The lady behind the name is no longer at the helm, but I was still very happy when J told me we were booked into Annie Smithers Bistrot on our night away in Kyneton.
The focus here was always on fresh local produce, and this remains under new owners, Tim Foster (ex-head chef of The Healesville Hotel) and his wife Michelle.
We arrived a bit before our 7pm booking after walking around from our accommodation at Mollinsons.
The entrance opens into a bar area, with a few dining tables. When we arrived all the bar stools were taken. We were escorted into the next room and seated at a table at the very back. Some might complain about this positioning, but I love to be able to have a good view of the whole restaurant, and we could also see the chefs at work, and the patio and garden out the window.
(the stools along the wall are for handbags. Love!)
While I loved the exposed bricks, white feature wall, hard floors and blonde wood tables, it all combined to make a quite noisy space when full. I was sitting next to J and struggled to hear him.
We were seated at a round table big enough for four, and all the couples dining together were seated next to their partners, not across the table. Another tick for that.
We started proceedings with a glass of local sparkling; it had strong sour apple flavours, which J liked more than me.
Once we had settled on an entree and main each, we were presented with an amuse bouche of pear and parsnip soup topped with parsnip chips.
Absolutely lovely, and I could have eaten a bowlful of the chips.
J ordered off the specials list for both his entree and main. His entree was ham hock terrine with pickled vegetables and mustard.
Despite not locating any mustard on his plate, he thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
I had the grilled par boned quail, braised organic lentils, chickpea fritters, holy goat fromage frais, chervil.
A brilliant combination of flavours and textures, an excellent dish.
For main course J had the fish special, which was snapper with kipfler potatoes and salsa verde.
The fish was perfectly cooked and it was a fresh healthy dish.
I didn’t feel like red meat that night so went for another poultry dish, the roasted pasture raised chicken, toasted farro risotto, turnips, carrots, chicken jus.
Spot the surprise on this dish?
I was certainly surprised, in a good way, when the dish was set down and I was told it was the chicken with truffles!
It was nice to see that there was no surcharge involved with the truffles but should they tell people when they order the dish that truffles are included? As some people might not want or like them.
It wasn’t an issue for me, and while the size of this dish did beat me, I made sure I got every last scrap of truffle. While it wasn’t on the same level texture and flavour wise as the quail, the chicken was moist and tender, and it was a very comforting dish.
We had to have a little break after main course.
But dessert was eventually ordered and we both had desserts that were perfect for us.
J had the slightly rude looking steamed lemon pudding, lemon curd, citrus, crisp lemon meringue, Seville orange marmalade ice cream.
And I had the soft centred dark chocolate pudding, honey cream, praline, salted caramel ice cream.
Loved the presentation of both desserts, and while no element on mine really stood out in the flavour department, it was a great combination and something a little different from the usual chocolate pudding and vanilla ice cream.
I can’t remember what J thought of his dessert but I am pretty sure he loved it, especially as he said he couldn’t fault anything in regards to his meal, everything was perfect.
The floor staff were very busy throughout the night, but we never felt neglected. We also liked the pace of the service, there was a good gap in-between courses so we didn’t feel rushed, but not enough that made us wonder if we had been forgotten about.
We paid the bill at the counter and were offered a petit four.
We both had an apple jelly (on the left). It was squishy and tangy with a true apple flavour and a great way to refresh the palate.
I don’t know what Annie Smither’s Bistrot was like when Annie was in charge, but J and I were very impressed by our dinner, and I think the people of Kyneton are very lucky to have something so good to call their local.