The Bin Chicken is about to take flight in South Geelong

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Aaron Dixon is nothing if not determined – he’s been sitting on (and paying for) his vacant piece of grassy land on Little Fyans Street since 2021. Permits, pandemic restrictions, power connections and a chronic illness diagnosis have all played part in delaying his plans for a Food Truck Park in South Geelong.

But The Bin Chicken is now just a few short weeks away from launching and Aaron’s enthusiasm is just as infectious and obvious as it was 2 years ago when he first came up with the idea. “Geelong needs this,” is his simple answer as to why he hasn’t given up.

Aaron wants to give the local food truck vendors a weekly, central place to trade that’s not based on events, highlighting this style of dining as an experience in and of itself.

The casual, backyard-style lawn can hold 120 people and the invite extends to kids, pals and pets, to come and gather on weekends, listen to some tunes, sample some cuisine, and make yourself at home amongst the pallet furniture and corrugated iron fence covered in colourful street art.

This isn’t Aaron’s first foray into opening a venue, he successfully ran a similar space – The Bird Watching Society – in Prahran for a few years, but with this change in location and personal circumstances, has come a cascade of new ideas and ambitions.

Social inclusion, accessibility, and a focus on collaborating with community-based Orgs is an important delineation between the two projects, “Initially we’ll only be here 3 days a week, so I’m happy to throw the keys to people and say, ‘Use it’ if it helps,” as a place to stage fundraisers or events.

And when The Bin Chicken finally welcomes its first visitors in mid-February, they can expect to find food from vans like Pizza Pawn and Workers Barbecue, live music from buskers and DJs, a regular makers market and even Geelong’s first non-alcoholic bar – a concept that’s had huge traction with the sober-curious in Melbourne over the past 12 months.

Some of these ideas might be new, but the planning has been a long-time in the making and as far as its founder is concerned this Food Truck Park “with personality” has been worth waiting for.


Who: The Bin Chicken
What: Food Truck Park
Where: 46 Little Fyans Street, Geelong South
When: Opening mid-February 2023
More Info: The Bin Chicken South Geelong

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

Mega brewery now open thanks to some mega funding and hard work of Lancefield locals

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

The Lost Watering Hole is open in the Macedon Ranges town of Lancefield. The angular design of the venue, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, has been constructed from the ground up to house the Lancefield Brewery, bar, restaurant and function space, and has already built a sense of excitement amongst the locals.

The huge project also carries with it an air of expectation to deliver jobs and tourists to the area, having had a major funding injection of $1.3 million from the State government.

In geology circles, the Lancefield Swamp has been on the world map for over a century, thanks to the discovery of thousands of fossilised bones, and in particular several species of Australian megafauna that include a rhinoceros-sized wombat, a giant kangaroo and an enormous flightless bird.

Taking this rich history and running with it, the Lancefield Brewery core range of beers are already on the market and the first four iterations have been named after these Pleistocene predecessors and include an IPA, Dark Ale, Draught and Pale Ale.

Head brewer Julian originally hails from Bochum in Germany and can regularly be seen on the brewery’s social media channels, breaking down the essence of each brew and proudly explaining that the beers are unfiltered, additive-free and rely on just the four simple ingredients of water, malt, hops and yeast.

The capacity of production though, once fully operational, is set to be just as epic as the creatures on the labels, with the facilities primed to can over 100,000 litres of beer annually and create over a dozen employment opportunities within the town.

You can also sample the beers at Verdure Bistro Romsey, Woodend’s Victoria Hotel or the Lancefield Lodge.


WHAT: Brewery, bar & restaurant
WHERE: Lancefield
WHEN: Open Now
FIND OUT MORE: The Lost Watering Hole

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

Old world charm brings gold rush era pub back to life in Geelong

Words by Richard Cornish
Images supplied

Ambergris has opened in Geelong bringing a touch of early 20th-century gentlemen’s club to Moorabool Street.

The old gold rush era building was built in 1856 from handmade brick with woodwork made from Tasmanian Huon pine. You’re met at the panelled oak doors by the dapper owner and maître d’ David Ellis, resplendent with his waxed moustache and rock-star cool.

