It takes some serious imagination and no small amount of bravery to look at a property between two small-ish regional centres in an albeit idyllic valley, and transform it into a destination restaurant. It seems to be that when you apply imagination and bravery, along with no small amounts of skill and doggedness, that no amount of hither-to unknown-ness of a location will impede the success of a venture. Apply this to the small valley between Yea and Seymour, and you have The Trawool Estate.
Transforming this property between Yea and Seymour on the Melba Highway was no small task. All the accommodation was gutted and refitted along with the restaurant. The business is entirely renewed. Food could be described as sophisticated regional, but that would do both descriptors a disservice. It’s sophistication is not pretentious, but lies squarely in the treatment of the outstanding produce. The commitment to regional comes from understanding where the property sits – squarely in one of the most productive and beautiful parts of regional Victoria.
Details are everything, or so the old saying alludes. These are not lost on the folks at The Trawool Estate. The little pre-mixed cocktails that kept those in-the-know satiated during lockdown are now served in those very same single serve bottles to guests in the rooms. The cocktail list is as extensive as the wine list is considered, and again local producers are to the fore. Speaking of cocktails, if you’re up for it, don’t miss the master-classes – definitely a stay-over event.
Make sure you follow the social media pages – The Trawool Estate runs some fairly astonishing events, with many planned ahead.
If you’ve got an appetite for excellence, are peckish for fine produce, or just adore everything edible out of Gippsland, we’ve got some good news for you.
One of Melbourne’s most renowned chefs, Alejandro Saravia, is setting up shop in a three-storey redevelopment at 80 Collins St to bring us Farmer’s Daughter – a delicious celebration of Gippsland’s best produce.
The deal here is simple; combine world-class cooking skill with the fresh, seasonal offerings grown and harvested in the Gippsland region for city-dwellers to relish and enjoy. It’s “paddock to plate” dining that directly connects customers and farmers.
On level one, punters will find a formal dining area with private dining rooms where the hero is Saravia’s mastery of barbecue. The classic Aussie campfire experience will come roaring back to life when you taste dishes that have been prepared on the fire and hot coals in the central kitchen.
For those who can’t stay long, the ground floor will feature a farm-to-table deli with some of Gippsland’s tastiest treats. Think cured fish, charcuterie, and take-away sandwiches and salads, all prepared with as minimal waste as possible.
Inside, Saravia, who is the official food and beverage ambassador for Gippsland, hopes to bring the serenity of Gippsland into the CBD. The rooftop level will be enclosed by a lush herb garden, while a glasshouse services the kitchens below. Whether it’s thanks to the greenery or the mouth-watering culinary sojourn to Gippsland’s rolling hills, Melburnians will be feeling more meditative than ever.
THE DETAILS WHAT: Farmer’s Daughter WHERE: 80 Collins Street, Melbourne WHEN: Slated to open early 2021 MORE INFO: Farmer’s Daughter
The cooler months have said farewell, and it’s time to remind ourselves what bright, balmy summer days look like. Throw your arms open because there’s a new venue where you can soak up the gammas and shoot the breeze like there’s no tomorrow.
Enter Elderbar and Eats, the latest and greatest container bar to pop up in the Golden Plains. Airy, edgy and casual, the cafe/bar hybrid is perfect for your small stopover, or all day Sunday hangs with mates – right in the heart of trendy Teesdale.
The team behind the new digs are the Bannockburn wedding and event hire company Elderberry Event Hire, who have been on the top of the wedding game since 2016. When the pandemic hit and weddings stopped being a thing, the duo – made up of Orla Maxey and Corey Young – got brainstorming for ways to get people together in a COVID-safe, al fresco way. And so Elderbar and Eats was born.
Aesthetic and vibes here are on point from the word go. The inside opens onto ample decking and turf space, all underneath glittering festoon lighting. The menu covers every base, from breakfast to all-day lunch and dinner – the latter of which is designed to share. Think buckwheat pancakes, bao buns, fried chicken wings and Antipasto platters made with seasonal, local ingredients. Your mouth watering yet?
