First Judges’ Comments 2017
Sophisticated dining and excellent value
Mercato restaurant is a calm and reassuring oasis in Daylesford with a Colonial exterior and tastefully modernised internally. It reflects the stylish values and sensibilities of the executive chef and owner Richard Mee who has a profound appreciation of the ideal dining experience and a passion for menus that reflect the natural availability of fresh produce sourced mostly from within the Region. The honourable exception is the extensive and sensitively compiled wine and drinks list (with massive selection of spirits, cocktails, beers, ciders, soft drinks and mineral waters). The Mercato menu is varied in its range of dishes. Shining examples included Creole spiced prawns with crab gumbo, gremolata, puffed rice and sweet corn puree, classic Eye fillet of aged Kyneton Black Angus beef, seared fillet of kangaroo, beautifully pink and flavoursome, with wattle-seed dukkah and Native pepper-berry jus, and Chiai infused crème brulee accompanied by home-made biscotti and citrus curd meringue sheets with poached quince and cumin shortbread. Serious taste and texture experiences that delight the seriously committed gourmand. All dishes were served in timely fashion with modesty and flair, attentive courtesy and a genuine smile. On-plate presentation was impeccable and dishes were presented at table with care and attention. The beauty Mercato is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to depart feeling replete and profoundly satisfied. Dining at Mercato is a memorable experience and exceptional value for money.
Tasteful and comfortable ambience, sophisticated foods impeccable prepared, presented and served, strong focus on local produce and excellent wines, exceptional value for money.
Mercato is one of the most Awarded and consistently excellent restaurants in the Golden Plate Awards. The Finalists for the 2017 Awards in the South Western Victoria Territory will be announced in October. The Winners including the Victorian State Awards will be announced in November.
2016 State Awards
- FINALIST Best Contemporary Dining sponsored by Harwood Andrews
2016 Regional Awards
- WINNER Best Contemporary Dining sponsored by Harwood Andrews
- HIGHLY COMMENDED Best Menu Local wines, Beers & Ciders sponsored by Visit Ballarat
- HIGHLY COMMENDED Most Outstanding Front of House person – Stefano Marigo Sponsored by Maxim PR and Marketing
- FINALIST Best Customer Service sponsored by Visit Ballarat
- FINALIST Best Menu Local Foods sponsored by Visit Ballarat
- FINALIST Peter Watson Memorial Award for Best Chef sponsored by Garuda Indonesia Airlines and Comcater P/L.
2016 Judges’ Comments
Mercato in Daylesford is housed in a charming Victorian building and the foods, wines and service will charm even more, providing memorable dining experiences. A multiple winner of Golden Plate Awards the Mercato menu is designed around the seasons, and spontaneous dishes reflects ingredient that has caught the chef’s imagination. The food is beautifully presented, of very high quality, and masterfully handled. The wine list complements the foods perfectly, and exemplary service emphasises professionalism. Mercato’s dishes are beautifully constructed and presented, and Chef Richard Mee handles everything with flare. There’s a high class wine list featuring beautiful wines from the premier Australian wine regions, with local and Victorian wines highlighted. The customer service is of a consistently high standard featuring great attention to detail, food and wine knowledge, and unobtrusiveness. Mercato offers quality seasonal and local produce cooked and served expertly to a very high standard, great wines and customer service – all at very reasonable prices, making a visit both a memorable and good value for money. Mercato is highly recommended.
- 2015 – Golden Plate Awards State Winner
- 2015 – Best Restaurant – State Winner
- 2015 – Golden Plate Regional Award – Regional Winner
- 2015 – Best Contemporary Dining – Regional Winner
- 2014 – Best Customer Service – Regional Winner
- 2014 – Best Contemporary Dining – Highly Commended
2015 Judges’ Comments
Meticulous attention to detail means that Mercato in Raglan Street, Daylesford is a lovely restaurant to visit. Fresh flowers, crisp linen and an open fire compliment the features of the room. The cushioned chairs are comfortable, fine crockery and glassware give add a touch of indulgence, and the subtle lighting helps create warmth and a sense of intimacy.
The menu created by Owner and Executive Chef Richard Mee revolves around seasonal and local produce. Composed of beautifully presented dishes with delicious and layered flavours complementing each element, the food is of a very high quality. Skilfully cooked, each dish holds its own place on the menu. The entrées were superb, the Creole spiced prawns a great dish with interesting flavours that served to highlight and complement the delicious fresh prawns. The quail was also delicious, rich flavours balanced with smoky bacon and chestnuts. The mains we sampled were a great example of the high quality and clever handling of the produce, the Western Plains Pork and Tuki Lamb Loin were beautifully cooked and well complemented by the other elements of the dishes. Desserts were also lovely, and I highly recommend a degustation menu.
Mercato’s wine and beverage list is extensive featuring the cream of Australia’s wine regions and vintages as well as international labels. We greatly enjoyed our wines by the glass, recommended to complement and enhance the flavours in our meals.
Mercato is a quality restaurant that offers good value for money. Lovers of great foods and wines should definitely visit Mercato.