Posts Tagged: fine dining

Lake House Daylesford

Lake House Daylesford

Lake House Daylesford

Happy birthday

Celebrating the birth of my lovely Emmy we took the day off and headed out to Daylesford on a Wednesday for lunch. It was actually supposed to be a day trip but we ended up not having much time to do or see anything else, so it turned into a very long drive just for lunch.

This actually broke my tradition of taking Emmy to Japanese restaurants for her birthday (I won’t name the restaurant that messed that up), but it definitely all turned out well in the end. The Lake House pretty much has a monopoly on the Wednesday fine dining scene as all the other restaurants I looked up in Daylesford are closed on Wednesdays, Kazuki’s would’ve been perfect but alas.

  • Pre-starter, Lake House Daylesford
    Pre-starter, Lake House Daylesford
  • Amber ale, Lake house Daylesford
    Amber ale, Lake house Daylesford
  • House made sourdough, Lake house Daylesford
    House made sourdough, Lake house Daylesford

Accompaniments

They have a degustation menu but we decided to just go a la carte and get the three course set. It also comes with a couple of accompaniments, crunchy, salty stick biscuit things and olives before the entree. House made sourdough and butter, and endless flow it seems, and some sweets with tea or coffee afterwards.

Entree

For entree I had a veal carpaccio with tuna tartare, it was delicious to be sure. The carpaccio was so good, very thin and soft, two thumbs up. Emmy had a scallop lasagne, which looked great, I didn’t even get a taste. They looked fancy and they tasted great as well.

  • Scallop lasagne, Lake house Daylesford
    Scallop lasagne, Lake house Daylesford
  • Tonnato, veal carpaccio and tuna tartare, Lake house Daylesford
    Tonnato, veal carpaccio and tuna tartare, Lake house Daylesford

Mains

I had black kingfish for main, and Emmy had the duck. While they may look small, I didn’t feel hungry at all (possibly due to beer and bread :)). They were small enough that Emmy could finish her main by herself so no need to share with me :(. I don’t usually order fish but since Emmy ordered the duck I had to go with something else and the fish was the most appealing to me. Good, but the entree had more flavour and left a better impression.

  • Black Kingfish, Lake house Daylesford
    Black Kingfish, Lake house Daylesford
  • Duck, Lake house Daylesford
    Duck, Lake house Daylesford

Dessert

The desserts list looked delightful and I managed to make a decision for once and went with the profiterole, while Emmy had the cannoli. My profiterole came with some lemon mousse (I think) and some pralines I think, so, so good. Emmy was very happy with her cannoli, it was filled with chocolate mousse, which was okay but mine was better.

  • Chocolate cannoli, Lake house Daylesford
    Chocolate cannoli, Lake house Daylesford
  • Profiterole, Lake house Daylesford

I don’t seem to have taken a picture of the after meal sweets, but we had some turkish delight and dark chocolates, possibly praline too. I wanted to take evrything they were offering but I didn’t want to come across as greedy, so I think we just ended up with three sweets :(.

Conclusion

It wasn’t cheap, not quite Minamishima level, but certainly up there for pricey meals that we’ve had. I’m not sure what kind of cuisine I’d call it, modern I suppose, with a subtle Japanese influence. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and I wouldn’t mind going back some time, but if we went to Daylesford again I’d probably want to try another place since there are such an abundance of quality restaurants there.

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Minamishima: Yummy, yummy, yummy, sushi in my tummy!

Well, this is a very late post because we tried this place out for emmy’s birthday (her birthday tradition is to try a new authentic Japanese restaurant) which was in November, so apologies for holding out so long on this delicious (but expensive) sushi restaurant. The head chef at Minamishima used to work at Kenzan, so the quality had to be pretty high. This post will be easy but also a little boring, we took pictures (thanks to my photographer, emmy :)) of every one of the fifteen dishes as well as the extra dessert that we ordered (which we totally shouldn’t have but we did because we’re gluttons), and I took notes on all of them especially so that I could post them here. So without further ado, the pictures (I’ll number them so that you can easily match the picture to the description):

  • The man, Minamishima
  • Simple place mats
  • 1. Tempura asparagus
  • Australian King Dory
    2. Australian King Dory
  • Garfish
    3. Garfish
  • Sea perch with white radish
    4. Sea perch with white radish
  • Calamari
    5. Calamari
  • NZ Scampi
    6. NZ Scampi
  • Japanese scallop
    7. Japanese scallop
  • Akagai shellfish
    8. Akagai shellfish
  • Japanese flounder from the fin
    9. Japanese flounder from the fin
  • Bluefin tuna belly
    10. Bluefin tuna belly
  • Seared bluefin tuna belly
    11. Seared bluefin tuna belly
  • Hokkaido sea urchin
    12. Hokkaido sea urchin
  • Cured Japanese mackerel
    13. Cured Japanese mackerel
  • Egg sushi
    14. Japanese saltwater eel
  • Clam soup
    16. Clam soup
  • Red bean yoghurt with cherry blossom iced cream
    17. Red bean yoghurt with cherry blossom iced cream
  • Zen garden black sesame iced cream
    18. Zen garden black sesame iced cream
  1. Tempura asparagus – it’s asparagus with some tempura batter, nothing special.
  2. Australian King dory, nothing noted so I’m guessing it was nothing special, which by these standards must mean quality sushi but not outstanding.
  3. Garfish, the only comment is that emmy thought that the ginger was overpowering.
  4. Sea perch with white radish, this must be one of the favourites because the description is: explosion of flavours with something sour (presumably the sour was something very nice).
  5. Calamari, has sour lemon-y zest and was cut amazingly, like noodles.
  6. NZ Scampi, which looks like a prawn but was in fact like jelly, not sure what that means but sounds delicious.
  7. Japanese scallop with soy sauce, tender, that is all, must be good.
  8. Akagai shellfish from Japan, like clam, so must’ve been a bit chewy.
  9. Japanese flounder cut from the fin, had a very rich sauce, which was very yummy.
  10. Bluefin tuna belly from Japan, this was the absolute most amazing thing ever.
  11. Seared bluefin tuna belly, not as good as the raw cut, but still, amazing.
  12. Hokkaido sea urchin, very mushy, which means, the texture was like a perfect custard.
  13. Japanese cured mackerel with vinegar rice, too bad it came after the tuna belly.
  14. Japanese saltwater eel, very sweet.
  15. Egg sushi (not pictured) but tasted like chiffon cake (which makes sense).
  16. Clam soup, nothing much here, the stock didn’t have much flavour.
  17. Red bean yoghurt with cherry blossom ice cream, this was okay but nothing was going to top that tuna belly.
  18. We ordered the special dessert because we’ll probably never go back there, we were totally going to explode at this point, but we had to finish it off. The description of the dessert being a zen garden actually was better than the dessert itself, it was all right but nothing special, this place is a sushi restaurant after all, it would be hard for the dessert to stand up to the level of the sushi.

