Part II of Berry, the next day….
The Drawing Rooms of Berry is surrounded by forest and velvet-green pastures. Wonderful breakfast guesthouse accommodation and boasts its ‘4.5 star accommodation that combines style, absolute tranquillity, wildlife galore and spectacular setting’. Unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ and I didn’t really get to enjoy or walk on the property, however, we did go for a hike to the Drawing Rooms lookout.
The Drawing Rooms look out is a spectacular rock formation on the hill-top that’s 600 metres above sea level. The walk is about 2 hours from the bottom of the Drawing Rooms guesthouse to the top and back.
I’m not much of a hiker, however, ‘The Mother’ loves it – walk or hike or whatever you want to call it, wherever we go, he would suggest we go for a ‘walk’ (which really means hike!). I would consider myself a moderately fit person, but when it comes to hiking – I feel like the most unfit person! I gasp, I sweat like pig and I am usually exhausted by the time we reach to destination!
The Drawing Room walk was tough at first, extremely steep hills but once we got to the top, it was amazing and absolutely spectacular! Well worth the ‘walk’!
I was famished after our walk, and suggested lunch at Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery which is run by both Joost and Jelle Hilkemeijer. Opened in 2003, this wonderful bakery is known for its organic woodfired sourdoughs, cakes and pastries and their legendary flaky, buttery croissants.
‘The Mother’ and I thought we would share a couple of dishes. Started with duck confit on parsnip puree with brussels sprouts and jus ($23).
The duck was so tender that it just came off the bone, the parsnip puree incredibly smooth and creamy and since ‘The Mother’ doesn’t like brussels sprouts, more for me! It was an excellent hearty dish, perfect for winter.
The minestrone soup with basil piste and sourdough ($14) was one of the best minestrone soup I have had – even ‘The Mother’ agreed!
Served with potatoes, carrots, celery and barley with a hint of chili and topped with parmesan cheese. It was just magnifique, and the sour dough bread a wonderful complement. I probably could have eaten the soup on my own, it was superb. We bought some sourdough bread which we both ate the next day with butter and pate – excellent!
‘The Mother’ loves donuts and noticed the Famous Berry Donut Van which apparently has been trading in Berry for sixty years. The donuts are cooked to order and cooked by hand and made on the premises on the spot.
It was a lovely mid-week getaway, would definitely recommend going to Berry if you haven’t been, even if it’s just for a day trip!
Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery
23 Prince Alfred Street
Ph: +61 2 4464 1617
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
Famous Donut Van Berry
‘The Mother’ and I had a mid-week getaway to Berry, which is about two hours drive from the CBD. I love the history of the town, the greenness and the surrounding countryside. Not to mention the cafes, bakeries, the markets and gift shops in town.
We have never really stayed in Berry, usually just a day trip. However, we decided to stay over night this time round, have dinner, and do a bush walk in the morning before returning to Sydney.
We stayed at a B&B (bed and breakfast) called the Drawing Rooms of Berry. A 15 acre property with lots of giant gum and pine trees. Roger and Toni Stent are the lovely host, I didn’t meet Roger but Toni was very welcoming and friendly and made our stay extremely enjoyable.
On our way to the B&B, we stopped by for dinner at the Hungry Duck, a modern Asian restaurant using organic produce. They have their own organic herb and vegetable garden. The man behind the Hungry Duck is David Campbell who previously owned the Book Kitchen in Surry Hills, has worked at Wockpool, Tetsuyas (London) and Billy Kwong prior to opening his own modern Asian restaurant. Opened in May 2008, it has been named in the top ten green eateries in the good food guide in 2010 and 2011.
The restaurant is cozy, seats about 45 and there is a communal table outside that can fit 24 more people. Hungry Duck offers diners the option of a la carte and either a five or a nine course banquets. ‘The Mother’ and I opted for a la carte, the five course degustation sounds fantastic, but there were items on the menu that we both really wanted to try. Each dish are designed to be shared, Asian style.
We started with tataki of yellow fin tuna, miso, orange and sechuan pepper sorbet ($18). Slightly seared, the yellow fin tuna was deliciously fresh and the miso a wonderful complement. I love the orange and sechuan pepper sorbet – it was light and refreshing, not creamy but with a hint of spice – it’s a little weird to explain but the combination I thought worked!
WOW – the duck spring roll was tasty. Duck mince with vegetables and then wrapped and deep-fried. The pastry was thin and crispy but parts of it was a little soggy by the time I ate it, regardless, it was still quite good.
The rare caramelised breast with soy, honey and then drizzled with sesame was one of the nicest duck I have had. Served medium rare, it was tender and succulent and probably the highlight of the evening. The crispy sichuan peppered leg had crispy skin and tender, juicy meat but it was definitely the rare breast duck meat that won my heart.
We couldn’t help but order the braised wagyu beef shin with orange, star anise and cinnamon ($30). It was wonderfully aromatic and fragrant. The braised wagyu beef was so tender that it just melted in my mouth.
I love the orange, star anise and cinnamon – great combination, lots of flavours and the smell, incredible!
Unfortunately, we were both stuffed. Nothing on the dessert menu really caught my eye – although the chinese five spiced doughnuts, butterscotch sauce and sour cream sounded interesting. Wine list extensive, they have different types of sakes, white and red, wine by the glass or bottles.
Service excellent, waitress friendly and very informative. It was a wonderful dinner, I am definitely keen to go back and try their other dishes including dessert.
The Hungry Duck is only open for dinner every night, except for Tuesday night. Well worth the visit!
GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10
The Hungry Duck
85 Queen Street
Ph: +61 2 4464 2323