Sunday, November 11, 2012

Daylesford Escape Part 2 - Mercato Restaurant and Harvest Cafe




While we were in Daylesford, I took Tim for a belated birthday dinner at Mercato Restaurant.  At Mercato, the food is modern Australian - but however, you describe it, the food is excellent.

On our way to Mercato, we passed this unusual redback spider gate, an homage to Aussie culture:


and a gallery featuring this Australian-inspired Alice sculpture:


and this trio of children on a horse outside The Royal in town: 


The reception area at Mercato sets the scene for the evening, with walls lined with glasses and wine:


I was already feeling full from our Silver Streak train trip, so we skipped entree and went straight to main course.  Tim ordered seared fillet of kangaroo, thyme scented potato gnocchi, baby spring vegetables, red wine sauce ($37.50):


while I opted for the spiced spatchcock, quinoa pilaf, sautéed chard, pistachio nuts,
mint & lime infused Meredith sheeps milk yoghurt ($38.50):



The spatchcock was absolutely devine, with three large pieces of spatchcock coated in a heavenly spice mix.  I would definitely have this again.

For side dishes, we ordered steamed beans with toasted almonds ($8.50) and roasted pumpkin, Persian fetta, pine nuts and thyme ($10.50): 


My pick of these was the pumpkin - the fetta was a lovely smooth contrast against the sweetness of the pumpkin.

Despite being incredibly full by now, and although we had a rather lacklustre slice of commercially made lemon tart on the Silver Streak (the only real letdown), we ordered a dessert to share, and I am glad that we did.  Tim chose lemon curd, Italian meringue, shortbread crumb and macerated raspberries ($15.50):


This dessert was like a deconstructed lemon meringue pie.  It was really devine, with a smooth, just tangy lemon curd bedecked with piped meringue that had been hit with a blow torch, the traditional pie crust being converted into shortbread crumbs, and some macerated raspberries to add a bit more tang to contrast with the sweetness of the meringue.

Next morning, after a satisfying, well-fed sleep, Tim and I headed out for breakfast at The Harvest Cafe.  Tim ordered this fabulous fruit toast, that I was lucky enough to share:


The plate was even decorated with three tiny flowers, hidden under the strawberry in the above shot.  The fruit toast was studded with a delicious mix of raisins, apricots and cranberries, and was served with the most wonderful tasting strawberry jam (it was so good that I bought a huge pot of it for $9).

We both ordered the muesli, again decorated rather prettily:


and served with milk, yoghurt and honey:


We really liked the honey too, and found out that it was local Des O'Toole's Honey.  Tim had been asked to bring home some honey, so we went and bought some at the Daylesford Sunday Market.

I couldn't resist showing you this charming bicycle sculpture inside The Harvest Cafe: 


Isn't it cute?

We spent the rest of our time in Daylesford exploring.  This included scaling the steepest hill in the world (well, maybe I exaggerate - a little) to visit the Convent Gallery:


The Convent Gallery is complete with its own chapel, where you can hold a wedding if desired:


Our efforts in climbing the hill were rewarded with this magnificent view from the balcony of the Convent Gallery:


I couldn't close off this post without sharing this funny sign with you:


It was outside Frangos & Frangos, where we finished off our Daylesford adventure with a local beer.

32 Raglan Street
Daylesford VIC 3460
Ph  03 5348 4488
 
29 Albert Street
Daylesford VIC 3460
Ph 03 5348 4022
 
Cnr Hill & Daly Streets
Daylesford VIC 3460
Ph 03 5348 3211

6 comments:

yummychunklet said...

The kangaroo fillet looks delicious.

Jill said...

I would be in heaven with that muesli and fruit toast!

The Caked Crusader said...

Phwor - that fruit toast looks a bit of alright!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Ooh we had lunch at Mercato's! It was fabulous! We both loved Daylesford :D

TeaLady said...

What interesting places. Had to be fun to go there!!

kangaroo!!??

Anonymous said...

Love kangaroo.