You’re offered a seat in the front of the bar, made from pressed black tin topped with polished hardwood. With its emerald-backed gantry and brass trim, it has a distinct old-world air. Counteries include homemade sausages and wagyu heel korma with rice.

Out back are two dining rooms with hardwood tables set with fine stemware and solid cutlery. The smaller dining room has an open fire and the larger L-shaped dining room with a padded chesterfield couch looks out onto the green courtyard. In the kitchen is Jackson Wilde who kicked off his career at Tonka and Coda in Melbourne’s CBD. He has spent the past few years at Hotel High Plains in Dinner Plain in the snow working with wood and smoky BBQ meats and will be installing his bespoke charcoal and hardwood grill in the kitchen within a few weeks. Wilde has combed the local countryside and harbours to find the best local produce with which to create the compact menu of six entrees, five mains and three desserts.

Kick off with golden crisp croquettes, filled with a velvety bechamel enriched with Bellarine truffles and mushrooms or morsels of Moreton Bay bug skewered and scorched and dripping with butter. Western Plains pork belly gets a run, teamed up with pippies and the rich tang of XO. Look out for a dry-aged Angus Scotch fillet from O’Connors with classic potatoes dauphinoise and a lip-smackingly rich mushroom sauce. Chef Wilde has snuck on a parmie under the guise of free-range chicken breaded in crushed saladas and topped with an insanely good Napoli and topped with a cheese fondant.

Don’t stop. Keep going. For there is a luscious and decadent sticky fig pudding with butterscotch sauce and a simple, fair dinkum, apple pie. Being Geelong there is a bent towards Bellarine and Geelong wines on the list but some top tier drops from other Victorian cool climate regions.


What: Great new pub with old-style charm in the heart of Geelong
Where: 189 Moorabool Street, Geelong
When: Fri-Tue 3pm-9pm
Who: Good mates Chef Jackson Wilde and Maitre d’ and owner David Ellis
Why: A pub with an open fire, chesterfield couch and lamb shoulder or dry-aged beef
More Info: Ambergris Hotel

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

Our guide to exploring Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images Mike Emmett

From heart-pounding adventures to award-winning wineries, family adventures, natural escapes, culinary indulgences and so much more, visiting Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula is certain to satisfy any type of traveller.

Wander the laneways and tuck into delicious cafes, enjoy a locally made craft beer in the sunshine at Little Creatures or a tasting paddle at the Queenscliff Distillery. Indulge in a bit of retail therapy in Hesse Precinct Queenscliff; a historic street packed with boutique homewares shops, bookstores, clothing, gifts, eateries and more.

Alternatively explore local wineries and fine dining at the award-winning Provenance Wines where head chef Nathan McIver will make your senses explode with his take on modern Australian cuisine featuring considered, local and seasonal ingredients. Likewise, pack your appetite because La Cachette Bistrot is a fine dining experience worth travelling for. If you’ve got a sweet tooth or you’re travelling with kids, make a stop at Scandinavian Ice cream Co for a real treat.

Bring an empty esky and visit the farm gates and gourmet provedores, there’s no way that esky will come home empty.

Feeling outdoorsy? The Portarlington waterfront is an ideal day at the beach with cafes and accommodation steps away. The recreational reserve area here offers a dog-friendly area, picnic spots, playgrounds and the like. Alternatively, Buckley Falls is a scenic spot to stand in awe of the cascading water into the Barwon River.

There are walking trails here with plenty of spots to stop and take in the view. While you’ve got your comfy walking shoes on, take a stroll along the tracks at the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. Built in 1902, the lighthouse is still manned today. Walking tracks circle the lighthouse and extend down the rocky headland to the beach below.

Feeling nostalgic? The Bellarine Railway in Queenscliff has heritage train rides and special events for kids including Thomas the Tank Engine-themed days and serves as the boarding location for the gourmet Q Train dining experience as well as the popular Blues Train.

Why not stay and explore? While both Geelong and the Bellarine are close enough to make for a great day trip, there’s plenty here to keep you discovering something new and exciting every day. Book your stay at any one of the incredible range of accommodation options from boutique B&Bs to serviced apartments suiting couples, families and even your pooch at the R Hotel. It’s also only a 5-minute walk to the beach!

