Experience No.039 in Australian Traveller’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences
In the future, when food historians attempt to trace the rise of Australia’s great regional restaurants to a point in time, they will arrive at 1984. This is when the daughter of Russian immigrants opened a restaurant next to Victoria’s manmade Lake Daylesford that would launch a thousand more.
The Lake House menu will always be driven by Alla Wolf-Tasker’s gregarious and immigrant personality, rousing The Good Food Guide to declare that “it’s her playful spirit you can sense in the food”.
Alla Wolf-Tasker is somewhat singlehandedly responsible for Victoria’s reputation for great regional restaurants, as it all started with her Lake House. The restaurant and subsequent luxury hotel have successfully drawn weary Melburnian foodies from the city to relax and rejuvenate by the lake for the past 25 years by continually surpassing expectations.
The food and menu is seasonal, reflecting local produce. And this is not merely lip service, as Alla has been reflecting the seasonal produce of her beloved Daylesford for a quarter century.
For clarity, when Alla started out, Dan Hunter was an 11-year-old and the Bank of Australia building at Beechworth was derelict and waiting for Michael Ryan.
At Lake House, the dining room itself is a mix of Wolf-Tasker’s husband’s art and jazz on the inside, and a magnificent balcony with views of the lake on the outside. The vista is so totally mesmerising that many guests have taken a luxury suite and left the drive back to Melbourne for another day. The entire feel is more comfortable sophistication than formal and matches the surrounds perfectly.
The menu will always be driven by Wolf-Tasker’s gregarious and immigrant personality, rousing The Good Food Guide to declare that “it’s her playful spirit you can sense in the food”.
Where: 4 King St, Daylesford Vic. (03) 5348 3329, www.lakehouse.com.au
Did you know: The Lake House site, on top of an old goldmine, was for sale for ten years before Allan and a pregnant Alla were “crazy” enough to buy it. The abandoned, red back-infested cars were part of the purchase.