Friday, July 12, 2013

A birthday treat

Because my beloved is super, awesome, cool and knows I like all things related to food, day spas and surprises, he whisked me away to Daylesford to celebrate my 30th birthday weekend. I was pampered all weekend long (it was like 48 hours straight of eating, drinking, massage and sleep - I kid you not!) and thought I'd share some of the food highlights.

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.

Kazuki's on Urbanspoon

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!

Wombat Hill House on Urbanspoon

Our afternoon snack was courtesy of the Chocolate Mill - vanilla ice-cream topped with beautifully tempered, dark spiced chocolate. Umm.... yum!!

Chocolate Mill on Urbanspoon

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?

Darmagi on Urbanspoon


  1. what a lucky girl you are! Looks like the perfect getaway to me :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa - I felt very pampered! There's not much that's better in life than good food and relaxation, that's for sure :)

  2. Happy birthday! That looks like such a lovely weekend - spa treatments and delicious food, what a perfect treat! :)

    1. Thank you, Sarah - it was a wonderful treat indeed!!

  3. Looks fantastic! I'm planning a trip to Daylesford soon :)

    1. Oooh - how exciting! Let me know if you'd like any recommendations for places to stay or eat at and things to do - am a massive Daylesford fan (if that wasn't half obvious! :P )