Ok ... we've been down by the Campaspe before ... this is rich mining country ... and what better way to indulge in all this country luxuriousness then by having an enriching lunch at one of Kyneton's finest - Annie Smithers Bistrot & Produce.
After falling in love with Kyneton's charms way back in 07, and after 2 failed successive attempts at getting in, the Royal George has been on our "to visit" list but recent reviews have made us pause with eraser in hand. We decided to try somewhere else instead, and Annie Smithers with its kitchen garden/local produce remit looked a very inviting alternative.
Now I do love menus with single price points (although this could give the old hip pocket a grand mal seizure sometimes) - here at Annie's its $19.50 for entrees, $36.00 for Mains and $16.50 for sweets. So not the cheapest of options, but let me tell you that it has been a long time since I have had a "fine" dining experience as memorable as this.
Perhaps it was the wintery light outside, or the warm heating vent we were sat next to, or perhaps it was the no fuss cleanness of the interior, but I was ready to forgive the slight "tude" we got by the maitre'd, and we settled into a lovely 2 hours of gastronomic bliss. It is a good thing when a restaurant smells beautiful when you walk in the door ... believe me there are many places that don't!!
We decided to forgo starters for sweets and headed straight to mains. M decided on the pork - "brined and grilled western plains pork sirloin, garden honey carrots, savoy cabbage, mustard.
The pork was Orgasmic!!! M reckons it was the best pork he has ever had, and I am inclined to agree. It was moist as if it had been braising for a long time, the fat was just melt in the mouth goodness, yet it had the smoky charred flavour and the criss cross patterns of a grill. And seasoned well!! Damn! You need to try this. The cabbage and mustard "jus" were perfect compliments to the savoury pork ... yes savoury ... not sweet!
I ordered the duck - "free range corn fed duck, pommes sarladaise, cavolo nero, seville orange". I love cavolo nero!! And it was served crispy and with the cubes of charred potato formed the base on which my oh so very sweet and succulent duck rested on. OMG! Oh my god?! Seriously! You need to come and eat here. Annie has got some great culinary chops!!
After imibibing a few amazing glasses of red, all sourced locally, including a killer Pinot Noir (2007) from Mount Gisborne and an amazing Syrah from Cobaw Ridge, it was time for dessert.
M jumped on the lemon suet pudding served with garden lime cream and creme fraiche ... because (a) its lemon ... and (b) hello its suet!!! This was a touch too lemony for my liking, and really what with the lime cream, it was astringency gone mad, but by all accounts (ok just one) it was scrumptious.
My Snow Eggs (or ouefs a la neige ... RAHther!) served with spiced custard and orange jellies were to die for!! Unless of course you're not a fan of eggy custard, or jelly for that matter.
What a great way to finish a meal. Having peaked into the kitchen and giving thanks to Annie herself, we braced the icy cold and walked to Ganims Market Fresh market store to stock up on some country baked goodies, ended up at Monsieur Pierre and spent too much on French blue, goats cheese and the yummiest crusty french loaf ever ... darling!