A spring time tour of Manningham

Recently the team at One Hour Out were invited to explore Manningham in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. What we found was an incredibly diverse mix of residential suburbs and verdant riverside parklands.

The region includes some of Victoria’s most engaging art experiences and the eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping is second to none. The northern edge of Manningham is marked by the Yarra River that winds its way down from the Yarra Valley towards the city, with endless walking trails, picnic locations and playgrounds.

Come and join us as we explore this outstanding region.

Your Guide to the Goulburn River and Ranges

The Goulburn River might not have the PR team of the mighty Murray but as Victoria’s longest river it has long been a part of peoples’ daily lives. It is the region’s lifeline of agriculture, a cultural and historic touchstone as well as a magnet for outdoor activities.

Your road trip offers so many waterways to choose from, including one of Victoria’s largest man-made lakes, enchanting waterfalls and secluded fishing spots. No matter the season, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking scenery, pretty little towns and down to earth hospitality as you wind your way through this special part of central Victoria – all within a short, easy drive out of Melbourne.

Here’s an itinerary to get you started.

Choose your own adventure: Exploring the You Yangs & Moorabool Valley

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

They say life is all about balance, a bit of yin with your yang, so to speak. We all know that getting outside to blow away the cobwebs is not only good for the body, but it’s also good for the soul. We’ve rounded up a host of activities in the Moorabool Valley and You Yangs area to get you out and about and sweetened it with some treats for afterwards.

Walking MelbourneYou Yangs Regional Park

You’ve definitely seen them from across the bay, or perhaps from the city’s outskirts, those hills on the horizon. The You Yangs (Wurdi Youang) are a group of 24km long granite outcrops an hour southwest of Melbourne near the town of Little River. Time to pay them a visit!

Topping out at 319m is the park’s highest point, Flinders Peak. Those who make the 3.2km one-hour return walk will be well-rewarded with stunning views across the volcanic plains back towards Melbourne or south to Geelong.

From the eastern lookout, the eagle-eyed will also spy the geoglyph of Bunjil, creator spirit of the Wadawurrung people, traditional custodians of the region. Artist Andrew Rogers utilised 1500 tonnes of granite and limestone rock to form the wedge-tail eagle geoglyph, in recognition of the Wadawurrung people’s connection to the land.

Iconic Australian painter Fred Williams was known to spend much time painting en plein air in the region. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to create your own masterpiece?

Bike Riding MelbourneIf you’re the type who likes to get the blood really pumping, you might like to bring your mountain bike and hit some of the 50km of purpose-built trails across two dedicated zones. Maybe horse riding, orienteering, rock-climbing, abseiling or bushwalking is more your speed? If so, there are dozens of trails from the family-friendly through to the more challenging to choose from.

If that all sounds a little exhausting, you could always try your hand at some birdwatching or perhaps a gentle stroll to one of the nine designated picnic areas.

The You Yangs Regional Park is open every day from 7am and closing at 5pm (6pm from Daylight Savings). Access to the park from the Princes Freeway is signposted via Lara. Facilities include picnic areas (barbecues, tables and toilets available) as well as drinking water available from the Visitors Centre.

Serendip Sanctuary Wildlife Park

Melbourne wildlife
© Barbara Dawn

Only 10 minutes further south is the Serendip Sanctuary. Soak in the serenity or explore some of the 250ha of wetlands and grassy woodlands. Experience your own close encounter with some native wildlife on one of the popular and wheelchair-accessible nature trails. Spot a mob of emus, Eastern Grey kangaroos or even a Tawny Frogmouth from one of the many bird hides.

With an emphasis on education, the sanctuary offers a Junior Rangers Program for families during school holidays as well as downloadable DIY activity sheets. Discover how some of Victoria’s most threatened species are being protected at the sanctuary’s education facility, old school and screen-free.

Serendip Sanctuary is open every day except Christmas Day & Good Friday from 8am until 4pm. Facilities include picnic areas, barbecues, tables, toilets and drinking water.

