Category Archives: Good Food Guide

Degustation delight in Port Fairy

Drove 300kms to Port Fairy to dine at the divine Merrijig Inn, and it was totally worth it!

The accommodation was bare basics and sufficient, but the food is really what it’s all about!

Merijigg Inn Room

Naturally, we had to have the Chef’s Tasting Menu consisting of 9 courses with matching wines.

The first thing to grace our table was the delightful potato bread, along with creamy and salty butter. You know you’re in for a good thing when the bread that comes out is sensational.

The surprise amuse bouche was a honey, carrot, and ginger soup, which was a nice tasty mouthful. The other surprise was the beef tartare on toast – spectacular!

And then we start the degustation… some of the comments we had during the dinner…

Course 1: smoked eel and trout, horseradish cream, . Drink 1: Champagne. Comments: “fabulous” “tasty” “good size”.

Course 2: crayfish, roe and sea foam. Drink 2: Riesling. Comments: ” Spectacular” “Plenty of crayfish” ” Interesting textures”

Course 3: baby abalone, smoked bacon. Drink 3: something Spanish. Comments: “Fantastic” “Dishes keeps getting better” “Good garlic cream”

Course 4: Blue eye and calamari done 3 ways (normal, consomme and tapioca). Drink: Chardonnay. Comments: “Awesome” “Keeps getting better” “Perfect amount of lemon zest” “Had seaweed in it” “All just perfect”

Course 5: Squab, baby beetroot, cherries. Drink: Pinot Noir. Comments: “Squabtastic. Too many beets.” – GW (he doesn’t like beets!), “amazing. Loved the thigh meat. Great beets.” – me!

Course 6: Wagyu eye fillet, grains. Drink: something from Italy. Comments: “tasty and delicious” “not the pinacle of the meal, that was the blue eye and calamari”

Surprise pre-dessert desserts: Blue cheese, walnuts, and honey. Goats cheese ice cream with raspberry granita and mixed berries.

Course 8: Flowers nectar petals. Drink: iced reisling. Comments: at this point, I probably had too many drinks…

Course 9: Chocolate, cherries, fig leaf. Drink & comments: I have no idea…

In summary, the journey was well worth it. This was the best degustation I’d had in 2010. The courses was a cohesive journey, that kept reaching new heights. Whist the mains could have stopped at the blue eye, and the desserts should have kept to the flower, nectar and petals, I’d still give this a 9 out of 10.

 (13 Dec 2010)

For more info and reviews:
Merrijig Inn on Urbanspoon

Food pilgrimage to Dunkeld

Probably my most hyped up gastro-drive was to the Royal Mail.  I’d heard stories from various friends regarding the excellent food, free flowing wine and excellent service…. but alas, my visit did not live up to the hype.

Our dinner reservation was for 7pm, and we didn’t get out till 1am.  The table next to us arrived at 8pm and got out sooner.  For some reason, the pacing of the meal was out.  We had the full degustation and the time between dish 2 and 3 was 45 minutes!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photo’s of the food for this trip.

The next morning, we tried the cafe opposite (changing owners) for a quick brunch before departing and it was lovely – nice home made food with a decent coffee.

Dunkeld felt really strange to me.  It was like a small town that was built around the restaurant.  The bush walk around the grounds was lovely and we saw native animals, but just didn’t feel quite right.

Warning:  do not stop by Beuford for coffee… it’s terrible!
 (9th – 10th October 2010)

More info and reviews on Royal Mail:

Royal Mail Hotel on Urbanspoon

Winter weekend in Bright

My overall impression of Bright is lovely.  It was a great drive there, we left early afternoon and arrived in the evening.  Given the time of year, it was dark by the time we arrived and it was a bit daunting getting to the house on dark country roads.

The house we stayed at was aptly named “Evening Star” as the deck faced the mountainside and stars (which were aplenty).  The house was as gorgeous (as was described), with lots of space to relax, a bathtub with views of the mountains and a fully decked out kitchen (which we enjoyed cooking breakfast and dinner a few times).

One of the primary reason’s for visiting Bright was to dine at Simone’s (which at the time had 2 hats in the GFG, alas it now only has one).  It was charming and rustic, and the food was delicious.  Outstanding items include homemade gnocchi with mushrooms and truffle,  calamari lightly battered with rocket and the roast pork done 3 ways.

We stayed in Bright for a few days.  To amuse ourselves, we drove along the Great Alpine Road which is a great drive with very pretty scenery.  Another highlight of the trip was the Wandiligong Pub, with great locals and character (look out for a tree out the back with about 30 pairs of bra’s hanging from it!).  If you have a few hours, check out the Wandiligong maze – it was a quite a challenge and probably the best maze I’ve ever seen.

On the way back to Melbourne we stopped by a few spots.  One of which was Milawa, where there was a local Sunday market.  There was nothing terribly exciting at the market but the shops were interesting with cheese and mustard aplenty!  Another pit stop on the way home was Glenrowan where the giant Ned Kelly resides.   It was like a cowboy town with a row of shops (every single one with reference to Ned) running through it and a giant statue.

Overall, the trip was great and I can’t wait to return to that region!  Next time I’ll be hitting up Beechworth.

Total kms: 1000kms

(16th – 18th July 2010)

More info on Simones:

Simones on Urbanspoon