We arrived just in time for dinner at Kazuki's on Friday evening. The restaurant aims to team the owner's Japanese heritage with locally sourced produce. The meal was lovely. We started with the light and refreshing Yasai no moriawase (literal translation: a shitload of yummy stuff on a plate) and moved onto spatchcock and pork belly mains. There were liberal pourings of sake, which took me straight back to Japan and got me all excited about our forthcoming trip.
Yasai no moriawase (please excuse the poor lighting!)
The food was great, but just not quite special enough to make us stay for dessert. I can't quite put my finger on it - flavours were subtle and well thought out and the ambiance and service were excellent. Maybe we were just in the mood for more hearty, winter cuisine on such a cold night...I just don't know. For me, Kazuki's doesn't quite match other local, similarly priced establishments like Mercato or Darmagi, but is still definitely worth a visit.
Our next eating highlight was courtesy of Wombat Hill House, which I've blogged about previously. My beloved and I don't like to order the same dish, but neither of us were able to fathom foregoing the breakfast pizza, so we agreed to be "different" by ordering one with bacon and one without (genius, right?!).
As usual, outstanding food and a great, relaxed feel!
Our afternoon snack was courtesy of the Chocolate Mill - vanilla ice-cream topped with beautifully tempered, dark spiced chocolate. Umm.... yum!!
Because we weren't full enough, dinner was booked at Darmagi. I must have driven past Darmagi fifty times since its establishment (it's been there for well over two years!), but had never noticed the minimalist eatery nestled in the heart of Hepburn Springs. As soon as we walked into the place, we were treated like old friends. I have never dined anywhere where I felt as genuinely welcomed as at Darmagi. Not only were the waiters delightful, but the kitchen staff were open to a chat too (thanks to a very cool open kitchen set up).
At a dollar a pop, my beloved couldn't go past half a dozen oysters to start. I went for some absolutely beautiful prosciutto. Both were incredible (even if the hairy arm in the above turns you off, take my word on that!).
Mains were stunning - beautifully refined comfort food - a lamb ragout pasta for me and a slow cooked beef cheek for my beloved (the latter unfortunately was not captured on film).
Dessert came in the form of tiramisu. My beloved has a pretty high tiramisu benchmark. He reckons he's never had any tiramisu (even in Italy!) that comes close to that made by my mum (my non-Italian mum, I should add). This dish was as close to tira-perfection as either of us have had and was washed down by more grappas than I'd like to admit.
Darmagi was well and truly the dining highlight of our time away. The food was sensational, the restaurant flawless and the staff simply outstanding. What more could a girl ask for to kick off her third decade?