Brisbane Ranges National Park

National Parks MelbourneDrive half an hour west and you’ve arrived at Brisbane Ranges National Park and Steiglitz Historic Park. Ten points if you time your visit for spring’s magnificent wildflower displays including the rarely seen Velvet Daisy-bush and Brisbane Ranges Grevillea.

But first let’s start the adrenaline racing with some rock-climbing, abseiling, horse riding, kayaking/rafting or bushwalking (trails range from a couple of hours to several days). Camping areas with tank water and pit toilets available, bookings required. Picnic areas include wood barbecues, tables and toilets.

As with any visit to the great outdoors, best to check forecasted weather as well as location conditions. Visit Parks Victoria for more information.

Reckon you’ve earned a reward or two?

Farmers Market MelbourneFortunately, an area so rich in outdoor activities is also blessed with a cornucopia of food and drink choices.

Golden Plains Farmers Market is held the first Saturday of every month and is the ideal place to begin. If you miss that, no matter; the region is well placed with a slew of farm gates and providores.

Moorabool Valley Chocolate Pick up some handmade truffles made with the freshest ingredients from this family-owned small business.

Meredith Dairy The Cameron family have been responsibly and sustainably farming sheep and goats since the early 1990s, creating one of Australia’s most iconic farmhouse cheeses which are now exported to the world.

Inverleigh Bakehouse An old-school country bakery is a thing of beauty and this converted 1868 homestead doesn’t disappoint with artisan breads as well as tempting pastries and cakes.

Clyde ParkBread cheese and chocolate – tick! Now you need something to drink. Thankfully this cool climate wine region offers boutique wineries, renowned cellar doors and winery restaurants both large and small, so you’re sure to find one to suit.

Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro Step into the cellar door and secure a spot by the fire before tasting through their award-winning wines whilst taking in sweeping views over the Moorabool Valley. This family-friendly bistro is open daily offering everything from a quick nibble through to a three-course meal.

Del Rios Wines Enjoy a long, lazy lunch centred around their estate-grown produce (including Black Angus beef) complemented by an extensive wine portfolio.

No doubt this has whet your appetite to explore the region. You’ll only wonder what took you so long.

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

Hume City – the ideal weekend destination

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

An abundance of food options, some of Victoria’s oldest wineries, rolling greens hills and an abundance of quality accommodation, Hume City is the perfect weekend getaway without the gruelling long drive.  As part of the upcoming Hume Winter Lights Festival, we head out  to explore this vibrant and diverse outer region.

The Hume City region sits on the outer north of Greater Melbourne, starting from the Metropolitan Ring road on its southern end and stretching north right up past Sunbury and east to the developing suburbs of Campbellfield and Craigieburn. The Gunung-Willam-Balluk clan have an unbroken connection to the land that dates back 40,000 years. 

Today, Hume City is one of Australia’s fastest growing regions, however, the agricultural history is still evident throughout.  Woodlands Historic Park is a state park where you’ll find a rare example of a large pre-constructed timber kit house imported from Britain and constructed in 1863. The property is also home to the The Living Legends tours, where visitors can get up close to champion race horses who are now in retirement. The homestead is surrounded by magnificent heritage gardens and to make your visit complete, visitors can find respite in the homestead cafe between 10am-3.30pm each day for their famous ​​Devonshire Tea.