Families might also enjoy the range of options at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Queenscliff Beacon, it’s perfectly positioned across the road from the beach, at the entrance to Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula. From villas to apartments and campsites, there’s an option for all types of travellers and it features all the facilities Big4 are known for including a tennis court, playground, indoor heated pool, the famous Big4 jumping pillows and more.

Getting There:

Getting to Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula is easy. Geelong is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne and you can continue to the Bellarine just another 20-30 minutes onward along the coastlines, weaving through views of Port Phillip Bay and rolling vineyards.
Alternatively, hop on a V/Line train from Melbourne’s South Cross Station and make your way straight to Geelong. Ferry services also operate between Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, as well as Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula or Geelong Central and Docklands in Melbourne.



Appearing in videos:

Basils Farm
La Cachette
Geelong Cellar Door
R Hotel
Proveance Wines
The Range @ Curlewis
Ingenia Beacon Queenscliff
Portarlington Grand Hotel
The Bookshop at Queenscliff
Bellarine Distillery / The Whiskery
National Wool Museum
Little Creatures

Sydney’s iconic Italian eatery Totti’s is coming to Lorne

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Sydney hospitality group Merivale has announced they are bringing their beloved Italian restaurant Totti’s to the Surf Coast.

In what may one day be known as the act that ended the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, Totti’s Restaurant is set to open on the ground floor of the Lorne Hotel in February 2023, bringing their famous woodfired pizzas and house-made pastas to Victorians for the first time.

At the helm is Surf Coast local chef Matt Germanchis, who is no stranger to fine dining, having worked at some of Melbourne’s top restaurants and with partner Gemma Gage ran the much missed Captain Moonlight in the Anglesea Surf Club. His knowledge of, and knack for, championing local produce will see Totti’s menu tie together its lauded Italian classics with local fare.

The “classic” half of the culinary team is kept in style by Merivale’s Executive Chef Mike Eggert, who is responsible for making all of Totti’s four outlets such successes. He says that Totti’s in Lorne will maintain the same vibe and signature dishes that Sydneysiders have come to love, while also paying homage to its new southern oceanic locale.

“It is an amazing opportunity to bring Totti’s laid-back style and signature dishes to one of the most iconic coastal locations in Australia that is Lorne. Totti’s is a restaurant where you can walk off the beach for a quick bite and glass of wine or stay for a long lunch with friends and families, which fits Lorne to a tee and pairs perfectly with the ‘choose your own adventure’ nature of the menu,” Eggert says.

Lorne’s prime position for seafood will be celebrated across the menu, with the region’s finest local produce on display; from calamari, mussels, and crayfish to King George Whiting. The drinks offering will be filled with crowd-pleasers and a focus on local Victorian vineyards and producers. All to be enjoyed with panoramic views of Louttit Bay and the coastal bush no matter where you are seated in the venue.

This breezy, downtempo atmosphere makes Totti’s the perfect spot for an idle lunch, weeknight dinner, or celebration amongst friends. Both booking and walk-ins will be available.

Totti’s will be taking over from MoVida, who have moved on from the downstairs outpost after Merivale acquired the iconic Lorne Hotel in May 2021. The opening of the relaxed, yet sophisticated Italian restaurant marks the first step in the 150-year-old pub’s new era, which—under Merivale’s experienced team—is set to be defined by the same easy-breezy elegance.

WHAT: Totti’s Lorne
WHERE: The Lorne Hotel | 176 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232
WHEN: February 2023
MORE INFO: Merivale

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

Cantonese classics served up in a historic ballroom just landed at Sorrento’s newest dining destination

Words by Richard Cornish
Images supplied

Hotel Sorrento boasts Cantonese classics in a brand new restaurant Shi Hui Shi housed in a historic ballroom. If you like sea views, crisp white wine, and your prawn toast thick and juicy, then you will love Sorrento’s newest dining destination.

Shi Hui Shi is a Cantonese-influenced restaurant that serves some of the best dishes from the region’s fine dining playbook, such as rich and voluptuous steamed Murray cod, whilst playing on the post-colonial tropes of dishes such as the aforementioned deep-fried prawn toast with whipped cod roe.

The chef is Jerry Yi, formerly sous chef at Red Spice Road. He has created a menu with culinary hits such as chicken truffle dumplings, and chicken and corn spring rolls. Look for punchy dishes like kung po cauliflower and King Ora salmon with the soft tang of Szechuan pepper.

