker. It’s like a light-filled holiday lunchroom with a bit of a view.
The menu is rich with descriptions of where all the ingredients come from, with an aim towards serving dishes reflecting the seasons and local ‘terroir’. Lunch starts at $76 for two courses, with a $20 supplement for each additional course. You also have the option of an 8 course tasting menu, priced at $140. We ended up deciding to go a la carte.
I’ll now let the rest of this post be more of a food-porn type of post. Less words, more photos. Plating of the food here was beautiful. And with a table by the window, rich with natural light, the photos turned out very nicely.
Kingfish, pan seared and glazed, tartare, yuzu, wasabi, crisp shallots, edamame
Dad started with a light entrée of lovely, soft-fleshed kingfish.
Mt Mercer pig ‘croustillant’, octopus, morcilla, chorizo dressing, white bean
Mum really enjoyed her choice of starter. The dish had the citrus presence of oranges.
63ºC egg, soft polenta, white asparagus, spring peas and shoots, curd, velouté
But I think Fakegf chose the loveliest entrée of all.
Creamy rich yet confidently vegetarian. Just lovely. Like a soft, comforting mythical bed of breakfast food. I could so wake up to this.
Smoked Skipton eel, pancetta, shallot confit, beetroot remoulade, mustard crème fraiche
I went a little more adventurous with an eel number, and thought the combination worked. It’s also quite a decent sized dish for an entrée.
And of course, we all wanted to sample a bit of everything. So here’s me constructing little spoonfuls of my dish for everyone to try.
Buttered green asparagus, zucchini, broccolini, lemon 10
Before I cover our mains, I’ll just apply that we had them with this side dish of spring greens. It was on the soft side.
Chicken – free range, organic, cooked with lardo and prosciutto, locally foraged morels, herb gnocchi, nettle purée
Mom’s main was very nicely cooked, but I thought the sauce was on the sweet side.
Pastured beef – 12 hour rib, smoked tongue, sweetbreads, roast vegetables, Yorkshire pud
Dad’s dish, however, was gorgeous. The slow cooked rib was just meltingly tender.
Roast duck – pomegranate, dukkah crusted ‘bisteeya’, carrot, pickled eggplant, grains
Fakegf also had an amazing dish. Blushing pink duck, perfectly cooked.
Only reason why I did not choose this dish as well was the presence of dukkah (cumin is one ingredient I struggle with).
Rabbit – ‘cassoulet’, rabbit loin and cottechino salad, lentil vinaigrette
I once again went adventurous with my dish, it turned out to be a feature rabbit salad, bright and crisp…
… accompanied with a side serve of rabbit ‘cassoulet’, covered in a lush bed of green crumbs that I cannot identify.
I preferred the ‘cassoulet’ over the salad, which I thought was just a touch too citrusy and zesty for my liking.
I’ll have to acknowledge, however, that I’ve never eaten rabbit cooked so beautifully before. It was still tender and blushing pink in the salad, and just so fall apart soft in the ‘cassoulet’.
Apple, basil, yoghurt, honey, mint
We’ll start with my dessert, which I thought was the least exciting of the three. The refreshing counterpoint of mint and basil wasn’t really there.
Lemon and liquorice – curd, ice cream, mousse, ‘caviar’
The pull of getting to taste lemon curd overrode Fakegf’s aversion of liquorice, that’s how she ended up with this architecturally stunning dessert. And boy was it good lemon curd!
I’m also not that keen on liquorice, but surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the liquorice ice cream. It was creamy sweet with a gentle aniseedy hit. I ate most of it for her.
Peanut butter parfait, black sesame ice cream and tuile, caramel banana, grains
Dad’s dessert, consisting of fail-proof (favourite favourite!) ingredients, was executed phenomenally well here. It was quite swoonsome.
In fact, it was so good that Fakegf and I went and ordered another serve to share!
We had a pleasant stroll around the grounds after our lunch.
Overall, it was a very good meal with quite a few stunning dishes, and I only have just a few tiny quibbles. First, I thought there was quite a lot of citrus and zest featuring in many of the savoury dishes (especially the ones I chose). I also thought the staff could be just a touch more relaxed. But remember, I’m just being a pedant here. At the end of the day, I think Lake House is a fantastic food destination for visitors to Daylesford.