Living Legends Woodlands Historic Park

For those seeking something a little more adventurous, Hume City is also home to Australia’s first surf park. URBNSURF was opened to much fanfare in January 2021 and features a wave machine that can generate up to 1000 waves per hour. The shape and speed of the wave can be controlled, resulting in scheduled sessions throughout the day that are designed for surfers at varying levels. Urbnsurf is a truly full day experience with other activities such as yoga, skating and a hot tub with views across the surfing lagoon. The onsite restaurant from Three Blue Ducks serves up quality grilled meats, burgers and salads for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Surfing Hume

Hume City is blessed with a huge variety of options for even the most fussy of foodies. O’Shanassy Street in Sunbury has quickly become a popular destination for eating out with its tree-lined streetscape and alfresco dining. The east side of Hume City is a treasure trove of international cuisines. Falafel Moudy is a demonstration of falafel expertise. In Craigieburn, Shisha Basha is a homage to the very best of Middle Eastern cuisine and Baladi Lebanese Bakery in Roxburgh park will have you lined up for their outrageously good cheese and spinach fatayers.

Travellers to Hume City are often surprised to find that a region so close to the city is host to quality cool-climate wineries and cellar doors. Arundel Farm Estate is set on 300 acres of prime farmland on the Keilor valley. 20 acres are under vine, predominately with shiraz and viognier. Guests to the cellar door can enjoy a free wine tasting every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In 2018 a 200 seat restaurant was added to the property with a  focus on traditional and modern Italian food. Guests can select from the a la carte menu with entree options including grilled Western Australian octopus and mains of fresh market fish cooked Neapolitan style or a rolled porchetta served with a fennel and saffron puree and roasted apple. The pasta and wood-fired pizzas are also very popular and a favourite for families.

North-west of here, on the edge of Sunbury sits Craiglee Vineyard. This historic bluestone winery was originally built in 1863 by prominent businessman and parliamentarian James Stewart Johnston, making it one of Australia’s oldest working vineyards. These days visitors come for the award-winning cool-climate shiraz and chardonnay crafted by winemaker Patrick Carmody, who opens the cellar door to guests on the first Sunday of the month.

Marnong Estate sits on the border of the Sunbury Wine Region – one of Victoria’s oldest wine regions. Planted out in 2016, the low average temperatures are perfect for shiraz, pinot grigio, chardonnay and pinot grigio. The property includes luxurious accommodation and three dining options. La Vètta is an invitation to experience the best of high-end Italian dining. Cucina 3064 is a relaxed and casual Italian trattoria for the whole family. Lastly, guests can pick up a fresh panini and a bottle of Marnong Chardonnay from Caffè Vista for the perfect lawn picnic.

Marnong Estate

Being so close to Melbourne Airport means the region has an abundance of other accommodation options such as ParkRoyal Melbourne Airport, Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport, and the cute bucolic cabins at Airport Tourist Village.

Positioned right on the edge of where the city meets the country means that Hume City has an abundance of places for visitors to get close to nature. The Nook is a quiet little parkland close to the centre of Sunbury, with a delightful duck pond at its centre. Jack Roper Reserve in Broadmeadows features an adventure playground and walking trails around a picturesque lake that is sometimes stocked with trout ready for the keen angler. To really get a lay of the land, head to Mount Ridley Lookout. This well maintained green space has spectacular views across Craigieburn and right through to the city of Melbourne. On a sunny day, families gather here to enjoy a picnic and to let the kids burn off some energy on the playground and rolling down the hill.

Hume Winter Festival

The annual Hume Winter Lights Festival (Saturday 17 June), is an award-winning winter event withe live music, light projections, roving performances, workshops and more.  However, as you can see the Hume City has far more than can be possibly expressed in a one day festival, rather it is a fascinating place of contrasts that reveals itself fully only to the regular explorer. 


What: Stay and Play in Hume City for the Hume Winter Lights Festival (June 17)
Where: 30-minute drive North of Melbourne CBD, a 45-minute train ride from Flinders Street Station, or a 5-20 minute drive from Melbourne Airport.
More inspiration: @discoverhume

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

A generational shift for an established Goulburn Valley cellar door

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Since the end of the lockdowns, we hear many stories of the struggles faced by the hospitality operators across regional Victoria. However, in a winery in the Goulburn Valley, a chance conversation became a catalyst for a realignment of values and new opportunities.

