August 28th, 2022The bistro is back at the Daylesford Bowlo
THE new chef at the Daylesford Bowling Club Bistro, Lenny Giri, has a philosophy which is that food is the way to healthier living if it’s made with soulful dedication and emotions.
I don’t know about that but I do know that the food we had last Friday was just fantastic. And if that happens as part of Lenny’s mantra, that’s fine by me.
First up, don’t worry, all your bowlo favourites are still there. Fish and chips ($26), chicken parmigiana ($28), chicken schnitzel ($24) or the classic spaghetti bolognaise ($24).
But Lenny has brought his cooking knowledge – we’re talking William Angliss training, and 20+ years’ experience – now we’re talking Embassy@97 in St Kilda, the Phoenix Hotel in Geelong, Strange Concept in Beaumaris and Donovans in St Kilda, to the region. He’s also worked alongside the master chefs, literally, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.
Last Friday we left the menu choices up to Lenny, and he did not disappoint. We started with three entrees – I know, but it was out of our hands – and all three were fantastic.
First up were Polenta Fat Chips ($18) – crunchy, golden, shallow fried squares with vegan flakes and dried rosemary with two dipping sauces, one with a nice hit of heat. Just yum. Next was Chicken Tikka ($19) – a great dish with three pieces of flame-grilled tender-as chicken accompanied by a crisp rice pappadum, raita and a coriander root dressing. The third entree was Risotto ($26) – perfectly cooked rice with a trio of mushrooms, truffle, vegan cheese and a fig balsamic glaze. Now, having lived in Japan, I don’t usually like risotto, but this was good, really good.
While we ate we chatted to manager Neil, a really friendly bloke, who has ably steered the club through Covid, keeping ties with the club’s members and the local community, making sure tourists feel welcome, getting Dolly’s Disco Bingo happening again on Thursdays, and now having Lenny at the helm of the bistro.
It can’t have been an easy job but Neil always has a smile and a friendly hello for everyone – and that smile is even more ready with Lenny taking over the bistro operations. But back to the food.
Just when you didn’t think it could get any better, the mains arrived. Yep, three again. Lenny is nothing if not generous! Now the first one, off the specials’ menu, sounds simple enough, BBQ Pork Stirfry ($28) but it is a complex dish swooning with flavours – chow mein noodles in a Cantonese style dish with loads of rich pork pieces, vegies and a hint of sweetness. Kyle loved this – and I am pretty sure he loaded his plate three times.
The second was Canadian scallops ($19.50) – served in their shells with a housemade sweet chilli jam after being shallow pan fried. I do love scallops and these are just pops of deliciousness.
Finally, Lenny brought out his signature dish, just named Salmon ($34). A lovely piece of Atlantic salmon with crispy skin atop a perfectly executed bearnaise sauce with scallops and latke – a crispy, grated potato and zucchini fritter. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. You can see it in the image below left, where you also see the wonderful views the Daylesford Bowling Club has to offer. What’s not to love?
We are full and happy. Friday is deadline day but it has become “the world is lovely day” and we sit back and sip on a wine and beer and enjoy the view. And then Lenny returns to our table with a Creme Brulee ($18).
We smack the toffee open and suddenly the day has become “can this get any better” and we share a spoon to take turns at this dish of deliciousness. If you see any white space in The Local this edition – blame Lenny. Sometimes you just need to kick back and enjoy life.
Words: Donna Kelly | Images: Kyle Barnes