@sharking4chipdrink and I (@crilly6453) recently evacuated the city and made our way north out of Melbourne to “go country”. It was a great time and if you were to ever head up there hopefully this will give you some great ideas of places you need to hit. Another bonus was the recently awarded Good Food Guide Hats had just been handed out and there are a few winners in this part of the state – more on that later.
Our first stop was breakfast in Kyneton where we slipped in to the Little Swallow Café. This is a great little place on Piper Street where you are pretty much spoilt for choice. They do a decent coffee and great food at a good price. I dove into the daily BLT special which came to a total of $9.90 – bargain.
@sharking4chipdrink went for sautéed mushrooms, spinach and goats cheese on sourdough also at a reasonable price. Our only fault was that the mushroom dish was a bit dry but a little bit more olive oil would solve that issue.
Most people would then leave town for their destination but as the place was in full swing with their Daffodil Festival – and that I was up for a sweet after the savory we strolled down the street and into Inner Biscuit Organic Patisserie.
This being a small town, be ready with your order early otherwise you will get out-of-town-er looks from the staff as you peruse the many home baked cakes and goodies. I went for their famous hot chocolate which was unlike most places I order it – HOT! and right on the money.
Accommodation ideas I hear you ask. We then headed up to Chewton where we stayed in a newly opened place called The Pod On The Hill – literally 10 mins outside of Castlemaine.
As you can see in the pictures it is a separate entity that is only connected to the house by the roof – virtual seclusion. It has only been in use since January this year and need to stoke the publicity fire as the place was a bargain for $120 per night when dodgy motels were changing $20 more in town… We booked through an agent but when we spoke to the owner Liesl, she said to get in touch with her on the following email which in the future will remove the agents fees: email@example.com
– so I suggest you do too.
A couple of hours left in the day we headed to Harcourt Valley Vinyard for a quick tasting and a cheeky glass to watch the sun set.
The boys there are brilliant and know their stuff. They have also just received planning permission and funding to add a 2nd floor for tasting and install a kitchen so come November we have to go back to see what they have done with the place. They are also micro-micro brewers and you can also taste a batch of their first brew too.
Public Inn looks like it would be a great place for dinner but we only went to sample the liquid at the bar. Next time we will check the place out as it is listed in the good food guide. We could not hang around as The Good Table was waiting.
This place is a diamond in the crown of small town Castlemaine. Great intimate
setting, attentive waiter (the only one on the floor the whole night) and strapping food.
1st off the bat was the Cloudy bay Oyster with spicy dressing – nice and meaty with a dash of spice and tang.
Char-Grilled House Made Chorizo were served with bamboo skewers and you could tell the meat was first class, getting the texture of the meat and smokiness just right.
The next dish was voted best dish of the trip by the both of us – big praise indeed. Warm Chicken Terrine En Croute, Baby Asparagus. Instead of filling yourself up on bread, the terrine arrived warm wrapped in pastry removing the need for the extra carbs and filler.
Wholemeal Orecchiette, Broccoli, Pancetta, Chilli, Garlic was next out. Good old fashioned country food with an Italian twist was light, fresh and full of flavor.
Just in case there was not enough food ordered (like that would ever happen) I threw in Duck Leg Croquettes, Thyme into the mix. Not sure how it was classed as a side as it was perfect on its own. Creamy potato and succulent duck meat all encased in a beautiful brown crispy shell. Another standout.
And a meal cannot be complete with Pork belly if it is on the menu in some form. The Roasted Berkshire Pork, Black Bean, Blood Orange did sound good but we were dubious with the sides. This was a solid entry but did not blow me away. Someone always needs to get the drier end of the roast where the meat has lost much of its moisture and the crackling doesn’t get there as it did not have the heat to get it perfect. And if it was a choice between black beans and the usual veg – I would go with the usual. Next time I would try something else as the menu is stacked with decent choices.
We ended with Soft Goats Cheese, Sutton Grange. I was told it was to die for. Nuff Said.