Judges’ Comments 2017
Sophisticated dining and exceptional 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.
Stylish, tasteful and comfortable ambience. Sophisticated foods impeccable prepared, presented and served. Strong focus on local produce and excellent wines. Exceptional value for money.
- HIGHLY COMMENDED – Best Regional Contemporary Dining – Sponsored by Comcater P/L
- HIGHLY COMMENDED – Best Regional Cellar of local Wines Beers and Ciders – Sponsored by Furphy
- HIGHLY COMMENDED – Best Regional Menu of Local Foods – Sponsored by Western Plains Pork
- FINALIST – Peter Watson Memorial Award for Best Chef – Richard Mee – Sponsored by Luxury Escapes
- FINALIST – Best Customer Service – Sponsored by European Affair
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.
- 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