Both Hannah and Tess had returned to the Shepparton region with their partners at the start of Covid with Hannah now a well-experienced events manager and Tess honing branding and design skills at a Melbourne studio. The two were introduced by their respective partners and instantly hit it off, deciding to entwine their skills sets to create Rye Studio.

Shepparton Winery

Rye studio quickly gained a formidable reputation for crafting exquisite branding and management for events, weddings and festivals across the region. Established Dookie winery Tallis Wine became a loyal customer and it was in discussions with the owners that a new opportunity arose.

Richard and Alice Tallis have been growing fruit on the ancient Cambrian soil of the Dookie Hills for more than 25 years, dedicated to estate-grown varietals that embrace the warmer client like shiraz, cabernet, grenache, sangiovese. At the end of Covid, Alice and Richard decided managing a cellar door was a distraction from their passion for winemaking and it was here that Hannah and Tess saw an opportunity to take the reins and reimagine what a cellar door can be.

‘Tess and I both have a love of design, curated events and hospitality with a dedication to the Goulburn Valley’s producers, farmers and local businesses. Running a new wine bar at the amazing Tallis property allows us to do that on a greater scale.’ Explains Hannah.

With fresh eyes and great skill, Hannah and Tess’ reimagined wine bar marks a changing of the guard for the Goulburn Valley wine region. Along-side the full range of Tallis Wines they are now serving a small list of other favourite wines, local gins and wildly fun beers from Shepparton’s Wild Life Brewing Co and Shepparton Brewery. As we find out from Hannah, the menu is quite the shift away from your standard cheese platter too.

Winery Shepparton

‘We’ve simply modernised the food expectation of a regional cellar door, with a tapas style menu that includes buratta served with seasonal local veggies, anchovy garlic bread and warm olives with bay leaves, chili and lemon. For those seeking a full lunch, we do have some more substantial items on the menu like arancini with red pesto and chicken goujons with aioli with can be matched with a Salad verde’.

Monthly special events will keep the offering fresh and exciting. The first of which was a special set-menu to celebrate Mother’s Day that quickly sold out. These special events will continue now that Hannah and Tess have a new chef coming on board before the end of the month. Keep an eye on the Rye at Tallis social media account for a local Sunday roast, Italian pasta day or a colourful Mexican fiesta!

The two seem to have an unlimited resource for inspiration, as Hannah tells us that they are currently seeking to install a wood fired pizza oven, with plans to offer guests a cocktail menu as well. Their experience with weddings and corporate events mean plans are also afoot to cater for larger events.

The cellar door itself is a fantastic space for long table corporate lunches and workshops and we have the opportunity to utilise an area up on the hill to set up a marquee to host larger events and weddings.

This is the sort of energy that we love to see coming into regional hospitality, with Hannah and Tess really showing the industry what the next generation are capable of. We are excited to be witness to the metamorphosis of this much loved cellar door.


What: Reimagined Wine Bar
Where: 5 Major Plains Rd, Dookie
When: Thursday to Sunday 11am – 5pm
More info: Rye at Tallis

Mt Stapylton Wines

Farming is a hard business, it’s usually something you are born into rather than decide to take up by choice. The desire to stay with it comes from growing up within the landscape, its spirit creeping into the sinew of each generation. For Robert Staehr, continuing with grain and sheep grazing on the family farm set in the Wartook Valley was always a given, winemaking however was a matter of serendipity when the neighbouring vineyard came on the market.

The established rows of Shiraz were complimented by the planting of Grenache, and under the guidance of winemaker Leigh Clarnette (Seppelt, Taltarni, Clarnette Wines) bottling commenced under the Mount Stapylton brand, named in honour of the iron-rich sandstone cliffs that overlook the vineyard.

