By Ellie Schneider
September 2, 2020 | 3 minute read
Renowned for its sophisticated, farm-to-table fare, Daylesford is a gourmand’s delight. Perfect for a weekend getaway, there's stunning accommodation, fresh country air and natural spring waters. Don't forget to book ahead if you want to eat at any of these 6 incredible spots.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Set in a beautiful French-style country house surrounded by lavender fields, Sault is the epitome of regional dining. With chef Hugh Maxwell at the helm, the menu showcases regionally-inspired seasonal dishes – complemented by herbs, vegetables and trout smoked on site. Menus change seasonally, with a three or four-course choice menu, or seven-course tasting menu available. Framed by continental Bay windows, the restaurant enjoys 180-degree views of the surrounding lake and forest.
Produce-driven degustation menus are the name of the game at Mercato. Translating to ‘market’ in Italian, the restaurant is aptly located just down the road from Daylesford’s Sunday market. Set in a beautifully-restored 1864 timber cottage, the restaurant lures visitors for its contemporary modern-Australian cuisine created by head chef Richard Mee. The menu is a delectable experience, from Mt Franklin zucchini flowers to Western Plains sticky pork belly and Yearling eye fillet. Wash it down with matched wines from a 100-strong wine list, many of which are local to the region.
This award-winning restaurant needs little introduction. Under the guidance of Co-Owner and Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker, Lake House has become a stalwart on Australia’s regional dining scene. Here, almost everything is produced in-house, from breads to an extensive range of charcuterie, while remaining ingredients are sourced from small-scale local suppliers. Guests can choose between a seasonal a a la carte and tasting menu at both lunch and dinner. Visit during the day to enjoy magnificent views across Lake Daylesford and beyond.
Wombat Hill House
Located within the enchanting Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Wombat Hill House transforms a 1940s caretaker cottage into a spot for all-day grazing. This country-style café serves simple albeit delicious seasonal food, with a menu that changes frequently. There are a range of vegetarian and vegan options available, as well as local ciders, beer and wine. If you would rather a picnic, the café will happily pack away your lunch in a basket. Alternatively, you can keep things classy with a country high tea, served from 2pm Thursday through Monday.
The brainchild of owner-chef Matthew Carnell, Bistro Terroir brings classic French dishes to Daylesford. Housed in an intimate bistro setting, the restaurant is a true neighbourhood affair. On the menu expect French icons like bouillabaisse, steak frites and duck liver parfait, teamed with a carefully-selected drinks menu. And to finish, indulge in a traditional peach melba, macarons or cheese.
Located in the heart of Daylesford, this traditional pub has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Enjoy dinner and drinks in the beer garden or in the elegant dining room. Upstairs, the bar spills out to a Federation-style veranda, which overlooks the town below. Enjoy delicious Australian bistro fare, such as roasted chicken, battered fish and chips or Daylesford Hotel’s famous pie. To drink, there’s an extensive selection of specialty beers as well as local, regional and imported wines.
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