What's a restaurant like you doing in a place like this? Not to besmirch the good name of Pakenham, but the Mill is an oasis of finely tuned restaurant values in a 'hood where pizza joints and chicken shops rule the roost. The upmarket breakfast/brunch zone goes haute at night, when a menu from rising star chef Jake Kellie delivers dishes as dramatic as anywhere in Melbourne. An opening salvo of snacks, a lozenge of pickled juniper with lemon verbena powder and bronze fennel among them, sets the mood and the next five courses hold the pace. A chicken "lollipop" stuffed with chicken mousse and sticky with jus gras keeps things light, while Balmain bug tortellini in kelp broth with nublets of smoked eel hits a refined note. Whether it's a braised lamb tart topped with discs of white beetroot and fried lemon thyme, or a classic orange marmalade soufflé and toasty sourdough ice-cream, Kellie pulls out all stops. Pakenham ahoy.
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