What All Gastro-Pubs Should Be
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.