You may remember a tradition we started last year with friends...meeting for dinner at a regional restaurant or pub somewhere in between our hometowns of Ballarat and Bendigo. And so we found ourselves in the country town of Castlemaine, at the Public Inn. I was surprised at how busy it was for a Friday night...little cafes with their windows glowing...outdoor balconies busy with conversation & laughter despite the creeping cool of the evening....
My favourite part of the night (besides the company & dessert) was watching the staff climb the ladder of the stone wall...filling apothecary-like bottles & jars from the barrels of wine as chosen by diners. It's worth noting their drinks menu is far more extensive than just those on display. When given free reign to choose a selection of beer to bring to our table over the course of the evening, the enthusiasm of our waiter was infectious. I love watching them describe each drink, it's origins, and why it was the obvious next choice in the journey of tastings.
Rabbit terrine, pumpkin cream, salad of fresh radish and daikon,
seeded mustard, Golfields honey
Curried butternut pumpkin, ricotta gnudi, silver beet, chèvre
Peanut butter & chocolate mousse, strawberry cream & peanut brittle
250g Diamantina beef rump cap (Wagyu ~ marble score 5-6)
w/ potato & parmesan `roestii', watercress salad, Bearnaise sauce
Locheilan farmhouse `Brie' in cheesecake w/ poached pear
I love when the dishes arrive at the table and they look nothing like how you pictured them, but a whole other level of deliciousness. For a main to take my thoughts away from dessert for awhile is quite an achievement. I also remember declaring that I would be quite happy just having a separate serving of Luke's potato rosti for dessert...and you know I don't give up the idea of sugar lightly! But speaking of sugar, the mood lighting (read: not ideal for sneaky iPhone photos!) does not do my dessert justice. Rich miniature pyramids of chocolate/peanut mousse with a light crunch to the centre, surrounded by chocolate/biscuit `dirt' and light almost palate cleansing segments of strawberry cream...a gorgeous way to finish the meal. Also, I've never seen Luke so smitten with a steak...he's still talking about it three days later. We've already decided we have to go back...we're just devising who to bring with us, and when...
The Public Inn
Cnr Barker & Mostyn Streets
Design Resources: Paislee Press Woodgrain Months