Teddy Picker launch The Garden in collaboration with Riot Wine

Downtown Werribee might not have been the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a lazy Sunday afternoon hangout, but one look at Teddy Picker’s new outdoor space, The Garden, and you’ll understand. Seated on the expansive deck under vibrant umbrellas, painted picnic tables and fun fake grass, it’s easy to picture yourself a world away from everything.

In late 2021, Teddy Picker’s owner, Jon Ford was looking to expand the young venue to truly take advantage of the riverside location. In a case of perfect timing, Riot Wine Co. from South Australia were also looking for a collaboration partner. Jon Ford explains – ‘We stumbled across Riot Wine Co. on social media and we were instantly drawn to the style as we felt that it was very similar to Teddy Picker. Once I experienced the product and discovered just how good it was, to me it was a no-brainer to reach out about a collaboration for The Garden space.’

Since 2016, McLaren Vale-based Riot Wine Co have been making wine their way – in aluminium cans or stainless-steel kegs. It’s all about delivering the best quality product in the most sustainable way possible. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, while maintaining the wine’s quality through the exclusion of light and oxygen. Similarly, stainless steel kegs are an efficient way to serve and transport wine in bulk. Over its 30-year lifespan, one keg will save on 23,000 bottles from being dumped/recycled. This ethos was a natural fit for Jon Ford and Teddy Picker.

Sustainability is a core value for Teddy Picker. Throughout the business we do what we can where we can; it’s important to us that we are doing our part, and to be contributing to this huge issue. All of the suppliers that we work with have a similar mindset and I believe this is a key part of creating an overall better experience for customers.

The renovated space prides itself on welcoming a diverse mix of customers and has included a dedicated play area for families, as well as a turfed area for those bringing their fur-babies.

If you’re wondering about the name, it’s a nod to Jon Ford’s UK roots, the birthplace of the band Arctic Monkeys, who just happen to have a song of the same name. Mystery solved.

More importantly, what should you be eating ? Pizza – because it’s the platonic ideal dish to share with friends and just happens to pair perfectly with wine, courtesy of Riot Wine Co., of course. The menu, though, offers more than just pizza with plant-based, coeliac and other dietary requirements all happily catered for.

Maybe you’re not a wine drinker? No problem, there’s plenty of options for beer, cider and a ripping cocktail menu that hits all the right notes from the always-welcome espresso Martini to The Jungle Teddy with spiced rum, Aperol, and pineapple & lime juice – yes, please.

The Garden at Teddy Picker might just be a case of ‘build it and they will come’ – and it’s easy to see why.

WHAT: The Garden – Teddy Picker restaurant and bar
WHEN: Wednesday – Thursday 12pm – 10pm, Friday – Sunday 12pm – 11pm
WHERE: 5/116 Watton St, Werribee
MORE INFO: Teddy Picker Werribee

Meet Ivy Joyce; a brand new wine bar on the Murray

Words by Richard Cornish 
Images supplied

There is a brand new wine bar on the Murray, serving perhaps the best porchetta in Australia. Ivy Joyce is a beautiful little casual eatery in the Murray River town of Barham. It is the brainchild of Lauren Mathers of Bundarra Berkshires and Cynthia Burbury, well known Murray Valley caterer.

Ivy and Joyce were the Christian names of Mathers’ and Burbury’s grandmothers. “We remember our grandmothers fondly through food,” says Lauren. “They were women who cooked dishes like haricot lamb chops, perfect Sunday roasts with Yorkshire pudding and homegrown apple and rhubarb pies,” she says.

Burbury adds, “We keep things simple and delicious, offering small plates to graze and a set weekend menu to show off one or two dishes featuring local produce,” she says adding, “plus the food we love from elsewhere.”

Set in a 100-year-old former hardware store with painted floorboards, and a bare brick wall featuring hundreds of different Australian spirits, Ivy Joyce opened over the 2022 Easter weekend.