The vineyard is the most northern of the Grampians region, with the extra warmth resulting in a vigorous canopy and early picking without the loss of acidity while maintaining plenty of flavour. The results are an easy-drinking, approachable wine, and with extra fruit brought in from regions close by, the winery portfolio now includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

At the end of 2021, the old cow shed was converted into one of the tiniest (and cutest) cellar doors you are likely to come across. The bar is surfaced with pressed metal sourced from the property homestead, and here visitors can indulge in a wine tasting and gain deeper insight into the winemaking process and philosophy.

When things get chilly, the fire pit will likely get fired up, where visitors can soak in the views across the property and chat about all things farming. We love these down-and-dirty encounters with farmers that are void of pretension and rich in connection.

More details about the region can be found here.

The long-awaited restaurant opens at Mount Monument and it’s everything we hoped for

Words and images by Jay Dillon

It’s the cellar door and sculpture park that’s been wowing people since it opened at the base of a mamelon (a rocky mound created from volcanic activity) in 2019. Now, a fine-dining restaurant has opened at the front of the building with views across the vineyard towards Mount William and Lancefield.

Chef Ben Salt is a local of nearby Gisborne and has created a four-course set menu for diners ($75pp) with a focus on showcasing local producers, producing minimal waste and complimenting the estate’s cold climate wine varieties.

First course features our favourite cheese makers from Castlemaine ‘The Long Paddock Cheese’ and a selection of cured meats. Next is a kingfish crudo served with citrus slices, pickled fennel and sprigs on top. The main on our visit was the option of a confit duck leg with Shiraz glaze or pork belly soy chilli caramel sauce. The menu changes with the seasons, so check the website when booking to find out what you are in for.

There is also the option to enjoy smaller dishes from the kitchen in the cellar door area like pea and mint arancini and vibrant burrata with this season’s heirloom tomatoes and basil leaves. We highly recommend the oysters with Mt Monument Riesling Mignonette, matched beautifully with a glass of their 2022 Heathcote Greco.

Mount Monument Winery

It’s only the third weekend of the restaurant opening which is a partnership between owners of the property, architects Nonda Katsalidis and Jane Collins with local hospitality veteran Georgia Veitenheimer-Bradwell and the Lewis family.

The fit-out is quite industrial in aesthetic. The truss frame is painted rust red to compliment the simple concrete prefabricated tilt slab with high ceilings. Small sculptural pieces on the back wall are prototypes and ideas developed by Nonda for the sculpture park. The furnishings are dark wood and create a stark silhouette against the light emanating from the windows that look East across the property.

We love how each new addition to this Macedon winery is slowly revealed to us and always comes with a surprising twist, rumours are that the next addition is a small eco accommodation option on the western side of the property with views over Hesket, hanging rock and the stunning sunsets. Stay tuned.


What: New restaurant for Mount Monument Wines
When: Friday 11am – 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am – 4pm
1399 Romsey Rd, Romsey
How Much: Set course $75pp
More Info: Mount Monument

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

Our guide to the best of West Gippsland that’ll have you loving it as much as a local

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images supplied

Full of small communities with big hearts and naturally beautiful stretches of farmland, forest walks, waterfalls and locally-made gourmet food and wine, the West Gippsland region is full of incredible experiences.

Pack up the car for an unforgettable adventure. Here’s our guide to some of the best local experiences.

Where to Eat

Eating Out West GippslandFor the last 100 years or more, the region has been predominantly used for dairy production making it a natural evolution to become a tasty destination for cheeses, locally grown produce and winemakers. All this equates to gourmet goods and chefs utilising some of the finest hyper-local ingredients.

Keen on something a little fancy? The hatted Hoggett Kitchen in Warragul specialises in nose-to-tail dining where you can enjoy a wide array of the region’s best produce in one location with views that are equally as special. The decked dining area at Brandy Creek Estate offers a quiet place for a drink and a bite with equally impressive views.

If it’s the casual fare you’re after, Frankies is a local fave amid brunchers with killer coffee, fresh breakfast rolls, toasties and more. If the timing is right, hit up the Warragul Farmers’ Market at Civic Park on the third Saturday of each month where you can gather up the gourmet goods from cheeses to olive oils, fresh bread and so much more to enjoy later.

