Experience No.046 in Australian Traveller’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences Annie Smithers’ Bistrot is proof that great gourmet experiences are not necessarily prohibitively expensive or tricked up results of a science lab.

The food at this super eatery in Kyneton an hour northwest of Melbourne is quite simply simple. It is unashamedly great provincial French fare where the local produce gets to star in a non-fussy and incredibly satisfying meal.

“Annie Smithers knows more about duck than ducks.” – Peter Russell-Clarke

Set among the antique outlets of the Macedon Ranges, Annie Smithers’ is a bistro, not a restaurant, and probably more comfortable with a café label. The menu features the “greatest hits” of bistro life, with entrée staples of steak tartare or chicken livers progressing into the quintessential bistro offering of duck confit and steak diane.

Having served an apprenticeship with one of the most revered women in Australian food, Stephanie Alexander, Annie Smithers is a stark reminder that a great gourmet experience can be drawn from a simple respect of your produce and tenderness towards its delivery. The last word belongs to panellist Peter Russell-Clarke: “The food here is individually Annie’s, which is clean, fresh, tasty and thoughtful. It’s an exquisite establishment dedicated to good taste in everything – especially Annie’s duck. She knows more about duck than ducks.”

Where: 72 Piper St, Kyneton Vic. (03) 5422 2039, www.anniesmithers.com.au

Did you know? Urban legend says the word bistro derives from the Cossack occupation of Paris in 1815, when Russians shouted “bystro!” (faster!) at their waiters. This is pure legend as the most commonly accepted derivation is from a drink made from combining coffee and brandy called a bistrouille.

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