The menu features beautifully simple dishes; the headline is Bundarra Berkshire porchetta, with crisp golden crackling wrapped around succulent herbed pork loin. Also, expect retro dishes, a nod to the grandmas, such as a tiger prawn cocktail, served in a glass dish with cos lettuce, diced celery, shallots, Cynthia’s seafood sauce finished with Yarra Valley salmon roe.

Look out for Spanish touches like chorizo croquettes and sardines. Open lunch and dinner come for a big feed of roast chook with burnt sage butter with a glass of pinot or a bowl of pork crackling and a craft beer.

To get to Barham, go to Echuca, turn left, and head downstream 100km along the Murray until you get to Koondrook. Drive over the historic Barham Koondrook Bridge, one of the oldest lift span bridges on the Murray River.

WHAT: Tasty new food and wine bar Ivy Joyce
WHERE: 33a Noorong St, Barham, NSW
WHEN: Fri-Sun 11am-late
MORE INFO: Ivy Joyce

Kilderkin Distillery Continues Ballarat’s Distilling Legacy

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images by Jay Dillon

With gins named Larrikin, Scoundrel, and Buccaneer, you just know Kilderkin Distillery don’t take themselves too seriously. The Ballarat based distillery was first established in 2016, with the release of their first gin a year later. Since then, they’ve been steadily growing the range which now includes eight gins and three liqueurs to tempt your tastebuds.

Partners Chris Pratt and Rebecca Mathews are proud to be another chapter in the long history of Ballarat distilling which wasn’t always the strictly legal kind. The first legal distillery in Victoria was located in Ballarat and produced both gin and whisky from the 1860s through to the 1930s.

It was in late 2020 that the pair decided to relocate Kilderkin Distillery to a more central Ballarat location, with more room for distilling as well as that all-important cellar door experience. Formerly a group training facility, the spacious building underwent major renovations including sandblasting walls and grinding concrete and yet somehow has managed to maintain that rustic warehouse vibe.

After settling in the most important equipment – their two stills – the pair are almost ready to throw open their doors after a long 15 months. Chris explains –

Once we finally open, people will be able to book tours either online or call up, and that will involve a tour of the production area, where the stills are with the full explanation of the whole process of making gin. Then after that, we’ll do a formal tasting talking them through different styles of gin, how we actually balance the flavours, and how they can enhance the gins with different selection of mixers, tonic, soda and garnish.

Apart from gin, the distillery will also serve quality Victorian craft beers and a tight selection of wines, as well as produce platters to keep you fed while hydrating. And, if like us, you’re wondering what a kilderkin is, it is a measurement of volume equalling 18 Imperial Gallons or about 82 litres, the perfect size barrel for maturing spirits.


WHAT: Kilderkin Distillery
WHERE: 14A Hill St, Mount Pleasant
WHEN: Wednesday – Friday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
MORE INFO: kilderkindistillery.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Meet Ellington’s, Ballarat’s first wine bar with a rooftop

Words by Teyha Nicholls
Images Supplied

The name Ellington conjures certain boozy images to mind. For this writer, it’s a picture of Duke Ellington, the legendary New York jazz musician and composer from the swinging 1920’s hashing it out on his piano, a glass of red wine shaking with the melody on the lid. For the wine-lovers of Ballarat, another, similar image might come to mind: a cosy evening at the freshly minted Ellingtons Wine Bar, sipping on a local shiraz.

That’s the hope of owner and operator Myles Williams, whose year long journey to opening a European-style neighbourhood wine bar in Ballarat has finally come to bear fruit. The heavy wooden doors swung open last month and as Myles explains, the locals are loving it.

“We took over the building in July last year. The build took eight months with a few Covid-related speed bumps but we finally opened last month and the feedback from the community has been great. I just think Ballarat is so supportive of new ventures.”

