Following part 1 of my unforgettable 2 days at Regional Victoria’s spa town Daylesford and having dinner at the fabulous Farmers Arms, I was ready for another day of good food and good fun. Daylesford isn’t a big town by any means. If you’re looking for a lot to do then you’re probably wrong. But it was very good for relaxing and just spending time away from the city life.
Although I woke up early the second morning, we didn’t end up going out until fairly late as Yuye was asleep like he hadn’t slept in a days. The drive up must have sucked all the gas out of him the poor thing.
So we ended up having brunch at Breakfast and Beer which is highly regarded on Urbanspoon. Situated on the main shopping strip in Daylesford but in the not so busy end, it provides a quiet and comfortable spot for a coffee or brunch. The service here was fantastic, we chatted happily to the waitress while she took our orders and made our coffees. I felt bad though because not long after that, she cut her finger on a broken wine glass and had to go see a doctor. Maybe I brought her bad luck of some sort?
Although my cappuccino and Yuye’s latte did not have beautiful latte art like Manchester Press, the flavour and aroma was there.
I ordered the potato hash brown with field mushrooms, spinach and dukkah for $15. It was a very fresh (although small) dish that tasted fantastic. The home made hash brown was crispy and not at all oily.
Yuye ordered corn fritters with bacon, tomato and avocado salsa for $16. It was more substantial than my dish but I liked mine more. The corn fritters were delicious, crispy and not soggy. Most corn fritters I’ve ordered at restaurants were soggy so this was a good change. Coupled with refreshing tomatoes and avocado, it was not a bad dish.
I didn’t know until I got to Breakfast and Beer but they were actually in the Cheap Eats and Good Food Guide for many years so you can imagine that it’s good enough to woo even harsh critics.
Breakfast and Beer is also open for dinner with a different dinner menu and is probably a better environment for beer which they are popular for.
After brunch, we walked around the few antiques shops near the main round about and saw a few things I really liked but they were all quite expensive. Before I knew it, it was already getting dark. Yuye and I rushed to Lake Daylesford before the sunset. It was truly beautiful, my photos really don’t do it justice.
There were so many cute swans and ducks there grazing on the grass and swimming in the lake. One particular goose was very passionate about my shoes…whenever I walked nearby, it would peck and bite me. Then it followed Yuye and bit his leg, leaving a huge bruise.
After playing with these over friendly birds, we decided to check out a nearby natural spring. It’s not everyday that I come across a natural spring so of course I had to drink from the spring. Now some of you might be imagining beautiful, crystal clear spring water that’s sweet and refreshing. I’m sorry to disappoint but the water was SO rusty that I immediately spat it out after I put it in my mouth. It was the worst tasting water ever. As disappointed as I was.
It was a great shame that we didn’t end up eating at The Lake House. After a lot of thinking, we decided to grab a quick dinner and head back to the villa so we could enjoy our last night at Daylesford and fulling enjoying the spa experience. I will have to leave the Lake House till next time. We ended up having dinner at Rubens which was the closest restaurant (but also quite highly regarded on Urbanspoon) to the villa. We didn’t have a reservation, but for a small place like this I thought I would be ok. I was told that there was only one table left, even though it was only 6pm! It shows just how popular this restaurant is with locals and tourists.
It was quite a formal setting, contrary to my expectations. As I read a lot of good reviews about their pizzas, we ordered one pizza and one pasta between us. The pizza we ordered was the Rubens ($18) which had a tomato base with red onions, Istra chorizo, hot salami, roasted capsicum, marinated baby bocconcini, basil pesto & mozzarella cheese. It sounded like a fantastic pizza which it was, but it didn’t give me that wow factor. I prefer the pizzas at D.O.C more, although they are quite different.
However, we were totally blown away by the salmon fettuccine ($21). It had onion, smoked salmon and capers in a white garlic cream sauce tossed with baby spinach, crashed pepper and fettuccine pasta. I don’t usually order creamy pastas because it’s always too filling and too creamy that it makes me feel bad afterwards. Rubens’ pasta was different. It was light but creamy at the same time and so full of flavour and textures. It was perfectly seasoned and oh so delicious. I just wished it was a big bigger because sharing the dish with Yuye meant I didn’t get to eat that much of it!
We also ordered 2 flavoured mineral waters from Daylesford & Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Co. These drinks are refreshing and beautiful and can be purchased from online or from local suppliers such as Essential Ingredients. However, drinking them in Daylesford is a totally different feeling, plus it’s supporting the local economy. The flavours we ordered that time were pink grapefruit and orange and passionfruit.
After the surprisingly good pasta, we had a fantastic second night at the villa. I didn’t want to leave the next morning but we were running late for horse riding already. I had purchased another coupon for a 2 hour horse riding experience including refreshments afterwards for $55 per person. Although the villa coupon didn’t go as planned, I was very glad that I purchased this coupon.
It was my and Yuye’s first time horse riding. I was a bit scared in the beginning because horses are so big and I wasn’t sure if I could handle them, but after good tutorials from Kieran, who’s in charge of all the horse riding lessons at Hepburn Lagoon Rides, Yuye and I were able to ride quite well, if I do say so myself.
I wasn’t able to take any photos of the riding because I didn’t want to drop my camera so there were only photos when we were at the stable.
Like many farms in the area, there were calves behind the house drinking and grazing. They were so gorgeous.
Kieran provided drinks and food for us afterwards, which consisted of this soft drink:
And very nice focacias.
While Kieran was busy taking some orders, we wandered around what I think was the ‘office’. It was as if time had stopped in that room. Everything was from a prior time, full of character and great for photo taking.
After horse riding, we headed back towards Mebourne. On the way, we stopped over at Daylesford Cider Company.
It was a Friday afternoon and I was surprised there was no one but us. It has a cafe with freshly made food and of course a lot of apple cider to taste and purchase.
We tried the 3 types available – dry, medium and sweet and found that the medium was the best. What sets this cider company apart from others is the fact that no soda is added to the brew. So the ciders are essentially fizzless. Yuye likes ciders this way as the fizz doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the taste and these ciders are not as sweet as other ciders which also make it more refreshing.
We purchased a dozen bottles including a mix of dry, medium and sweet for $78 which then gave us 2 extra bottles for free. The owner gave us a delicious sounding recipe made with their ciders which I will attempt soon, it’s a perfect recipe for these wintery days.
Even though my holiday started badly, I did get a lot of out this trip. I was able to eat a lot of delicious food, meet some amazing people, relax and spa to my heart’s content and went horse riding for the first time. Not bad really. Daylesford was a beautiful regional Victoria town full of history and nature. I loved the rolling hills, the lakes and even the bad tasting spring water.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a few days away, Daylesford is a perfect destination.
Question: Have you ever been horse riding? Are you a beginner or seasoned rider?
Breakfast & Beer
Phone: (03) 5348 1778
117 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Phone: (03) 5348 2843
70 Main Road, Hepburn Springs, VIC 3461
Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides
Phone: (03) 0408 059 125 (contact Kieran)
60 Telegraph Road, Mount Prospect VIC 3364
Daylesford Cider Company
Phone: (03) 5348 1066
145 Dairyflat Rd, Musk VIC 3461