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Saturday, September 04, 2010

We're On A Road To Mudgee #5

Day One Part Four

In which tasty things keep arriving every few minutes.

The first thing I need to say about Bishop’s Court is that you should drop everything (unless you’re holding a child, in which case you should place it down gently and call a babysitter) and go stay there. As the name suggests to anyone with a basic command of English, it’s the former residence and chapel of churchy folk, and hence has history, grandeur and stateliness oozing from every blessed brick.

The People Under The Steeple
Our hosts David and Christine are two of the warmest, most relaxed and wonderful collections of cells you’ll ever come across, with the added skill of being uncannily able to guess whose bags belong to whom. That may not sound like much, but I’m sure Charlotte was pleased to find that all the glamorous accessories and top-shelf skin and hair products had been delivered to her room, whilst all the cotton-polyester blends and sarcasm had been deftly placed in mine. We also met Amy, whose handy collection of skills include website design and concocting delicious foody morsels, and Louie the photographer guy, who was there to take some photos for the Bishop’s Court website and generally be a top bloke. We were told that Liz and Tony from Vale Creek wines would also be joining us for dinner, and matching wines to each course. Hint: this kind of information is excellent.

And On The Fifth Day, God Created Special.

Every flat surface in Bishop’s Court, whether horizontal or vertical, is covered with curios, art, knick-knacks, candles and reading material, yet the whole place retains an air of calm relaxation, with a bit of something-awesome-is-about-to-happen mixed in. And, it’s fair to say, something awesome always did.

Our bedrooms, Charlotte’s with an ensuite and mine with an incredible private bathroom just down the hall (“I’ll just turn your heated towel rack on”, says Christine. “My head just exploded”, responds Jo), were each decorated in the same this-is-what-they-mean-when-they-say-relaxed-luxury manner. A stunning building-length balcony roughly the size of my house reached between the two rooms, which is a lovely place to have a post-dinner wine, if you’re so inclined. Charlotte and I were so inclined we could have been a tower in Pisa.

Downstairs, exactly where you’d expect to find a welcoming crackling fireplace and a gin and tonic, you’ll never, ever guess what we found. No, go on. Guess.
Wow. You’re smart.

We also found two Burmese cats called Chocolat and Latte. Bet you didn’t guess that. That’s one thing we’re learning in the country – people name their pets after drinks.

The taste and attention to detail (and also the cats) follows through to the massive garden, where candles, statuettes and sunshine calmly compete for attention. Bishop’s Court hosts corporate events and weddings out in the garden, and may also expect to host my arse on one of their garden benches for the rest of time, if they’ll have me.

Cookery In The Rookery
Okay, so I don’t know what a rookery is, but I think it’s churchy and it rhymes, so it’ll do. Make no mistake – if it was possible to steal a kitchen, I’d be in jail right now.

Charlotte and I doubled over with kitchen envy (which is totally a medical condition – look it up) as soon as we walked in. To call it a commercial kitchen would be to deny the space its homey warmth and chicly designed edge. To just call it a home kitchen would be like calling Madame Tussaud a candle-maker. We also doubled over with foody lust (which is probably also a medical condition, and I have a chronic case) when we heard what was in store for us. Christine explained that she and Amy were cooking an Asian-themed degustation menu just for us. There has been no finer sentence uttered in the history of time. Also, if you ever want to pop on a chef’s jacket and pretend you’re making a soufflĂ© out of whiskey and air, this is totally the place to do it.

Dinners For Sinners.

The absolute hands-down winner of my-jaw-hit-the-floor feature of Bishops Court is the converted-chapel dining room, complete with preacher’s pulpit (where Charlotte took it upon herself to give a brief gastronomic sermon), organ (Pfffft! I said ‘organ’), and approximately forty-five thousand candles, which roughly equals one candle for every wine glass.

Once we were seated, an astounding array of magnificent food and wine was stylishly plonked in front of us. I think I’ll let the dishes speak for themselves, because lord knows my mouth is full.

Peking Duck pancakes with hoisin reduction

Sugar cane prawn with dipping sauce

Betel leaf prawn with mirin dressing, coconut and peanut

Gyoza with ponzu sauce

Tom Kha Goong soup

Prawns with snow peas, scallops with garlic beans and (not pictured, but certainly digested) barbecue pork.

Of course, on Sunday morning, we just had a casual breakfast of local coffee, muesli with stewed fruits, and local bacon with pesto tomatoes, spinach and poached eggs. Expanding waistlines never, ever had it so good.


She really is a morning person.

We couldn’t possibly have had a more incredible time at Bishop’s court, and the sterling people there didn’t seem relieved or exhausted at all once we’d left.

Y'know. Much.


shellity said...

I'm hungry.

LaurafromOz1 said...

Oh my god...the hotel, and food porn is too much for me...Need to haul my little arse to Mudgee me thinks

Thanks for sharing...all very enticing