It’s not hard to see why. Stepping inside Ellington’s is like walking through an Edward Hopper painting. It oozes warmth and sophistication. The curved wood of the Bentwood chairs invite you to sit and stay a while, and the natural light seeping in from the warehouse-style windows bathes the bar in a warm glow that’s impossible to resist. If you like Mad Men, you’ll like it here.

For Myles, the emphasis on comfort, community and the antiqued feel of how hospitality once was is paramount. His team provide table service and offer a selection of local and international wines that pair perfectly with the small, shared plates. Guests can either sit in the bar or head outside to their newly designed rooftop space for uninterrupted views of Sturt Street and beyond.

The menu is seasonal, flexible and sourced locally. Oysters, charcuterie boards, cheese platters and anchovies, as well as other bite-sized bar snacks and French chocolates make the perfect accompaniments to a post-work drink, meeting or weekend catch up with friends.

The idea was to do something different, something unique. We’re Ballarat’s first rooftop that’s joined with a function space and since we’ve opened the doors everyone has beelined straight to the rooftop.

Come rain, hail or shine, Ellington’s will be pouring tall glasses of booze and warm foamy coffees during the daytime. As for the jazz records, they’ll be on repeat of course.

WHAT: Ellingtons Wine Bar & Rooftop
WHERE: 405A Sturt Street, Ballarat
WHEN: Open Wednesday – Monday , 2pm – late
Kitchen open from 4pm
MORE INFO: Ellingtons Wine Bar & Rooftop

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Balgownie Estate in Yarra Valley opens restaurant 1309

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

Balgownie Estate has quite literally risen from the ashes with their new fine dining restaurant, 1309.

If you’re looking for a place to absorb rolling vineyards, sip on some world-class wine and experience fine dining at its best, Balgownie Estate in the Yarra Valley has just opened a crowning jewel in winery venues sure to fit the bill. Meet Restaurant 1309, named charmingly after its address on the Melba Highway.

While the entire hospitality industry suffered through the pandemic last year, Balgownie Estate had another issue on their hands: a fire whipped through their restaurant between lockdowns, burning it to the ground. Fast forward 18 months and the restaurant is back with a fresh name and fresh face. 1309 is the multi-million dollar phoenix, designed by ZWEI Interiors & Architecture with capacity to seat 100 patrons in its bright, modern interior.

Inside the impressive building is an even more impressive team of chefs and executives. Head chef Beth Candy (Finalist Best Chef 2021 – TAA Awards) and executive chef Grant Flack (Winner Best Chef 2019 – TAA Awards) have teamed up once again to create a Modern-Australian menu that pays tribute to the Valley’s abundance of fresh produce and of course, pairs beautifully with Balgownie’s wines. Highlights include the Smoked paprika and herb rolled spatchcock and Crispy Berkshire-Duroc Pork belly.

“Grant and Beth are two very passionate, dedicated chefs. They’ve got a passion for local produce and work very closely with our suppliers in the Valley to deliver that experience on the plate. The flavours talk for themselves,” explains General Manager Melanie Watson.

Through December the restaurant, Cellar Door and bar is open only to in-house guests at their accommodation and long-booked weddings and functions, but come January 2022, the doors will swing open to the general public. There will be food, drink and good old fashioned service aplenty, and according to Watson, you may never want to leave.

“We call this building our new home, our Balgownie family home. Everyone who comes in is welcome straight away.”

WHAT: Restaurant 1309, Balgownie Estate
WHERE: 1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen
WHEN: Opens to the public January 2022
MORE INFO: Balgownie Estate

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Kelp Dining opens up on San Remo coast

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

Kelp Dining, the brand new restaurant and cocktail bar serving delicious tapas, tacos and salt-crusted margaritas, has landed in San Remo.

On those warm summer nights ahead, there’s nothing like a drink and a bite by the coast. A couple of hospitality legends in San Remo, the small seaside town just outside of Phillip Island, have opened up one very cool, very laid back spot to get your fill.

