Villa Gusto

Villa Gusto
630 Buckland Valley Road, Buckland (Bright), Victoria 3740, Australia
03 5756 2000

*Ring the doorbell to get in* was basically the message outside the door.  It felt as if we were heading into a dinner party and not a restaurant.  We were greeted by Colin like a family friend and behind the gray curtain we were transported into the cozy world of Villa Gusto.

As predicted this was more like a family home.  There were little touches here and there, we even saw a couple retiring into the couch while waiting for their food, reading a book that Colin wrote.

Today’s menu was on a little black board, $75 for 5 courses.

Bright at night was friggin freezing, so we gratefully accepted our first course- a little cup of foraged mushroom and home grown chestnut soup.  Freshly out of mushroom foraging I was of course super excited to see Slippery Jacks and button mushies in my soup.

Antipasto was next, from left to right, eggplant, potato dumplings, salami, bocconcini, mushroom with goat’s curd and Sicily olive.  The eggplant roll was our favourite, stuffed with pinenuts and ricotta, the sauce had a slight chilli hotness and it was wonderful.

The potato dumpling were cooked with trout and white wine, but it’s not very flavoursome.

I am not a big fan of salami and the salami with Sicilian anchovies was just too salty for my liking.

I love bocconcini and the Sicilian olive was really firm and crunchy.  DAMN, everyone finished theirs.  Even hubby who didn’t like olives.

Next was homemade pasta.  Made with their free range eggs from chooks out the back, it was served with meatball Napoli sauce.  The pasta was sensational and the sauce was very very good, unfortunately we found the meatball very dry- we expected more from Villa Gusto.

Quail- apparently free range and cooked with lemon caper sugo.  This would have to be the disappointing dish of the night.  Either we were used to eating mutated quails or the free range ones have to grow more bones to run, but our quails had lots of small thin bones on the thigh area.  The quail was also too dry and tough.  The sauce was very sour, along with the slightly sour capers it was just a bit too much.  I quite like the polenta cube though but I don’t think everyone liked it.

Trio of desserts!  Pannacotta again- Dr. Ben must be very very happy!  Colin our host explained that this pannacotta was made with radicchio.  WHAT THE?  Normally radicchio is used as a vegetable for salads- I’ve never heard of this bitter plant used as a dessert!   Apparently frangelico was used to sweeten the radicchio.  It was very different but quite yummy.

If there were any doubts as to why radicchio was used, wikipedia said radicchio was believed to help insomniacs given that it’s so close to sleep time this is obviously right for dessert.

Even though I don’t like salami, THIS choc salami sitting in the bottom of the semi freddo I like.

I didn’t rate the semi freddo because I am too focussed on getting to the end of my plate:  Calabrese donut!  Oh. My. God.  Bloody hell this Calabrese donut stuffed with orange zest and ricotta..YUMGASMIC. Remember how our group were super stuffed from Brown Brothers and couldn’t eat a thing?  Well, I kept offering to “help” them eat that Calabrese donut, no one even bothered answering me, as they were too busy eating their donuts :'( And THAT’s what a called a dessert Brown Brothers!  8.5/10

Our Amazing Bright Trip starts with lunch @ The Epicurean Centre- Brown Brothers Winery, then continue at Villa Gusto for dinner and the next day, at the Boynton’s Feathertop Winery.  Click on the links to view the other posts :) and thanks again Dr. Ben for organising this!
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