Dining Review: Farmer’s Daughters – Melbourne
Selecting restaurants in Melbourne was an impossible challenge. It was like picking one restaurant in New York City – it is not feasible to investigate every option available. Farmer’s Daughters had appeared on several “top lists” and was well rated. This farm to table restaurant focuses on the region of Gippsland which extends up the coast of Victoria using sourced items to create the their changing menu.
The restaurant expands multiple levels with a deli on the first floor (which we were very tempted to dine at), a rooftop bar, and the restaurant itself in the middle. Since we were early for our reservation (thanks jet lag), we grabbed a tablet at the rooftop bar enjoying the view.
Shortly after, we made our way to the restaurant floor and immediately loved the interior. Open kitchen with woof stove, elegant farm decor, and perfectly arranged place settings. We were seated at the high table that connects to the kitchen which gave us a great view of the action. It is so fun to observe the intricacies and mechanics of a working kitchen. Along with the tasting menu, we decided to do the wine pairings as well to explore the region.
Gippsland Getaway Menu
Smoked Terramirra Park venision, broccoli cream, lemon myrtle
Wine pairing with this dish was vermouth. This was the dish that was actually being assembled right in front of us all night so it was fun to get to taste it. The flavors in here were so awesome – this is what you want vegetables to be all day, every day. The venision was well prepared and actually did not overpower the dish. The charred broccoli and broccoli cream were delicious and really stood out in the dish. What a great start to the evening!
Farmer’s Daughters soda bread, cultured cream
You know we love our bread and having a soda bread was an interesting selection – one I do not think we have had before in this capacity. The soda bread was fresh and surprisingly not too heavy. The butter was divine like it was churned right before it was served and had a blast of large salt crystals on top.
Baked Baw Alpine trout, mountain pepper cream, trout cavier
The wine pairing was a Savagnin which is a grape we had never heard of before.Based on the description, I did not expect to like this dish. And thank goodness I was wrong! This smoked trout was surprisingly wonderful. I enjoy smoked salmon and I forget that other smoked fish would be equally enjoyable. The creamy sauce went well with the fish. This dish was a bit heavy on the dill and the pepper so I could have done with half of what was on the plate.
Lakes Entrance Dory, oyster mushroom and tomato
Wine pairing for this dish was a Reserve Chardonnay. I was surprised to see another fish dish and another large portion at that. I could tell we were going to be exceptionally full at the end of this meal. Once again, the fish preparation surprised me and I really enjoyed the dish. The fish was mild with a good texture. The rest of the dish was fresh and complemented the fish.
Grilled Rabbit, Pink Fir Apple, mustard, leek chutney
Wine pairing was a 2014 Pinot Noir, very special! This course was an extra dish that could be added and we decided to share it. We took one bite and were so happy we got this dish. The rabbit actually reminded us of a pork belly – it was tender, it had a little fat on it, it was succulent. We also adore leeks so the sauce here was welcomed. Definitely our favorite savory course of the meal.
Dry age O’Conner rib eye, ox tongue, roasted onion, purple diakon
Wine pairing was a Shiraz which was not too shocking for the meat course. By the time we got to this course, we were extremely full. And to see enormous pieces of meat on the plate was a bit overwhelming! The rib eye was perfectly seasoned and cooked with a char on the outside and rare on the inside which left the meat incredibly tender and flavorful. The jus was complementary to the meat which was perfect to let the meat shine. There was no way I could finish the dish which I felt bad about because it was very good but I could have used a third of the portion on the plate and I would have been happy.
Lemon myrtle mashmellow, Cuvee white chocolate, goat’s milk, sorrel
The after dinner drink for the dessert course was an Australian baileys. This dessert was fantastic! It was light but each component was delicious – the marshmellow, the goat’s milk, the white chocolate – yum! The quality of the ingredients here were really showcased and it was a great way to end the meal.
What a great meal to start our time not just in Melbourne but in Australia! Farmer’s Daughters did a great job using the local ingredients found throughout Gippsland. The portions in both food and wine were very generous for a tasting of this size. The wines were all creative and bottles I know we cannot get at home so it was special to get to experience these. Not that it is a bad thing, but the wine portions were certainly on the fuller side for a multi-course tasting. The same could be applied to the food – the dishes could have actually have less portions of the meat and fish. Each course having a protein is a bit much especially in the serving sizes. Again, too much food is not necessarily a bad thing for a tasting menu, but it would have been good to have seen a wider variety of ingredients to showcase. The service was wonderful and the team there did amazing work!