Warm welcome at the Daylesford Steakhouse

July 7th, 2023Warm welcome at the Daylesford Steakhouse

On a recent chill winter’s evening, just after dark, the mellow light that issues from our dining destination – the Daylesford Steakhouse - is warm and inviting.

Words & images: Eve Lamb

On a recent chill winter’s evening, just after dark, the mellow light that issues from our dining destination – the Daylesford Steakhouse – is warm and inviting.

My worthy dining companion, Paddy H, and I climb the small flight of polished wooden stairs to enter this central Vincent Street eatery – and thaw out.

At the top of the stair we’re warmly welcomed by the venue’s manager, Mike, and by the equally warming wood smoke aroma that can only mean a real log fire is present. In fact, Mike tells us, there are two fires on site to warm diners, and we can seat ourselves beside either, he suggests.

Whether you’re a carnivore or not, the Steakhouse gets full marks, straight up, for ambience. The lights are soft. The background music likewise, and the log fire that I strategically place myself beside, makes this a top spot to while away an extremely pleasant few hours. Particularly at this time of year.

Mike informs us that the new winter menu is just out – and we take our time perusing it over a generous glass of Geelong region pinot.

Now, let’s be clear, this is a steak house. It takes its steaks seriously. All of the Steakhouses’ steaks are local 100 percent pasture-fed Black Angus Beef, hormone and antibiotic free, the house literature tells us.

The menu contains an illustrated guide to ordering your steak, char grilled to your specific taste, with options ranging from “blue rare” to “well done” all technically detailed.

The char grilled steaks are, as you’d expect, a feature of the menu. The “standard house cuts” include Petite Mignon (200g), Eye Fillet (300g), Sirloin (400g), Scotch (400g), Highland Rump (400g), T-Bone (800g) and Cote de Boeuf (900g), and every steak comes with the diner’s choice of side and sauce.

Options for sides include: Grilled Asparagus, Stuffed Mushroom, Rosemary and Pumpkin Dauphinoise and more. Options for sauces include Truffle Sauce, Peppercorn, Béarnaise, Garlic Butter and more, while additional steak toppers include King Prawns, Grilled Vic Lobster Tail, Grilled Balmain Bugs – and more.

And If the standard house cuts don’t “meat” diner’s requirements, the menu suggests that they “see board for larger steaks cut to order”.

But don’t worry if you’re not a big meat-eater, or even a meat-eater at all. Besides all the multiple vegetable side possibilities, there’s also plenty of seafood options to choose from. These include: Apple Cider Mussels, Stuffed Lobster (half or whole), Atlantic Salmon Steak, Grilled Seafood Platter and Lobster and Seafood Pasta – to name some.

For starters I go with the Panko Funky Brie ($19). It’s crisply fried on the exterior and deliciously melted within, accompanied by a Tomato and Mango Chutney.

Paddy, recounting that his mother used to be a dab hand at making the traditional Scotch egg, nominates the Steakhouse Posh Scotch Egg with Truffle Aioli and Tomato Relish ($25) for starters and, on sampling, declares it to reward with “nostalgic” flavour.

For mains Paddy opts for the Petite Mignon ($59) with Garlic Butter and a side of Broccoli and Bacon. The steak arrives swiftly, criss-crossed with char grill sear lines and the aroma of hot coals. Paddy declares it “Spot on! Beautifully tender”.

I go for the Apple Cider Mussels with Tomato, Butter, Mustard, Parsley and Dipping Fries ($39) as a main. While the menu informs that they come with dipping fries, my gluten intolerance is obligingly accommodated and, instead, mine is arranged to come with a locally grown, baked and deep-fried spud, which proves particularly satisfying. As to the mussels – the serve is generous and pops an instant and transportive taste of the sea.

When it comes to desserts ($16), Mike highlights the ‘Disco’ Crepes Suzette as a flambéed house speciality. Other possibilities include the Salted Caramel Fried Ice Cream Bombe, the Classic Affogato, or the Cheese Plate – Blue and Brie with Relish. But Paddy is a self-confessed cheese cake nut who once confided that, if on death row, he’d select cheesecake as his last mortal crumb. So no surprises that it’s the New York option here for him.

I’m very tempted by the Ultimate Choc Fudge Sundae – containing “nuts and awesomeness”. How could you not be? But my gluten sensitivity compels me to instead select the Vanilla Crème Brulee, a dessert choice that (I may have mentioned) I always find hard to ignore. This one has a really home-made, delicate quality beneath its crunchy toffeed top. Both desserts are accompanied by the Steakhouse signature “glorious whipped ‘schlag’ vanilla bean ice cream” … and following their arrival, are rapidly transformed into sweet memories.

It should be mentioned, here, that one of the ‘house attractions is the100-plus different cocktails – “and if there’s a cocktail that you really like and we haven’t got it, we’ll have a go at making it,” Mike mentions.

It’s true to say that we’re sorry to have to leave the warm embrace of our respective club chairs beside the log fire, but this place is clearly popular and, with a degree of difficulty, we bid its mellow ambience farewell. Until next time.

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