Once, you couldn’t see the wood for the trees in Pakenham. Then came loggers, farmers and eventually housing estates (loads of them – this is Australia’s largest growth corridor). And as of last week, it also has the Lakeside Mill, a restaurant with lofty ambitions.
The area’s logging past gets a hat tip both in the restaurant’s name and its woodsy fitout, largely designed by owner Casey Brent Summerville. Look for the rough-hewn posts out front as you head to towards the lake.
Inside, the 50-seat dining room it’s all steampunk light fittings, princes bentwood chairs, polished concrete floors and potted greenery.
The Age Good Food Guide 2016 Young Chef of the Year finalist Jake Kellie, 25, recently of Northcote’s Estelle Bistro, leads the kitchen with a breakfast-lunch-dinner menu that would look right at home in the inner north.
The day might start in the front courtyard with coffee and an acai bowl with summer berries and macadamias, and end upstairs in the bar with cocktails and house-made salted caramel truffles.
In between come snacks such as taramasalata with foraged seaweed, a la carte meals and a $70 five-course tasting menu built around ingredients sourced in the region, with the option of matched wines or non-alcoholic drinks.
Open Sun-Fri 7am-11pm; Sat 7am-midnight.
38 Lakeside Boulevard, Pakenham, 03 5940 8700, thelakesidemill.com.au