Outdoor Adventures

West Gipplands WalksLace up the hiking boots, take the stairs up and walk the 21-metre-high boards of Victoria’s tallest wooden trestle bridge. Cycle or hike through gorgeous bushland on the 6-kilometre (return) Noojee Trestle Bridge Rail Trail from the town of Noojee to the Noojee Trestle Bridge. The mostly flat trail is great for families, beginners or those looking for a leisurely ride.

The walk around Toorongo Falls is pretty spectacular with places to picnic with the birdsong overhead. The 2.2 km return walk takes roughly 40 minutes but no rush, you’ll want to take your time here.

Want something more heart-pounding? Take the Blue Dirt shuttle to the top of Mount Baw Baw and mountain bike your way down. There are three difficulty levels for the three-kilometre descent; each one is nothing short of thrilling.

Melbourne’s closest downhill ski resort, Mt Baw Baw is incredibly popular during the snow season when skiers, snowboarders and snow revellers flock to the destination. Visiting during the off-peak green season offers the option of mountain biking and hiking.

History and Culture

WalhallaIt’s hard to visit and not appreciate the history and culture here, so make it a point to visit the mining town of Walhalla where you can explore the ghost towns and historic villages.

Following the discovery of a three-kilometre gold vein running through Walhalla in the 19th century, it surged to house thousands of gold seekers, but today this quiet town is home to roughly 20. Here you can learn about the life of miners, pan for gold at Stringers Creek, explore the old buildings including hotels, shops and churches as well as take a tour down into the long gold mines. Fancy a scare? The ghost tour at the old cemetery might be right up your alley.

The Walhalla Goldfields Railway also runs through some incredible scenery during the 60-minute ride crossing over several trestle bridges. If you stand on the outside platform at the front of the train, you can also get incredible photos.

Wine Down

Wineries West GippslandThis region does pinot noir pretty well, but the cool climate here means there’s much more varieties to enjoy. With a huge array of cellar doors to choose from, you won’t be stuck for options.

Make it a point to visit Ripplebrook Winery, bringing a bit of Sicily to West Gippsland. Giuseppes, the cellar door and restaurant named for the owner’s father, is open on weekends and features some seriously tasty drops that pair well with their shareable menu.

Another worthy stop is Cannibal Creek Winery. Despite the dubious name, the beautifully designed winery and cellar door (open daily) has a beautiful bar to enjoy guided tastings with a cheese and charcuterie board or an indulgent creamy pasta dish.

For those seeking a brew, Five Aces Brewing Co and Bandolier Brewing are your go-to spots for cold ones. Family-owned Bandolier Brewery’s range is inspired by breweries from around the globe, which is why you can enjoy a Belgian Blonde, a Mexican-style lager and an Irish Cream Porter all in Warragul. In Neerim South, Five Aces is also family-owned and operated, serving small-batch craft beer and a menu that pays homage to Gippsland’s quality produce. Their standard brews are always at the ready with a ‘random ace’ tap always pouring a new recipe/style to try.

No doubt this has whet your appetite to explore the region. You’ll only wonder what took you so long.

Getting There

Getting to West Gippsland is easy. From Melbourne, take the South Gippsland Highway from the Princes Highway from Dandenong. By car, the journey will have you at the gateway to West Gippsland in just under two hours and in Walhalla in roughly 2.5 hours.

Alternatively, hop on a V/Line train and make your way to Warragul in roughly the same time.

Follow this trail for the hidden breweries, distilleries and wineries of the Macedon Ranges

It’s the little wine region that could!

Macedon Ranges might not be as internationally well known as the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula regions, but its popularity is growing fast.

Throughout the month of April, local businesses will host the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival and it’s the perfect time to explore every nook and cranny of this burgeoning cold-climate region.

