Since 2004, owner-chef Richard Mee has been plating up modern Australian fare at Mercato. Set on Daylesford’s leafy Raglan Street in an 1864-built timber house, the restaurant champions local produce paired with regional beers and wines.
The name is a nod to the Swiss-Italian ancestry of the area, as well as the melting pot of cultures that fall under the Australian food umbrella.
Local farmers and producers such as Tuki Trout Farm, Glenlyon Chestnuts, Daylesford Organics, Holy Goat Dairy and Istra Smallgoods are the building blocks of the menu. Locals also bring in windfall and excess harvests from their backyards for Mee to transform.
Mee’s playful experimentation and focus on seasonality means the menu is in a constant state of refinement, to find those perfect medleys of sweet or smoky savoury dishes that brim with colour and texture.
You might try seared kangaroo with sweet potato puree, sautéed chard, rhubarb-and-juniper jam and smoky-orange jus; or apple-cider-glazed Western Plain pork loin with creamy lentils, wilted spinach, quince and a white-wine jus.
Save room for dessert. Perhaps the whole-poached pear in spiced mulled wine with saffron custard, lemon balm and candied citrus peel; or a deconstructed lemon-meringue pie.
Explore Daylesford further using our detailed Out of Town to Daylesford guide.