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

Words by Teyha Nicholls
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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.

Latin American cuisine is now cooking in the heart of East Gippsland

Words by Teyha Nicholls
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East Gippsland has never been known for its Latin American dining scene, but there’s a new restaurant setting out to change all that.

Arturo’s Latin Cuisine Restaurant is busting open the repertoire with authentic Peruvian, Argentinian and Colombian dishes for lunch and dinner. Charcoal-grilled meat plates and tapas with traditional spices have been flying out of the kitchen for one month now, something owner Mark Wheeldon couldn’t be happier about — both professionally and personally.

“I left [Gippsland] at 19 and returned at 54. I was sort of semi-retired when I saw this venue and contacted my friend, Arturo, who is a Peruvian chef. I said to him, “c’mon we’re going to start up a restaurant,” Mark explains.

Arturo, who emigrated from Peru six years ago, was cooking in the RACV City Club kitchen before the pandemic hit. But like many other venues, customer shortages during 2020 meant several staff were forced to find other work so Arturo found a job in a factory.  Fast forward two years and the duo are breaking new ground by building one of Gippsland’s finest Latin American restaurants.

We don’t call it a restaurant, we call it a venue. It’s somewhere people come to experience some nice food, to chat with friends. There’s a certain sort of ambience to it.

That ambience was designed by Mark’s niece, an interior designer with an intimate knowledge of what makes a venue sing. The team completely renovated what once was an uninspired 1960’s brick shopfront into a modern, glass-fronted restaurant with subtle homages to Latin America. The space feels bright yet warm, spacious yet cosy and, of course, the lake view is the hero.

“Arturo’s is all about helping out a friend, giving me something to do and also doing something unique in Paynesville. And that’s what we’ve done.”

WHAT: Arturo’s Latin Cuisine Restaurant
WHERE: 59 Esplanade, Paynesville
WHEN: Thursday – Sunday 10:30 am –9:00 pm
MORE INFO: Arturo’s Latin Cuisine Restaurant

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

Seriously good bagels are happening at Out of Order cafe in Bendigo

Words by Tehya Nicholas
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Despite society’s best efforts to eschew carbohydrates, the humble bagel has us in a chokehold. From its beginnings in Europe through to its migration to the U.S and Australia, the delicious ring-shaped bread has stirred up deep and fierce loyalties. The latest town in the bagel grip? Bendigo, thanks to a forward-thinking, bread-loving couple.

Kelsey and Taylor, two Bendigo locals with a wealth of hospitality experience behind them, have built Out of Order cafe, a speciality bagel and coffee shop serving classic, crowd-pleasing bagels for breakfast and lunch.

“We’d been playing around with the idea of opening our own place for a little while. Somewhere that we can have more creative control,” Kelsey tells me of the venture.

Within two months of deciding to take the small-business gamble, the couple had found a location in the heart of town and were busting open Bendigo’s food repertoire of toasted sandwiches and meat pies. They wanted New York style, stuffed-to-the-brim bagels that give your jaw muscles a workout, and they found it. Needless to say, the locals are loving it.

5 & Dime Bagels are delivered fresh daily from Melbourne and packed full on sight with fresh, local ingredients. Their menu boasts classics like the Reuben and the Lox, as well as plant-based options for the vegans out there. Of course, cream cheese (both the dairy and dairy-free versions) features heavily — a fact sure to please bagel traditionalists.

Micro roastery Coffee Cartel from Geelong provide the beans, which in the hands of their expert barista, is a combination no one can resist.

“It is going really well. We’ve got some awesome regulars that are coming in every day. That makes us feel that we’re doing something right,” Kelsey explains.

Chewiness, delightfulness and freshness is the Out of Order promise. Some good vibes, as the A-frame sign outside their front door says, can also be expected.

WHAT: Out of Order cafe
WHEN: Open Monday to Friday 6am – 2pm, Saturday 8am – 2pm
WHERE: 352 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo
MORE INFO: Out of Order

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.

Celebrate regional roasters this International Coffee Day

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

Did you know, if you replace your morning coffee with a peppermint tea, you can lose up to 87% of the joy you have left in your lockdown life?

That’s why we’re big supporters of coffee. To roast, to grind, to percolate and most importantly to drink – any interaction with this magical little bean is a good one. And on October 1st, coffee gets it’s very own day of worldwide recognition with (the fittingly titled) International Coffee Day.

Of course, it’s no secret Melbourne is the coffee capital of the world but regional Victoria is hot on the city’s tail. With dozens of independent roasteries serving speciality coffee at their own storefronts or supplying to some of Melbourne’s biggest cafe’s, regional Victoria’s coffee scene is like a dark horse ready to bolt – you want to have your bets on it.

So in celebration of International Coffee Day, we thought we’d give the people what they want (and need) to get them through another few weeks of lockdown: a list of regional Victoria’s best roasteries to stockpile your grinder and crank the morning joy up to 11. Without further ado, here are six of our top picks.

1. Great Divide Coffee, Marysville

Coffee MarysvillePerched on the edge of the Great Dividing Range in Marysville, this micro-roastery specialises in ethical, fairtrade and sustainable coffee that does not compromise on flavour. Bold Arabica beans are sourced by the tight-knit team from premium coffee farming countries like Papua New Guinea and Brazil. All roasted by hand in small batches, Great Divide Coffee can be tasted in cafes around North Eastern Victoria or ordered directly via their website for your home brew.


2. Ocean Grind, Torquay

Torquay CoffeeThe laid-back and sustainable ethos of the Surf Coast flows into all aspects of Ocean Grind’s coffee roastery. From the careful selection of ethical coffee farms around the globe, to the slow and small batch roasting that takes place in their Torquay home, this crew puts as much love into coffee as they do into surfing – and that’s saying something. Once travel restrictions ease, we recommend giving their flagship cafe a visit, but remember to bring your reusable cup! No single-use cups are in sight here.

3. Coffee Basics, Castlemaine

Coffee CastlemaineTraditional European coffee craftsmanship meets central Victorian standards at the Coffee Basics Rösterei and cafe Das Kaffeehaus. Helmed by Edmund Schaerf and Elna Schaerf-Trauner, Coffee Basics is the result of sixty years of family tradition in the roasting and blending business. Their small batch, artisan coffee beans come in either single origin or blend packs and can be ordered online.



4. Revolution Roasters, Mornington Peninsula

Coffee RoastersMuch more than just a roastery, these guys are changing the game when it comes to coffee roasting, both for their own blends and for other businesses. Revolution Roasters are putting freshness, transparency and simplicity at the centre of the coffee experience, supplying sustainable green beans to cafes who roast themselves. Try their Three Bags Full Sample Pack for the full taste experience.



5. Mansfield Coffee Merchant, Mansfield

Mansfield CoffeeThis is speciality coffee that has caught the eye of some of Melbourne’s toughest coffee-critics. Mansfield Coffee Merchant burst onto the scene several years back and has turned the sleepy High Country town into an industry leader. They roast their single origin coffee and signature blends on-site, package them in compostable packaging and sell them direct to the public. Plus, they even have Nespresso-compatible coffee pods. What more could you want?



6. Silva Coffee Roasters, Wesburn

Yarra Valley CoffeeNestled in the Yarra Valley surrounded by native bush, Silva Coffee Roasters produce coffee that is, quite simply, delicious. Local duo Wayne and Cleo started roasting in 2010 with a desire to share and celebrate great flavour with their community. Fast forward over a decade and that passion has flowed onto countless folks taking a detour off the Warburton Highway for a pitstop at their roastery door and ordering online for home. All beans come from socially and environmentally sustainable sources and are roasted with care to make the perfect cup.

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