To help you get started, we have created a Tipple Trail – a self-guided journey to discover the huge collection of artisan distillers, breweries and cellar doors hidden throughout the region.

Plan out your trip with the map below and for more details and extra itinerary options, check out the itineraries page on the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival website.



The Details
What: Tipple Trail – Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival
Where: Macedon Ranges
When: April 1 – 30, 2023
Getting there: Drive, Train and Shuttle
Where to stay:  Accommodation in the Macedon Ranges
More information

Fine dining in Albury with a singular vision for the menu

Words & images by Richard Cornish

Glenbosch on Dean Street, Albury, is the brand-new culinary flagship for Glenbosch Winery in Everton Upper. Winemaker Dirk Bester and his wife and restaurateur Nika moved to the Northeast from Swartland in the Western Cape of South Africa.

They opened the winery three years on the site of an existing business. They expanded operations to include a distillery and a restaurant. Two weeks ago, they opened the doors to their new cellar door and fine dining restaurant in the historic Australia Building in the heart of Albury, a short walk from the train station.

The cellar door is a light and welcoming space with loads of charming traditional Cape-style touches from the Dutch-influenced glazed tiles at the entrance, the animal horn chandeliers, and the lime-wood booths and wooden tables. This is a tasting room for the wines made at the winery, about an hour to the south near Beechworth, and a bar. Come during the day to taste the cool climate wines made by Dirk.

Smoke from the 2020 fires meant he needed to bring in fruit from elsewhere, but his 2021 chardonnay shows his skill in the traditional French style of winemaking. Dirk explores his Swartland roots in the Glenbosch gins with one flavoured with rooibos, the herbal tea grown in Swartland. Enjoy four wines or three gins with matching food for $25, or taste the drinks without the food match for $15. Lunchtime from Thursday to Saturday sees a chef’s choice lunch menu, perhaps a choice of steak or tuna.

Pass through a set of heavy wooden doors to the dining room, a sparse historic, industrial space with polished concrete floors, bare brick walls, and timber joists of the floor above and tables topped with a thick veneer made from an old butcher’s block. In the open kitchen, you can see Chef Chris de Jongh plating up. He’s an acolyte of the molecular gastronomy school of cuisine and alumni of the great South African restaurant La Colombe, rated 56th in the 2022 World’s 50 Best Restaurants. His set menu is a singular representation of his journey through the countries of the world that has influenced his technique-rich style of cooking based on excellent produce.

The nine-course menu, with an option of buying in at just five, takes diners around the globe with a cavalcade of beautifully presented and expertly executed dishes. The first course sees a brisee pastry tartlet lined with horseradish cream and smoked kangaroo. Then there’s a trip to India with the crisp round shell of a pan puri filled with potato curry topped with a cooling cucumber and coriander gel.

Served in a pot of succulents decorated with a smoking cinnamon quill, it is beautiful and theatrical. There could be a single oyster with mint and black garlic served on a bed of dry ice or a tile of pressed beef shorted rib laid out on the end of a cleaned trimmed rib and topped with salsa verde and a sweet and sour sauce from Cape Malay. Eaten straight off the bone, the flavours are straight from the Cape.

Another stand-out dish is what appears to be a jug with a candle. It is actually filled with liquid beef fat that is poured out onto a plate with a Japanese milk bun which is used to sop up the fat, and clay pot filled with onion jam, emulsion and soil. While there is some dissonance between the slightly gloomy dining room and the bright theatrical style of the menu, those who like the playful excess of molecular cuisine should be impressed by the food alone. The floor staff has an old-world difference that helps play to the exuberance and sheer fun of the dishes. With Albury and Wodonga being joined at the hip, it is OK to say that regional Victoria now has another dining destination.

The Details

What: Molecular fine dining in the heart of Albury
Who: Chef Chris de Jongh, ex-Cape Town
Where: 453 Dean Street, Albury
Why: Seriously fun, flavourful, well-executed multi-course degustation
When: Open now
More Info: Glenbosch

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