Jerry was originally an interior designer from Tsingtao in Shandong who moved to Australia in 2009 and started his culinary career at the French-influenced Le Cordon Bleu institute. He has layered his understanding of Chinese cuisines with Australian produce, producing dishes such as Peking duck pancakes made with excellent Great Ocean Ducks from the West Coast.

Behind the bar is head mixologist Mel Waller who has a background running distilleries, wineries, and bars on the Mornington Peninsula. Mel has designed a beverage list in Shi Hui Shi that has all the classics with a unique twist, such as the Machatini – an espresso martini with macha powder or a Gingerjito – a fresh cocktail with rum, ginger, lemongrass, and mint topped with soda.

The action takes place within the limestone walls of the Hotel Sorrento’s historic late 1800s ballroom. Back in Sorrento’s halcyon days, when steamships would ferry visitors from Melbourne down the bay, pleasure seekers would dine downstairs and then make their way to the ballroom to dance the night away.

Shi Hui Shi sees the old ballroom taken over by artworks inspired by the eateries of Hong Kong back in the British colonial era of the 1960s, the monumental black and white photographs of Chinese photographer Fan Ho and second-wave Hong Hong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai.

Shi Hui Shi is a fun, flavourful, and fresh take on Cantonese classics in a historic room with an exotic artful twist.


What: New wave Cantonese
When: Open now
Why: Did we say thick prawn toast and whipped cod roe?
Who: Ex Red Spice Road chef Jerry Yi
Where: Hotel Sorrento, 5-15 Hotham Rd, Sorrento
More Info: Hotel Sorrento

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

Australia’s first Six Senses to open in the Dandenong Ranges

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images supplied

A new masterplan for the historic Burnham Beeches estate will see the heritage mansion and 22-hectare grounds transformed into luxury accommodation, restaurant and spa.

Slated for opening in mid-2025, Six Senses will maintain the heritage-listed art deco elegance of the estate located just under an hour from Melbourne, neighbouring Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens. It will be the first Six Senses branded accommodation in Australia.

What was built in the 1930s for a wealthy industrialist Alfred Nichols, has had a bumpy past changing hands regularly over the years, most recently being sold by former Vue de Monde owner and chef Shannon Bennet and his business partner Adam Garrison who were unable to fully see their vision of a hospitality destination come to life. Now having been acquired by Trenerry Consortium, who’ve recently completed an overhaul of the Mornington Peninsula’s The Continental Sorrento, the estate is once again under redevelopment.

With an expected initial 43 guest rooms, Six Senses will also include hospitality venues, including a welcome lounge and terrace, a restaurant with outdoor seating, a library bar, and a rooftop retreat. Accommodation layout will vary slightly over the mansion’s three main wings and offer a decadent retreat filled with luxury, character, and quirky touches. Six Senses will aim to also incorporate a two-bedroom cottage and unique glamping experience over time.

A sensory fest promises to await guests as the sprawling farm gardens will provide fruit and vegetables for the restaurants and the herb garden will produce healing and aromatic plants for use in Alchemy Bar and Six Senses Spa treatments. The Six Senses Spa will offer a regenerative escape with a welcome lounge and boutique, tea lounge, treatment rooms, gym, hydro area and sauna, and comfy relaxation spaces.

“For Six Senses Burnham Beeches is to be regenerative, it will not be a static place,” says Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs. “We’ll evolve and respond to bring the rich heritage of Burnham Beeches to life, inviting moments of exploration, discovery, connection to nature, and delight through interactive gastronomy, wellness, and sustainability experiences.”

The masterplan also includes plans for a Village Square, giving hotel guests and locals access to an additional collection of hospitality venues including The Hearth, The Barn, Steak House, The Baker, Brew House, and Providore.

Burnham Beeches, Sherbrooke, and Nicholas Gardens are connected by a series of walking trails that weave throughout the site. Guests will be able to explore the historical, ecological, cultural, and indigenous stories from Burnham Beeches and the Wurundjeri and Kulin nation lands, incorporated into the art, architecture, signage, and landscaping throughout the grounds.

