Lazy days in Kyneton, Victoria.

Kyneton is a small and sleepy town, with the locals all know one another and can be seen pulled over on opposite sides of the road and hanging out of their respective car windows having a gab. With a little time before dinner, we soaked in the Winter sun at Monsieur Pierre while enjoying a raspberry and coconut slice and their signature Gypsy spice hot chocolate. Now, I’ve never really understood the fascination with chilli chocolate but now may have been converted with a simple sip of this drink. Rich, thick chocolate liquid with a slight spice lingering on the tongue – an ideal pick me up after a long drive.

Gypsy spice hot chocolate with a raspberry and coconut slice

Monsieur Pierre
143 Mollison St
Kyneton VIC 3444
(03) 5422 1136

Mon to Fri 6:30am – 6pm
Sat & Sun 8am – 4pm

The reason for our trip to Kyneton was to celebrate a milestone together. We’ve never been the present-giving type, preferring to indulge our senses and enjoy a little getaway over anything else. Anything to take us from the reality of the day to day working grind. Originally, we thought of heading back to Tasmania (too lazy) or Beechworth for Michael Ryan’s The Provenance (closed in August), so eventually we decided to drive out to Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges for Annie Smithers. Annie Smithers came highly recommended from my sister who rated it as one of her favourite dining experiences in Australia. It is a familiar, warm and inviting space and the staff are as equally charming.

We are looked after by one half of the team behind Annie Smithers, Michelle, while the other half of the team, Tim, mans the kitchen. Upon her recommendation, we order a bottle of the 2010 Pinot Noir from Cobaw Ridge, situated just thirty minutes out of town.

A complimentary starter of parsnip and fennel soup with goats cheese was an excellent stimulant to get our appetites going.

Parsnip and fennel soup with goats cheese (complimentary)

I was intrigued by the idea of lamb brains and couldn’t help myself ordering it for my entrée. While there didn’t have a distinct or prominent offal flavour to it, it’s all about the contrast of the crisp exterior and smooth and creamy texture inside. The celeriac and apple remoulade lifting from the creaminess of the brains and shards of pancetta providing just the right amount of saltiness.

Hazelnut crumbed lamb brains, celeriac & apple remoulade, pancetta and garden rocket ($18)

Mr A’s cheese soufflé would satisfy any cheese lovers’ appetite. Underneath the caramelised crust, a mixture of chewy and oozing Gruyere cheese, perfectly complemented by the fresh nashi and walnut salad, studded with nuggets of pungent gorgonzola.

Twice cooked Gruyere cheese soufflé, nashi, tatsoi, gorgonzola and walnut salad ($18)

The confit duck leg falls apart like any good confit meat should, but the feature is the tender slices of smoked duck breast. With a lovely crisp skin, the flavour of the duck breast is robust and delectable.

Confit free range duck leg, brined & smoked duck breast, parsnip puree, broccoli shoots, witlof, pickled quince, jus, vincotto ($36)

My market fresh snapper lacks the promised crisp skin, but the fish is cooked just right. I couldn’t get enough of the chunky creamed leek sauce which melded beautifully with the sweet flesh of the snapper without overwhelming it.

Market fresh snapper, creamed leek, cauliflower beignets & herb salad ($36)

We neglect to realise that main courses are complemented with a garden salad, but regardless, we are immersed in our mains that both the baby cos salad and garden salad remain mostly untouched.

Baby cos, cabbage, pear & Redesdale walnut salad with sherry vinegar dressing ($9) & house salad

After our years together, I can pretty much guess what Mr A will choose when dessert time comes. Cutting into the chocolate molten pudding, there is no trickle of chocolate liquid which worries us slightly; but our fears are quickly put to rest after a spoonful – rich, gooey and an incredibly light texture that just melts away.

Dark chocolate pudding, honey cream, honey & hazelnut ice cream and hazelnut praline ($16)

My panna cotta is dotted with a plethora of vanilla beans although I’m not completely sold by the combination of the sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet with the heady brandied kumquats – finding the combination almost jarring. Singularly, the elements are fantastic although ultimately, I appreciate the silky panna cotta and the fresh sheeps yoghurt sorbet.

Vanilla bean panna cotta, brandied kumquats, gingerbread & sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet ($16)

Ultimately, our meal and service are both impeccable and we walk out feeling fully satiated and buzzed from our experience.

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