Masons of Bendigo kicked off our 24 hour food frenzy in the beautiful town of Bendigo. They are a beautiful establishment, with high ceilings and bright lighting. The wait staff are efficient, polite and the manger is enthusiastic about his work and the locals. They cater to dietary requirements with ease and extra servings for the dishes.
We were starving by the time we reached Masons, so we started with some Hand Cut Royal Blue Potato Chips with aioli ($8.0) while we were waiting. They were great and disappeared in like ten seconds.
Complimentary carbs arrived, which was an in-house made Milk Bread with delicious Smokey Miso Infused Butter. I would buy a whole loaf and pot of this butter, and then just om-nom-nom in the surrounding Bendigo gardens. HASHTAG DROOL.
We started with the Seared Hervey Bay Scallops with curried cauliflower, salmon caviar, coriander vinaigrette, prawn crackers (x3 pcs $14.0). I could see they were trying an asian influence with the curried cauliflower, but I think that flavour overwhelmed the naturally subtle taste of the scallop. That being said, I really enjoyed the textures and flavour combination of this dish, but I think a lighter vegetable would also suit.
I was hesitant about the Warialda Beef Carpaccio, black pepper, golden beets, smoked aioli, potato chips, fried onions ($14.0) as I usually prefer fish tartares, but this was delicious, tasty and full of flavour. It turned out to be my favourite savoury dish of the afternoon.The beef slices were incredibly well prepared, and the large amounts of beet and aoili really added to each mouthful.
Chicken, blue swimmer crab & corn pot sticker Dumplings, cucumber, white soy and ginger sisho (x4pcs $12.0) were a tad dry, but really nailed all the asian-inspired flavours, and they were stuffed full of delicious fillings, so it was forgivable!
The McIvor Farm Berkshire Pork Belly Skewer, sweet & sour blood plums, szechuan spice (x2pcs $10.0) was tender and succulent and everything a beautiful pork belly dish should be. The sweet plums brought out the flavour of the pork incredibly well.
The Roasted McIvor Farm Berkshire Pork Fillet with pork belly, pork cheek schnitzel, roast pumpkin, crackle pinwheel ($30.0)
The Crispy Fried Soft Shell Mud Crab with cucumber, beanshoot & avocado salad, nam prik mayo ($13.5) was a refreshing salad, especially with the addition of the crunchy beanshoots and semi-spicy nam prik mayo. The crab was nicely fried but had only a little meat on it, so wasn’t anything grand.
Butternut Pumpkin Gnocchi with Holy Goat fromage frais, fried onions, young spinach, black basil pesto ($23.0) was a vegetarian dish but really quite impressive. The pesto with spinach was perfectly blended and the gnocchi were fried pillows of soft potato goodness. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the butternut and the gamey goats cheese together.
The Panfried Tassie Salmon, mussels, prawns, risotto tortellini, moghrabieh, saffron braised tomatoes ($29.0) was a good choice. I expected more seafood in that the mussels and prawns must have been hidden in the tortellini, but the salmon made up for that. I was surprised how well the tomatoes went with the salmon!
Masons Dessert Tasting Plate which included small serves of vanilla & peach brulee, Eskimo pie, Meredith yoghurt pannacotta with passionfruit gel, choc-hazelnut delice, baked cheesecake, Yuzo curd & tapioca pot with summer fruits, pomegranate ice-cream and Persian fairy floss ($26.0). In reality I could’ve smashed this out my self, but social etiquette deemed that I shared the sharing plate. It was beautiful. Subtle flavours when needed, paired with a good mix of heavier bites like the choc-hazelnut delice and baked cheesecake. They used different textures, from the light flossy persian rosewater fairy floss, and the tapioca sago. I really, really loved this dish.
TL;DR A definite hit in Bendigo, I would return to eat here fo’ sho.