I don’t know how we ended up with 18 dishes, it was only meant to be 15, but any way, super expensive but it probably was the best sushi that we’ve ever had, maybe we can try something similar in Japan next time, if we sell our functional and healthy organs. That’s it for now, we just went to Shoya for Valentines Day, so expect another post about that soon (hopefully a little more fun).

Note: I forgot to mention that Minamishima came over and had a chat with us (can’t remember when during the meal), told us that he was from the central region near where we visited in July, seemed like a nice bloke, emmy tried to impress him by speaking some Japanese :D, maybe he gave us some extra tuna belly for that (we got three pieces if I remember correctly).

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Hanabishi: Happy Anniversary!

I interrupt the Japan review posts with a restaurant review, I’ve been wanting to try out Hanabishi for a very long time, and finally decided that our (emmy and my) fourth anniversary dinner was as good a time as any. Hanabishi is a fine dining Japanese restaurant that has been around for 30 years or so (I think) and has achieved many awards. So even though we’d been eating real, authentic¬† Japanese food for two weeks, emmy needed a hotpot fix, and turns out the Japanese do hotpot as well. There are two options (as far as I’m aware) when it comes to Japanese hotpot, sukiyaki – which is a pot of sweet saucy soup that you don’t actually drink, or shabu shabu – which is more along the lines of a traditional hotpot whereby you do drink the soup, it’s a dashi broth, we went with sukiyaki (because I didn’t know which was which beforehand). I’m pretty sure I would go with shabu shabu every time, I didn’t realise how sweet the sukiyaki sauce is.

Looking at the menu, I always wanted to try one of the set menus (which are quite varied and cover everything), but emmy was craving hotpot, so that’s what we went with, plus some sashimi and dessert as well.

  • Fresh Tasmanian Sea Urchin
    Fresh Tasmanian Sea Urchin
  • Chef's selection sashimi
    Chef's selection sashimi
  • Sukiyaki
    Sukiyaki
  • Dessert platter
    Dessert platter

There was a Tasmanian sea urchin sashimi special, so we thought we’d give it a go since we’re both really starting to enjoy the texture of this strange seafood. Well, it was really fresh and very smooth, no fishy smell or taste (as you’d expect from a restaurant with such a reputation), I don’t know how people in the know would eat this, but for me, definitely needs wasabi and a good lathering of soy sauce to get the most out of it.

On to the sashi set (entree) which has kingfish, tuna, salmon, and salmon tartare, it’s always great to eat really nice, fresh sashimi, the salmon was a bit ridiculous, they were sliced quite thickly but the samon was just falling apart (flaking?) when picked up, great stuff, I love sashimi, I’ll leave it at that.

Now for the main, sukiyaki with wagyu beef slices, spinach, and udon on the side, as well as wombok, mushroom and onions in the broth. The beef was great, I really don’t think you even need the premium grade stuff (says the person that didn’t want to pay for it), it is so rich, the broth is probably a little too sweet for my taste, but then you’re not meant to drink it, still, if I had my time over again, I’d go with the shabu shabu, I like udon in broth.

Finally, we have the dessert platter (small one for two) which contains a little bit of everything (except for the three other dishes you get in the larger selection). We got some chocolate cake, egg tart, coconut sorbet, anmitsu (fruit and jelly), green tea creme brulee, and a green tea mousse. Each dessert by itself cost about $15 dollars (I’m guessing that they’d be larger portions), and the platter cost $33 by itself so we got try a bit of everything for the price of two desserts (we usually only ever share one dessert). How do you pick a favourite, creme brulee I guess, I’m a big flan/creme brulee fan now, and it’s one of my favourites (along with iced cream), the chocolate cake covert in chocolate sauce was a bit soggy or wet for my liking, I liked the anmitsu second best along with the coconut sorbet I would say.

Just for a piece of high judgement, I would like to mention the couple that were sitting on the table next to us, it was quite entertaining for us, as they ordered a lot of food, shabu shabu (premium wagyu), a dozen oysters, sea urchin, grilled fish with rice. Now I am the type that will ignore people at the table and play on my phone occasionally, but if these two weren’t arguing about something or another, or eating, they were staring at their phones (maybe they were instant messaging each other, I don’t know), and to top it off, they had udon and spinach left over, which they requested to take away! Udon, maybe you could make a case (not really), but spinach?!?! Really? I guess it’s better than throwing the food in the rubbish bin, but maybe don’t over order next time.

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