Owners Shiree and Travis, partners in both business and life, opened Kelp’s doors in October this year and have been serving their signature dishes and fun cocktails to locals and travellers alike. They say although you may not expect tacos and cauliflower steaks in San Remo, that’s part of their success.

“There’s only really pubs around, so we wanted to make [Kelp] the complete opposite,” Shiree explains. “Although we thought we’d chuck VB on tap for a bit of a laugh and it’s gone really well.”

Alongside the VB, punters can expect to find a selection of local, independent beer on offer, as well as cocktails with a distinctly coastal twist (like the Shaka Forever with elderflower, chambord, lemon juice and sparkling grapefruit.) Travis, who cut his teeth as a head chef in local restaurants like Bang Bang as well as in Japan, is at the helm in the kitchen, bringing his passion for fresh, local produce to the island he calls home.

Now operating at full capacity thanks to restrictions easing, the restaurant fits a comfortable 60 patrons, with space outside to enjoy the sun. Whether you’re looking for a casual night out with a mate or want to don your summer best, the vibe, the food and the drinks at Kelp are sure to satisfy.

WHAT: Kelp Dining
WHERE: 141 Marine Parade, San Remo
WHEN: Monday, Tuesday, Friday: 5:00pm – late | Saturday: 12:00pm – late | Sunday: 12:00pm – 5ish | Wednesday and Thursday: Closed
MORE INFO: Kelp Dining

We wish to acknowledge the Bunurong people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Bright glows with the reopening of Elm Dining and The Yard

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

What do you get when you combine a Japanese trained chef, a world-class sommelier and a seasoned High-Country proprietor working across two venues… one sleek, sophisticated restaurant and the other a cosy, fun-loving diner? Delicious, never-want-to-leave brilliance, that’s what.

We’re talking, of course, about the freshly minted Elm Dining restaurant and adjacent kick-back hangout spot The Yard, which after lengthy refurbishments and extensions, both swung open their doors on October 29th. And it’s safe to say that Bright is truly glowing with the new additions.

Under the guidance of Rosy Seaton (who is behind the award-winning Astra in Falls Creek, and the revitalised Boat Shed at Lake Hume), Elm Dining + The Yard are focused on delivering world-class sophistication and delicious local fare with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned hospitality.

Elm Dining is pitched to attract locals and travellers looking to indulge in some of the regions finest produce, served with international flair. Getting them there is Head Chef Kaurie Watkin, who cut his teeth at one of Japan’s finest restaurants and has been making mouths water at Astra in Falls Creek over the last year. His passion for local produce and seasonally inspired cooking means the menu features some familiar favourites but always with an exciting twist.

To complement the meals, sommelier Matt Cridge has scoured the world and his backyard for some of the best wines you can drink. His recent years spent in the Yarra Valley working alongside the highly regarded winemaker Mac Forbes, has made him one of Victoria’s most up-and-coming sommeliers – so be prepared to go on a journey of some of the region’s finest wines, beers and spirits.

For a more low-key dining experience, right outside of Elm is the humble, delightful The Yard. Ready for cocktails, finger-licking food and fun by the fire, it’s the perfect spot for an after-work yarn with a friend or weekend hangout. Between the two venues, Bright will never be short of an awesome spot to share a meal and enjoy some of the best produce the region has to offer.

WHAT: Elm Dining and The Yard
WHERE: 98 Gavan Street, Bright
WHEN: Open Tuesday – Saturday
MORE INFO: Elm Dining

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A Grand Plan to Revitalise a Grand Hotel

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

A large crowd of locals gathered for last drinks in March this year as testament to a much-loved landmark. Portarlington Grand Hotel has retained an imposing presence on the town’s main street since 1888, overlooking the foreshore and Port Phillip Bay. Nine months and many millions of dollars later, it will reopen this summer to much excitement from those same locals as well as visitors alike.