The Details

What: Luxury accommodation, restaurant and spa
When: Opening in mid-2025
Where: 1 Sherbrooke Road, Sherbrooke
Find out more: Burnham Beeches

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

Drop and flop, or hike and surf; The OHO guide to the beachside resort of Lorne

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

Halfway between Geelong and Cape Otway, the village Lorne sits on either side of the Erskine river as it flows into Louttit bay.

The town originally survived on fishing and timber logging until the Great Ocean Road was extended in 1922, unleashing a constant flow of caravan-towing tourists seeking seaside frivolity.

More recently the development of luxury apartments draws a sophisticated crowd who break up a day of sunbathing, surfing and fishing with quality coffee and high-end dining.

Use our itinerary below to rediscover the coastal haven of Lorne and surrounds.

Everything you need to know about the MFWF Gippsland takeover

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Each year, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival celebrates the produce and the people that make eating in Victoria great. But it’s not just merrymaking in the CBD. As part of this years Regional Edition, the festival is pitching up in Gippsland’s tiny town of Thorpdale for one weekend of food, fun and wonder.

You may not have heard of Thorpdale. Home to just 180 humans (and a few more potatoes), you’d be forgiven. But when MFWF comes rolling in on Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 November, there’ll be nowhere in the state with as much culinary star power. The grassy hamlet will host two very full days of activities, demonstrations and tastings, with some of the biggest and brightest stars in Victoria and Australia’s culinary scene. So strap yourself in for our full rundown of this weekend of indulgence.

The Village Feast

First stop on this extravaganza: The Village Feast. This is the “umbrella event” from which all good things flow. This ticketed event—purchased as individual day passes via the MFWF website—is almost like a country fair, but with next level food and drink. Punters can stroll through the 19th Century town (which we hear has been given a fresh lick of paint), stop by the various pop-ups, markets, and stalls to fill up their tummies and tote bags with top-tier produce.

An exceptional array of Gippsland food, wines, beers, ciders and spirits will be flowing across the day and across locations. Beloved Argentinian-born, Gippsland-championing chef Alejandro Saravia from Farmer’s Daughters and Victoria will be dishing up his deli classics with a twist. Danielle Alvarez, former head chef of Sydney’s Fred’s restaurant, will be slinging her famous choripan, a decadent hot-chorizo-on-a-bun type situation. Tasmanian chef and How Wild Things Are author Analiese Gregory will be cooking up a storm on the grill. While Trout tartare with Baw Baw wild herbs and gaufrette potatoes will be grilling on charcoal under the guidance of Hogget chef Trevor Perkins.

And that’s just for starters. There’ll be desserts and other sweet treats made by the talented Patti Chimkire from Mali Bakes. Gippsland wines will be poured by the experts at a pop-up wine bar inside the former general store. And some of Thorpdale’s homegrown heroes are set to be baking pies and potato bread at the Thorpdale Bakery.

Of course, no day in Gippsland would be complete without sampling some of the region’s famous dairy. Sallie Jones from Gippsland Jersey is at the helm, accompanied by The Fromagerie by Loch Grocer and That’s Amore Cheese to dole out milkshakes, cheese platters and cannoli.

While you let the food settle, you can head off to one of many Meet the Maker booths dotted around the main drag to learn about the region’s produce from the growers and makers including a paint n sip’ express workshops from acclaimed Gippsland artist Lucy Hersey. Or try your hand at creating a bouquet at a flower market setup by the ladies from Pepperberry Flora and Quite Contrary Flower Farm .

The Community Table, hosted by our very own Richard Cornish, will bring together chefs, farmers and special guests to share their knowledge. Hands-on experiences are encouraged.

Live Music

No country fair is complete without live music, so MFWF has partnered with Always Live to corral a hoard of talented acts to play across the The Village Feast.

Saturday 19th features Grace Cummings, a folk-rock musician whose recent album has earned her a global audience. Her set comes mid-afternoon at 2.15pm. Also featured across the day: avant-garde electronic duo Tim Shiel and Mindy Meng Wang, South Gippsland-born singer-songwriter William Blackley, and epic jazz eight-piece Jazzparty.