Drinks-wise, there’s a heavy focus on local brews with favourites like 6Ft6, Leura Park,Clyde Park and many more getting you through. If non-alcoholic bevvy’s are your poison, there’s plenty of options to choose from too. But best of all, in true cruisy cafe/bar fashion, live music by some of the best local acoustic musos will soothe your soul on weekends.
We’ve all earned a bit of sun-soaked relaxation this year. What better way to get your share than at the vibiest container bar in Teesdale? Top tip: book ahead to avoid disappointment.
THE DETAILS WHAT: Elderbar and Eats WHERE: Turtlebend Reserve (Shelford-Bannockburn Road), Teesdale WHEN: Friday and Saturday from 9am – 9pm, Sunday from 9am to 6pm. MORE INFO:Elderbar and Eats
A popular pastime for a lot of us during the pandemic was dreaming about a seachange. The salty air, the wide-open spaces, the relaxed lifestyle – it made for an idyllic imaginary getaway. For others, things went further than just the imaginary. The iconic Flinders Lane restaurant Coda is one such establishment.
Back in January, Coda hit the road for a summer pop-up in the top floor of the Lorne Hotel. The seed for a more long term escape was planted, thanks to having what the team describes as “a little too much fun”. This December, the dream is becoming a reality with a permanent outpost – Coda Lorne – putting down roots in the very same spot.
The hotel will be a three-in-one situation, with Coda Lorne sharing digs with cousin restaurant Movida at ground level and the pub on the second floor. Up top, punters can expect a huge 120 seat restaurant with killer views of Loutitt Bay and the town of Lorne to boot.
Unlike the CBD’s menu which features Euro-Vietnamese cuisine with a French influence, the Lorne restaurant will serve strictly Asian cuisine. Think Hervey Bay scallops with glass noodles, XO betel leaves, and raw fish – all sourced as locally as possible. While those who aren’t seafood inclined, there will be half of a whole Cantonese duck and hibachi-fired satays on the menu.
The experienced crew behind Coda, Kate and Mykal Bartholomew and Adam D’Sylva, say that while Coda Lorne won’t be a cut copy of the city venue, there will be some old favourites making an appearance, as well as the same distinction guests, have come to know and love in Melbourne.
Whether you’re thinking of a seachange yourself, or just fancy taking a road trip with ocean views, be sure to book a table at Coda Lorne.
THE DETAILS What: Coda Lorne Where: 176 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne When: Mid-December 2020 More info:Coda Restaurant
For those who want to combine an easy-breezy winery experience with an edgy inner-city bar vibe, this Yarra Valley destination is for you.
Introducing Container Bar, a new venue launched by the legends over at Seville Estate Winery. Nestled in the Phillip Johnson native garden on the edge of Seville Estate, the wine bar features everything you’d expect from the crew; exceptional wine, seasonal produce and a chill atmosphere in which to enjoy the views.
Open on the weekends between 11am and 5pm, punters can either walk-in or plan ahead with bookings for up to ten people. Whether you’re popping by to sample some of the stellar tipples from Seville Estate, or fancy a full day of drinks, cheese and oysters, this is your one-stop shop.
The good news doesn’t stop there though. In preparation for end of year festivities, the crew has launched a series of exclusive dining experiences, tailored specifically for groups. Hosted in their lush outdoor patio, guests can expect a three-course luncheon – kicked off at 11:30am and in the container bar, of course – designed to share and reconnect. It’s COVID-safe, scrumptious and makes for the perfect Christmas party.
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the end of 2020 and we’re finding it hard to imagine a more relaxing, nourishing way to do it than at one of these killer venues. Knocking back some Chardonnay in an industrial-style container with the summer breeze on your skin; laughing with friends over oysters and experiencing the best service in the Yarra Valley… Well, let’s just say we’ll see you there.