It takes a considered approach with plenty of skill and experience to marry the old and the new in a project of this scale. It turns out Melbourne-based architects, Technē Architecture + Interior Design, were just the people for the job. And if you’re getting a similar vibe to that of The Espy in St Kilda, you’re not wrong – they’ve had a hand in many a hospitality makeover.

What’s on offer at the Portarlington Grand Hotel 2.0?

Probably most importantly, dining options abound in this new incarnation. Choose from the airy Atrium beer garden for seaside vistas with your wood-fired pizza. The Lawn will be on your hit list if bringing the family (Rover included) with picnic tables, yellow and white striped umbrellas and seafood platters. Perhaps it’s a casual meet-up with colleagues in the front bar for a light snack you’re after or maybe plans include a leisurely meal with family and friends in the bistro.

Food will be that clever balance between pub classics we all look for, as well as an emphasis on local seafood, naturally. Portarlington, after all, has been the home to a mussel festival since 2007.

Beverages will draw from the region’s award-winning local wineries, as well as craft beers and signature cocktails. So, even if you’ve taken advantage of Port Phillip Ferries’ 70-minute ferry journey from Melbourne’s docklands, you can get a taste for the region’s extensive brewed, distilled and fermented options. We know you’ll be back…

Accommodation can sometimes be an afterthought at regional hotels. Not here. With 18 boutique rooms blending original design details like ornamental fireplaces and archways with luxury finishes, when bookings open for stays beginning January, they’ll be hot property.

Portarlington is the perfect spot from which to explore the Bellarine Peninsula with all it has to offer, whether you’re after a pristine beach to stroll along, adventure activities in the great outdoors or a scenic drive exploring local producers. What are you waiting for?


WHAT: Portarlington Grand Hotel
WHERE: 76 Newcombe St, Portarlington
WHEN: Opening summer 2021
MORE INFO: portarlingtongrandhotel.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Bird is the word. Yardbird Restaurant & Bar to be exact

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

It takes confidence to create a perfectly casual yet high calibre dining establishment. For Albury’s newest addition, Yardbird Restaurant and Bar, this confidence is the result of many, many years of hospitality experience in Australia and abroad.

Partners in life as well as work, chef Simon Arkless and Cait Mitchelhill (front of house) have teamed up with restaurateur Denis Lucey for this, their latest project. Though technically in NSW, Albury is closer to Melbourne than it is to Sydney which is probably why we tend to think of it so proprietarily. Any Covid border restrictions aside, it’s a decent three and a half hours drive north-east of the city, so making the trek needs a decent reward. Thankfully, Yardbird fulfils that brief.

Linger in the front courtyard for a spot of people watching while sipping on a glass of something special from the 200-plus wine list. Sommelier Ben Knight crafted the list ‘to intrigue and entice’ with a selection of Australian wines, craft beers and cocktails drawing from local distilleries.

The bar snack menu will feature ingredient-driven classics such as croquettas, char-grilled Padrón peppers, and tortilla, as well as a range of charcuterie to round out the serious European vibe. Restaurant mains will make good use of the newly imported Spanish Mibrasa oven, allowing chefs to charcoal grill with abandon. You may have noticed the recent trend of cooking over fire and coals and it’s easy to see the appeal. With such intense heat at your disposal, cooking becomes a visceral, almost primal, affair.

The large industrial space was reinvigorated thanks to award-winning interior designer, Dana Hutchins, who along with local artisans were able to breathe fresh life into the former mechanic’s workshop. A mix of seating, layered textures and rich colour choices all adds up to a warm and inviting environment.

With the tagline ‘good food, fine wine and friends’ the only question left is when are you going?


WHAT: Yardbird Restaurant & Bar
WHERE: 493 Townsend St, Albury
WHEN: Tuesday -Saturday 5pm-9pm – OPENING SOON
MORE INFO: www.yardbird.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.