Ahh, the Gastro-Pub. I don't much go for that phrase. Too often it seems to
me to be code for a pub with a kitchen, and delusions of grandeur. The Farmers Arms
in Daylesford, about an hour and a half out of Melbourne, does not fall into that
category. Nor, however, does the kitchen at The Farmers Arms turn out intricate, overly complicated,
intimidating cuisine. This is simple food, done very very well. In some cases, almost
The restaurant is situated to the rear of the old red-brick pub, which from the outside
is decidedly underwhelming. The dining room has been renovated somewhat since
my last visit several years ago, and now has significantly more light than previously.
The wine list is reasonably comprehensive, and the markups are not too bad either.
Service is competent, although sometimes not as polished as it could be.
I'm actually not going to go through all the food and experiences as I normally do,
I'll just put the photos up and you can assume they all tasted good (because they
did). What I am going to do is wax lyrical about one dish in particular.
Look at it. Sitting there on a bed of polenta, surrounded by rich jus, field mushrooms
and shallots. Topped with fresh leaves and thin slices of red onion. It's not daring.
It's not avant-garde. It's just happy to be what it is. That, for me, is the definition
of comfort food. This was a very special piece of cow. And that was even before I'd tasted it.
Cooked to absolute perfection (rare, in both senses of the word),
The Farmers Arms Hotel served me one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. It
wasn't cheap ($40), but aged on the premises and prepared with such care it was worth
That's all I'm going to say. This is serious comfort food with a capital C. Dayelsford
is usually cold, and if it's dark and rainy too then so much the better. I like nothing
more than eating a good meal with a bottle of red when it's positively miserable outside.
I can think of few better places to do just that than here.
11:07am Mon, 3rd Aug, 2009
One of the best steaks, perhaps, but Rockpool and Vlado's are still better, I think. Mind you, they're also significantly dearer, so they bloody well ought to be. Wanted to reinforce your mention of the wine list: really reasonably priced (typically only about 20% markup) and focussed on good Australian producers. Follows the "no bull" approach of the food, which is a good thing. Great night.
06:00pm Fri, 1st Jan, 2010
We had the pleasure of dining at the Farmers Arms last night, New Years Eve '09 with friends who came especially from Melbourne. To be honest, I thought this would be another overpriced and overrated evening. Well the kitchen delivered, in fact everything was exceptional. The chef's attention to detail on such a busy night left us in awe. Highly recommend to all.
05:35pm Sat, 9th Jan, 2010
Glad to hear it's still humming along! Will have to head up that way soon for another good steak...
12:04am Wed, 3rd Mar, 2010
Had the steak last night at the farmers arms,this was off the bar menu,certainly one of the best steaks I have eaten,the 2 standout steaks I have had have both been in Australia and both been in the victorian goldfields