We drove into Spa World (Daylesford, country Victoria) and immediately re-visited this terrific establishment for lunch, which we had last been to in 2010. We liked the place so much that we returned a few days later for dinner.
It’s a non-descript wooden edifice on Raglan Street, the main drag that leads into Daylesford proper, but its big windows display the glow of fires and mood lighting. Tables are small and close but expertly configured for privacy. The art is inherently horrendous but suitable as part of the décor. For example, there are two plain black and white pieces that, while suiting the white wall that divides two dining spaces, appear to be taken from a police psychologist’s notebook, subsequent to interviewing an abused child.
Over the course of two meals and many courses, The Varnished Culture had: quail with istra bacon lardons, oyster mushrooms, chestnuts, shallots, endive and a raspberry jus; prawns with fennel, sautéed chard, leek and saffron potatoes (minor grizzle – prawns not in their first full flush of freshness – what would Albert of Sunray say?); Tuscan style spiced beef stew with buttered beans; carpaccio of emu with cheese; spatchcock; pork belly with scallops and foam, washed along with Mount Macedon sparkling white, Hanging Rock Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon, Shays Pyrenees Sangiovese, and Pedro Ximenes (glug). Top notch service and a joint that deserves to thrive.