Location: 4 King Street, Daylesford
Phone: 03 5348 3329
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Overall Impression: 9.5/10
Needing very little introduction, Lake House is one of Australia's finest luxury retreats and destination restaurants. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Lake House is perched on the edge of Lake Daylesford amongst six acres of beautiful gardens.
An air of tranquility wafts through the range of rooms and suites on offer, which boast either a garden or waterfront setting.
Gastrology bloggers were spoilt with a weekend in one of Lake House's luxurious waterfront suites.
Tastefully furnished with a king size bed, plush sofa and artwork from co-owner and resident artist Allan Wolf-Tasker, and with a bathroom featuring dual showers, a double spa bath and a heated floor, the waterfront suite was a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
The rear door to the suite provided direct access to the lake shore through a small private garden.
After taking the short stroll from our suite to the restaurant, we sat down with the lovely Larissa Wolf-Tasker (daughter to owners Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker and Lake House’s manager) over pre-dinner drinks.
Beaming with passion, Larissa took us through the 30 year history of the Lake House, from Alla's vision in 1979 of building a destination restaurant on a gorse infested paddock in rural Australia, to the polished award winning two hat culinary institution and luxury hotel it is today.
Now culinary director, Alla remains the driving force behind Lake House with her uncompromising ideal of excellence in hospitality and unwavering commitment to seasonal, locally sourced produce.
Part of the success of Lake House has been its ability to evolve and reinvent itself over time. Larissa tells us that they see the Lake House as always in a state of “work in progress” and scarcely a year goes by without some enhancement or change.
We opted to leave our dining experience in the capable hands of Lake House's kitchen team headed by chef David Green, by indulging in the tasting menu with matching wines. This was a decision we did not come to regret.
All dishes were elegant, playful and paired well with their respective wines.
Matched with: Equipo Navazos i Think Manzanilla, NV, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain
A delightfully casual way to start the meal, the three "snacks" were crisp and flavoursome.
Left: Spanner crab, whitefish sashimi, jalapeno, lime, mint
Matched with: Bests EVT-51 Riesling, 2012, Grampians, Victoria
Right: Veal Tartare, mojama, bonito, nori
Matched with: Domenica, Marsanne Roussanne, 2012, Beechworth, Victoria
The dish of spanner crab, whitefish sashimi, jalapeno, lime, mint spoke volumes of the calibre of Alla and David. The creamy lime and mint purée cradled the delicate crab and sashimi - complex flavours interwoven with precise, expertly combined textures.
Taken from the Lake House's vegetarian menu, this dish was a lesson in harmonious, elegant cooking.
Left: Bug agnolotti, house kimchi, tempura tofu
Matched with: Dexter Chardonnay, 2011, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Right: Duck, Moroccan salad, roast fig
Matched with: Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgan Les Charmes, 2011, Beaujolais, France
The playful fusion of bug agnolotti and kimchi was captivating. The sweet bug agnolotti was exquisitely textured and paired superbly with the tart, spicy kimchi and crunchy tempura tofu. The seamless integration of European and Asian flavours demonstrated a mastery over both.
Distinctly Middle Eastern, the combination of sweet figs, fresh coriander and almond slivers paired well with the tender duck breast.
Wagyu cheek, eggplant, pumpkin, togarashi
Matched with: Brash Higgins, Grenache Mataro, 2012, Mc Laren Vale
Continuing the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it, the wagyu cheeks fell away at the weight of our spoons whilst still retaining their integrity. Paired with an earthy braising sauce, eggplant and deliciously sweet pumpkin, this was a wonderful finale to the savoury courses.
Right: Chocolate, fig, raspberry
Matched with: Mas Amiel Maury, 2011, Roussillon France
The concluding dessert of chocolate, fig and raspberry struck a clever balance between the tart raspberry sorbet, luscious chocolate mousse, crisp meringues and soft figs which added a floral sweetness. A very modern dessert using clean refreshing flavours to cut through the rich chocolate.
After finishing the last of our courses, and perhaps having consumed a touch too much wine, we commenced the 2 minute stumble back to our suite.
12 hours later we returned to the dining room, this time for breakfast which comprises both a continental buffet and cook-to-order items from the menu (all included as part of your stay).
During daylight hours, the picturesque outlook of the Daylesford Lake and its leafy surrounds is visible through the large windows encasing the dining room. These large windows allow warm sunlight to flood in, highlighting Allan’s canvases that proudly adorn the walls and add tremendously to the atmosphere.
Lake House delivers an enchanting experience filled with equal parts tranquility and indulgence. Each element from the fantastic restaurant to the luxurious accommodation have been carefully thought out and perfectly executed. After a truly magical weekend escape, we are well and truly under Alla’s spell.