I don't always know where David gets ideas to do things, but they're almost always great ideas and he's always well informed and organized with information.
One day in December, he suggested we go to the Dandenongs and eat at a restaurant out that way and provided me with a few suggestions to investigate.
Shortly after on a overcast, almost foggy and cool morning (exactly my type of morning), I found myself driving over to David's residence, picking him up with aplomb on his birthday and continued driving just to the edge of the gorgeous Dandenong region.
The presence of an abundance of ferns and lush greenery was a very soothing and tranquil change from the rush of the city. Although it's quite amazing how much space there is between everything here, the address is 2 Kallista-Emerald Road. We turned on to the road and saw house number 1. Awesome. Kept driving.
And kept driving.
And kept driving.
Did we miss it? We looked quizzically at each other as I drove (not the whole time, I am a good driver!) and just as David was going to call to ask for the exact location, we found house number 2.
An absolutely gorgeous rustic little place, with a working fireplace for those colder afternoons and a very warming tone of orange painted on the walls, it was very cosy. There were tables outside on the verandah and quite a number of tables inside as well, naturally David and I pounced onto a table near the window with gorgeous ambient lighting.
Around the corner in the room with the fireplace, they have a collection of gorgeous old auction house books and old books in general. Really kind of makes me want to come up in winter and settle down with a nice cuppa tea....
I bought David a Thylacine from Tasmania.
We called him Bobo.
I wasn't particularly impressed with my chai latte, the milk was really bumpy and lumpy, although otherwise the flavour wasn't too bad...
We felt quite gluttonous. As always. And decided we would get an entree to share to start, the duck, apple and brandy terrine with home made relish. And a couple of super crunchy crostini to have it on top of. Mmm, delish.
It was a medley of gorgeously subtle flavours, a bit sweet, but savoury. And I think the terrine was dotted with pistachio's in it as well, which I really liked, the nuttiness went surprisingly well and added a bit of texture to the whole thing. And oh my god. Relish. So sweet and tomato-y and everything I love.
I think I remember reading on another blog somewhere that if you really want to test out a restaurant's food, you shouldn't go for the specials. Whilst specials are probably a nice way to inject some variety into the menu for regulars, they can be a bit dicey since it's not what the kitchen is well practiced in.
Should have applied that little rule here. Whilst initially this atlantic salmon special with broccolini (love!) on a bed of vegetable (or herb, I can't remember now) risotto sounded quite delicious and looked absolutely amazing in front of me with it's punchy and vivacious colours, it was actually a bit of a let down. The skin was quite crispy and the glaze (I assume) over the exterior of the fish made it quite tasty, which was a plus, but the overall serve of salmon was quite dry on the inside and the risotto was...not really a risotto. The consistency of it reminded me more of a chinese rice porridge that's commonly had for breakfast. A little bit soupy. And the rice grains were kind of mushy in my opinion.
So whilst not quite what I expected, the flavours in the risotto still wasn't too bad, but it really was not a highlight.
Thankfully though, David's main was a lot better and ordered from the regular menu. Duck two ways, in a duck pie and...confit with a wine sauce? Maybe? I can't remember. Yeek. But it was, yummy, yummy, yummy. The flavours from both variations of duck were just rich and decadent, the puff pastry on the pie was light and fluffy. The sliced duck was just so beautifully cooked and oh so tender. When we swapped plates for a bit, I was very, very reluctant to return his plate, but would feel a little bit bad if I stole all his food.
So I was good and gave it back. This time.
But then we visited the cake display.
And I was bad.
And this materialized onto our table.
A vanilla slice. With a bit of passionfruit. I found it a tad chewy on the top but otherwise, it was just sweet and delicious. With a bit of puff pastry sandwiched somewhere in between there which gave it quite an interesting texture. It probably didn't need the icing sugar dusted over the top, but hell, if we're going to do dessert, we may as well do this sugar thing properly!
And to finish up, a "Storm in a Cup" peppermint tea to help...digest, as I slunk back in my chair and oozed away in my post-gluttony. The "Storm in a Cup" tea bags are quite a cute concept, acting as essentially, a spoon that infuses your tea leaves for you. So you can infuse and then stir with the teabag. I've seen them once before, but they never seemed to take off. Still quite novel though.
Popular with the locals, and especially the dogs, there was a gorgeous German Shepard and Burmese Mountain Dog who were outside with their owners and were treated to raw King Island chunks of meat! Spoilt! And hey, so were we, other than the salmon special, all the dishes we had were quite lovely and the staff were so friendly and accommodating. I felt very much at home and could have sat there all day quite contently.
We decided to finish our meal we would take Bobo on a little walk in the lush forestry....