Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published October 12th 2015
If you're going to be up one, this is the creek to chose
The inn at Mahogany Creek, previously called the Mahogany Creek Inn, but now charmingly re-named Inn Mahogany Creek, is among the more venerable of our Hills eateries.
Built sometime in the 1880s and originally named "The Prince of Wales", it was always a modest wayside tavern for travellers braving the rough terrain to travel up as far as Mundaring and points East.
As Roxy and I sat in the same dining area that they would have some hundred and thirty years earlier I wondered what they would make of the modern menu with which we were presented - certainly they would have recognised and been familiar with steak, Barramundi and salmon.
Bread and Butter Pudding (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
I think lamb gnocchi would have left them bewildered, as would the prices. At a time when forty pounds would have bought a house the notion of spending the equivalent of a year's salary on a single beer and half a dozen oysters would shock.
Mind you, even in my lifetime these things have changed and our meal for two cost the same price as my first car in 1968. The meal would have been the better value, if I'm honest.
I'm not going to rattle on about the decor because I want to talk about the food, but the upgrades, renovations and restorations must have cost well upwards of a couple of millions well spent and are well worth just going to see - especially if, like me, you first saw the Inn for afternoon Devonshire Tea in the 1980s when it was the Hills Mecca for flats dwellers.
The menu is surprisingly varied what is really a small menu, enlarged by daily specials.
The service is excellent, smiling, friendly and efficient. No sooner were we seated than the server took drinks orders. Roxy felt sort of Chardonnay-ish and I left the selection to the server, and an excellent choice she made of it, which I always think an excellent sign in a dedicated server.
Duck Paté (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Roxy's selection was the Duck Pate ($15), made on the premises and served with a rich onion jam and a fresh bagette. This was superb, delicately flavoured and rich at the same time.
My own choice of Salt and Pepper Squid ($18) was accompanied by a Chipotle Aioli (something else that might confuse a diner from 1886) and was slightly overcooked - wonderfully flavoured but a mite chewy.
Salt & Pepper Squid (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
I mentioned this to the server and he whipped it away and returned with another, perfectly cooked and meltingly tender.
For mains, after a brief internal debate between Beef Short Rib ($32) with the intriguing 'dirty' potatoes and a Sirloin steak ($38) I plumped for Pork Belly ($39) - the way I always knew I was going to. Beautifully presented with a potato and herb galette (a cake of thinly, really really thinly sliced potato and baked) and Prosciutto wrapped asparagus and a richly delicious jus based on the Spanish sherry Pedro Ximenez, an uncommon choice, but inspired - rich, redolent of times past and passing delicious.
Pork Belly with asparagus (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The pork had excellent flavour and the crackling really crisp, the galette beyond excellent and presentation delightful. Roxy's Barramundi ($35) came, perfectly cooked and succulent, with a charming coleslaw and a rich gribiche (a rather tricky French mayonnaise) and a large serve of crisp, tasty shoestring fries.
Barramundi with fries (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
For dessert we chose a portion of Bread and Butter Pudding ($15) and two spoons - but as I'm bigger and greedier I got most of it - delicious.
Some elegant spun sugar work made it look as good as it tasted. Two cups of excellent coffee and we were
done - a satisfying and delicious dinner.