Dessert Correspondents

A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog

Whirrakee

Whirrakee strikes gold, showcasing the best of regional fine dining.

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Our experience

Whirrakee – the setting

Country dining is often uninspiring, conjuring up images of dusty taverns or rowdy pubs, where day-tripping city-slickers are stared at upon entrance. However, in a few pockets of Victoria, pass long highway drives, bumpy gravel roads, verdant vineyards, golden wheat fields, sleepy townships, a few well-kept secrets may be found. Whirrakee is one such secret. Conveniently positioned and with lovely views (if you are fortunate to be seated near the long windows, as MoMo & Coco were), over the intersection of Pall Mall, Rosalind Park and the beautiful grecian Alexandra Fountain, the inconspicuous frontage of Whirrakee opens out into a rather grand venue with towering ceilings, gothic chandeliers, and ornate rosettes and cornices. Tables are draped in heavy linens, laid out in a contemporary style in clean lines of white, butter cream and dark woods.

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MoMo & Coco visited during a bustling Easter weekend, for a unique festival that celebrated Bendigo’s European and Chinese ancestry. From the Modern European/Australian prix fixe lunch menu ($30pp), our party selected for mains, a pan-seared baby snapper delicately finished with fennel purree, sauce vierge and herbs; a moist chicken ballotine stuffed with istra bacon, pistachio nut and rosemary and served with sides of whipped potato and frisee salad; and also, slow braised beef cheeks perched on a wintery lentil stew. MoMo & Coco then cast our big beady eyes on the four-item menu of irresistibles and selected two irresistibles for the two of our party who did not have entrees.

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Bypassing the oft-seen panna cotta and the light parfait option on the prix fixe menu, we selected two irresistibles that also feature on the a la carte menu. The first irresistible sampled was the “Gingerbread Cake,” served in two small but thick wedges, with a rectangular slice of roasted golden pineapple on the top, and a round dollop of tangy cheesecake mousse placed at the centre of the plate to cut through the pool of  star anise syrup.

Whirrakee – the “Gingerbread Cake with Cheesecake Mousse”

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The second irresistible was the “Expression of Valrhona Chocolate 2 ways” - big smiles for a dessert of two irresistibles for the price of one - YAY!. The first on this plate was a darkly-toned chocolate creme brulee. Small raspberries lay at the bottom, and the more mousse-like texture of the creme brulee was mixed in with what seemed to be strong taste of grand marnier and/or rum. The second irresistible on this plate was a luxurious chocolate interpretation of a mille feuille, minus the pastry layers. Decorated with crystalised orange candy, it consisted of a top layer of Valrhona chocolate ganache, a second layer of hazlenut mousse, followed by another layer of rich Valrhona chocolate, and a final base layer  of breathtaking chocolate cake…hmmmm…irresistible…

Whirrakee – the first “Expression of Valrhona Chocolate”

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Whirrakee – the second “Expression of Valrohna Chocolate”

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Our verdict

Whirrakee strikes gold, showcasing the best of regional fine dining, and of an emerging trend in contemporary country cuisine — simple, elegant food, highlighted by fresh produce, complemented by professional service, in a setting without the hustle and bustle of CBD dining, but with a rich history and a culinary story to tell.

  • Dessert adventure checklist
  1. Dessert destination: Whirrakee Restaurant, 17 View Point, Bendigo, Vic 3350.
  2. Budget: $$$.
  3. Sweet irresistibles: Restaurant dessert. Neo-classical European.
  4. Must-eat: The “Expression of Valhrona Chocolate 2 Ways.”
  5. The short and sweet story: Whirrakee strikes gold, showcasing the best of regional fine dining.
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