(03) 5348 3329
I read somewhere that Alla Wolf-Tasker's mother wept when she saw the paddock that Alla had bought right next to Lake Daylesford all the way back in 1980. It was infested with blackberries and rather swampy. Yet this visionary knew exactly what she was doing. This was step one to building her dream of a gourmet restaurant in country Victoria. 4 years later Lake House opened its doors and it was time for Alla to prove that she was not just some crazy lady with a wild dream, but a great chef with amazing foresight.
Today Lake House is regarded as one of Australia's best country restaurants which takes not only immense pride in serving brilliant modern Australian cuisine made from locally sourced produce, but also it's impeccable service, beautiful restaurant and stunning surrounds. The restaurant has won a myriad of awards including Australian Country Wine list of the Year and currently holds 2 Hats from The Age Good Food Guide, so even though it is a bit of a hike(1 hour drive from Melbourne) it is worth a visit.
The day had been spent soaking in the mineral waters, being scrubbed and massaged so taking into account the long drive and all that exhausting pampering, we knew that an early dinner would be the only way to go. This early evening was still warm and the sun still shining, this was a blessing as when we walked into the dining room we were able to see it in all it's sun drenched glory. Cocktails ordered through recommendation and enjoyed on the beautiful terrace overlooking the lake. We didn't even need to see the menus because our meal had been planned well in advance, Eight Course Tasting Menu with matched wines please.
|Prints by Alla herself. You talented woman.|
|House baked corn bread|
|Sashimi mackerel, slow cooked octopus, fennel and smoky paprika|
|Open ravioli-John Dory, marron, clam, Vichyssoise, apple|
|Smoked Skipton eel, Istra pancetta, heirloom beets|
|Boned quail tempura, shiso, umeboshi|
|Rabbit-loin salad, crumbed croquette, Lydia's cottechino, lentil vinaigrette|
|12 hour suckling pig, blood pudding, morels|
|Apple, fennel, pistachio|
|Selection of petit fours|
The corn bread which is baked on site was a fun way to start, especially considering the oyster wasn't great. It's pretty hit and miss when it comes to oysters and unfortunately this one should have been left off the menu.
I love mackerel, but it is one of those fish that has to be super fresh in order to get the best of it, sadly this sashimi was overly fishy.
The open ravioli was for a lack of a better word-wow. The marron was perfectly cooked and teamed with the apple, it was just a beautiful dish. Could of had more and more.
The eel was another winner, not only was it beautiful to look at, it was even more pleasant to eat. The smokiness of the eel, teamed with the salty pancetta and the sweet beets-lovely.
The quail dish was an odd mix of flavours and styles, the quail was cooked nicely enough but it just didn't work for me.
The rabbit was a nice piece of meat and next to a beautiful and soft croquette. The mix of textures made this course a winner. I really enjoyed this dish.
The pig, oh the glorious pig. My only complaint is that there should have been more. The delicious black pudding and the so so sweet morels-yum.
Dessert time. First a sweet creamy number followed a lovely apple dish. The addition of the fennel was spot on by the way.
Cheese, cheese and more cheese. Sadly our daughter has a severe dairy allergy so we don't usually keep any at home, this is why we normal eat up when ever we are out. They offered us a great selection which was immensely enjoyed.
Finally it is the end of our meal and we are presented with a selection of petit fours that seemed truly out of place compared to the rest of the meal. I've been fortunate enough to eat a few top restaurants here and abroad, and I am usually excited when they bring out the final plate of goodies, but this was a bit of a let down. It looked and tasted like something I would get at the cinemas, in fact I remember eating something similar as a child, we called them 'Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs'.
In all I truly enjoyed not just my meal here at the Lake House but the whole experience. Not only because of the great food and the beautiful restaurant itself, but also because of the professional yet friendly service which we received. A stunning way to celebrate our well earned night away sans baby and am already looking forward to our next visit.
Sure it was pricey and luxurious at $135 for 8 courses plus the $80 for matched wines, definitely not something that I would do every weekend, but worth it for a special mini break. So book your bed and breakfast, or stay where we stayed Hepburn at Hepburn-it is one sexy bungalow and right across from the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, and let Alla feed you. After all everyone has a bucket list, mine is foodie based and slowly I am working my way through it. Vue de Monde-tick, Flower Drum-tick and finally now, Lake House-tic. So many more ticks to go, but I'm getting there.
Ratings out of 10
Would I return? Yes
Lake House 8.125/10
Lake House 8.125/10