Monday, January 14, 2013


After a glorious trip to the beach with Alex and Harry, we made our way back to my parents to get ready for dinner - mum and dad had booked a table at one of their favourite local restaurants in celebration of our recent news. When I was growing up in regional Australia, good restaurants like you find in major capital cities were pretty much non-existent. But this is certainly not the case anymore. 

The Barn lies on the outskirts of Mount Gambier and hosts one of the finest steak restaurants you're likely to visit. Run by the Cleves family - who have heritage on the property dating back to 1877 - the steak that is served in the restaurant comes from cattle that's bred and finished on the families local farms. It's details like this that I just love, especially when the experience turns out to be such a positive one. 

You can tell that a great deal of pride and care has gone into this place and our meal, along with the charming decor and ambience, tops the list for me when it comes to out-of-town dining experiences. And believe me, I've had too many to count! (A rule of thumb for me is: if it's not worth raving about to friends, it's not worth a mention on my blog!) Let's get moo-ving with the pictures, shall we?

The Barn is surrounded by magnificent lawns and also hosts a recently revamped hotel and function spaces. I was so impressed I suggested my sister have her wedding reception here!

Once we'd settled at our table, Alex and I decided we'd be the lone drinkers that night. Alex went for the Mojito, I had a Caprioska:

When I reviewed my pictures from the night, most of them turned out too blurry to even contemplate posting here! We started with bruschetta (the chef imagines up a new recipe for the topping each day) and deliciously fresh Smoky Bay oysters. Pretty much everyone ordered steak that night - it was a sure thing and pleased everyone enormously. Here's Dad's plate - with a bunch of trimmings. (That cabbage salad was incredible!)

I bucked the trend and ordered prosciutto wrapped chicken. Stuffed with spinach and fetta, it was finished with a gorgeous white wine, herb and dijon sauce and served with creamy mash and asparagus. Mmm Mmm!

Now, this is the part where you have to find it in your heart to forgive me for posting such a poor quality picture. You'll thank me for it, though - this is a seriously gooey chocolate pudding! This is the best thing that has ever been served in teacup and I need to make this at home one day!

James was conservative and went for the Affogato. The espresso and frangelico came in separate glasses so you could tailor it to your own tastes. 

After our meal, we had a short stroll through the property before heading home. 

We were hideously (and uncharacteristically) good that night, changing into our exercise clothes and going for a long walk around the Blue Lake (it's the bluest lake you'll ever set eyes upon) to work off our dinner. 

So, tell me, have you had any delightful out-of-town dining experiences? Anything I might like to visit as part of a weekend away?

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