The darling of Triple j, Mia Wray, whose powerful voice has seen her indie-pop ballads skyrocket in popularity, is playing a mid-afternoon set on Sunday 20 November. Also on Sunday, Melbourne’s cult band Dorsal Fins, now a trio, are playing their horn-infused funk-pop at 2.15pm. They’re supported by Pirritu, proud Wangaaypuwan mayi of the Ngiyampaa clan, whose songs are stories: sad and sweet. And Australia’s answer to HAIM, Little Quirks, is playing a folk-pop set at 1pm.

The Village Feast Weekender

If all this excitement has got you thinking “I need to book accommodation in Gippsland and stretch this out for a full weekend” you are in good hands. The festival has organised four extra food and wine adventures to max out your weekend. Breakfast, lunches, dinners prepared by the most celebrated chefs are now available to book.

On the evening of Friday 18 November, Embla x Hogget Kitchen is kicking off the feast with a mighty city-country collab in Warragul. Dave Verheul is joining his country cousin Trevor Perkins to create a fresh, flame-grilled, farm-to-table feast. Enjoyed in stand-up, family-style way, this romp will leave your belly full and eager to enjoy the rest of the festival.

The Gippsland Farmers’ Grazing Brunch will ease you into Saturday morning. A general admission ticket will see you enter the Warragul Farmers’ Market at the leafy Civic Park and sample some of the regions spoils at the hot breakfast buffet and grazing tables.

An epic lunch is set to be served at Thorpdale Town Hall on Saturday, with Provenance, Fire & Wine by Alejandro Saravia. The celebrated chef, whose love for Gippsland produce is evident at his restaurant CBD Farmer’s Daughter, is cooking a five-course menu over a campfire. A scrumptious blend of European technique, his Latin American heritage, and the finest Gippsland produce, this is one not to be missed.

Seize the last day of the festival with Wake Up With A Winemaker where wine from A.R.C Wines, Bandicoot Run, Cannibal Creek Vineyard, Fleet Wines and Lightfoot Wines are poured by the winemakers themselves, alongside a European-style breakfast banquet. Arranged by one of Gippsland’s most charming eateries Meeniyan’s Trulli Pizzeria & Bakehouse, there will be fresh pastries, charcuterie, cheese, bacon and egg burgers, breakfast focaccia, yoghurts and fruit.

Tickets for each event are selling fast and accommodation options are also filling up quickly. You can head to Visit Gippsland or Airbnb to find available spaces.

WHAT: Village Feast & The Village Feast Weekender from MFWF
WHERE: Gippsland
WHEN: Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November
TICKETS: $32 Early Bird price / $45 Full Price 
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

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

The oldest weatherboard hotel in the state opens its doors again

Words by Richard Cornish
Images supplied

It’s the oldest weatherboard hotel in the state and it has re-opened with a glamourous new interior and a brand-new menu. The Cumberland Hotel has stood at the corner of Daylesford- Clunes Road and Creswick-Newstead Road in Smeaton, 22 km west of Daylesford, since 1861.

The single-story pub is cloaked in hand-hewn hardwood weatherboards with sprawling bull-nosed verandas abutting the classic Victorian frontier main building. New owners Caleb Consiglio and his husband James bring a wealth of experience in hospitality to the old pub. The interior has authentic navy blue and gold Victorian wallpaper with emerald green, brass and black colourway in the private dining room.

“Smeaton was a rich gold mining town,” says Caleb. It was a place of vast wealth and opulence and we wanted to capture some of the excess of the era.

The pair are also conscious that The Cumberland servers as a social hub and have made the pub an inclusive place with an outdoor beer garden complete with supplied picnic blankets to take some classic bar dishes outside.

A ploughman’s board could kick off some lightly spiced Buffalo popcorn cauliflower, chicken satay skewers and lemon myrtle calamari with a tangy lime aioli made with Phoenix extra virgin olive oil from the grove a few kilometres away. The kitchen is supplied by local providores such as Tonna’s in Daylesford and Daylesford Meat Co. supplying free-range grass-fed beef for the nearly half kilogram chargrilled porterhouse served with creamy mash and oodles of gravy. The pub doors officially opened on October 20th with bookings open now.


What: Historic pub with a classic menu
Where: 3504 Creswick-Newstead Rd, Smeaton
When: October 20 and beyond
Why: History and food
More Info: The Cumberland Hotel

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