After acquiring some prime real estate skirting Daylesford’s tranquil lake in 1979, Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker set about clearing the swampy surrounds to build their restaurant. Now the stringybarks and Russian silver birches Alla planted as seedlings now tower overhead.
The award-winning restaurant has since grown to include accommodation, a day spa and cooking school. There’s also a small kitchen garden and young fruit orchard on the six-acre property.
Allan acts as the artist-in-residence. His bleary, semi-abstract landscapes are hung about the buildings and his studio is open to visitors.
Alla, the head chef, is particularly supportive of local producers. She founded Daylesford Macedon Produce, a collective of likeminded farmers, producers and restaurateurs. Her menu champions the provenance of its ingredients – free-range eggs from Limestone Farms, Murray cod from Loddon Valley Cod, chicken from Milking Yard Farm, and Sher Waygu beef.
Dishes such as the carpaccio of kingfish with spanner crab, lime, mint, jalapeno and green gazpacho are carefully assembled, wooing the eye and the appetite equally. Seasonality is naturally apparent, with autumn delivering dishes such as roasted quail smoked with pine needles, truffle butter, pumpkin and chestnuts.
The wine cellar holds an impressive 12,000 bottles, and also acts as a function space – guests are given blankets to keep cosy in the 18°C den.