THE DETAILS WHAT: Container Bar WHERE: 65 Linwood Road, Seville WHEN: Weekends between 11am and 5pm MORE INFO: Seville EstateWinery
Ben Shewry, the genius behind the three-hatted restaurant (and national treasure) Attica, is going regional. Just yesterday, the chef-extraordinaire announced a brand new outdoor restaurant settled amongst the lush vineyards of the Yarra Valley – just in time for summer.
Attica Summer Camp is set to open right before Christmas and will give Victorian’s a fresh, more low-key take on the exceptional eats Attica is famous for. Think party-friendly shaded space overlooking undulating vines, seasonal produce with a sustainability focus, and Shewry’s signature creative flair.
It’s taken several months for Shewry to find the ideal location for his latest venture, teaming up with Healesville winemaker Mac Forbes to get the local down-low. They sifted through around 10 different sites and eventually settled on the former Lillydale Estate winery in Seville, whose hexagon pavilion is the perfect spot to get creative.
Inspired by his rural upbringing in North Taranaki, New Zealand, Shewry’s goal is to create a relaxed, joy-filled restaurant; somewhat the antithesis of his Ripponlea restaurant, which is well known to host high-profile guests and its eye-watering price tag.
In contrast, Summer Camp is about festival vibes, good tunes and delicious eats for everyone during the five-month residency. Guests can expect tastefully curated fun, starting with a poppin’ playlist by Adam Briggs and the Avalanches. It’s a sure bet to wash away the isolation blues.
It’s been a long and challenging winter, especially for those in the hospitality industry. But as spring yawns towards summer and the state gets back into action, Attica Summer Camp is set to be the sweetest spot to celebrate.
THE DETAILS WHAT: Attica Summer Camp WHERE: 45 Davross Court, Seville, Victoria WHEN: December 2020 MORE INFO: Attica
With the ‘Ring of Steel’ dismantled, the 25km rule dropped, and our favourite destinations open for business we’re ready to head for the hills, beach, or valleys to celebrate our newfound freedom. There is a palpable energy in the air both in the city with people looking forward to a road trip, and in the regions, with kitchen crews preparing to welcome back long separated city guests.
We spoke to some of our top chef/owners in regions around the state about their COVID19 lockdown, what they did to survive, and what they plan to serve up to us when we arrive to dine with them.
Mornington Peninsula #onehourout
Brigitte Hafner baked us our daily tarts and made us our daily vitello tonnato when she and Jamie Broadway ran Gertrude Street Enoteca in Fitzroy. It closed forever over winter, preceded, thankfully, by the opening of the bucolic dream that is Tedesca Osteria. Perched on the spine of Main Ridge on the Mornington Peninsula, overlooking flowing creeks, stringybark forest and vineyards beyond, Tedesca Osteria is reminiscent of those classic European Michelin star restaurants with set menu dining.
When we spoke, Brigitte had just finished her second service since reopening after lockdown. “We were a bit anxious,” says Brigitte. ‘But what happened during lockdown was that we became a team. We only opened in March and did not have time, really to prepare,” she says.
With lockdown, she and her team, including Broadway, went to work preparing food boxes each week to keep Tedesca afloat. They contained comfort food, including bread and baked goods, her German mother’s strudel and Eccles cakes with cheddar cheese. “We were able to keep most of our team, including our visa holders, together except one, who got a job as a nurse,” says Brigitte cheerily. “We all worked chopping wood, gardening, preparing the food. Skills that we learned and shared. I now have a great orchard planted with amazing citrus and nut trees.” Being in a beautiful part of the world made it easier for Brigitte and her crew, with daily walks along deserted country lanes and long strolls along the beaches of Westernport. “We were also able to have a smokehouse built in which we will smoke our smallgoods when we start getting our whole pigs in from a local farmer.”
This week she has been serving dolmades made with her own preserved vine leaves, mud crab with fresh pasta, tarragon, and garden peas. There is also Great Ocean Road Duck with chickpeas, spinach, and west Indian limes and a Paris-brest to finish. “We learned so much over lockdown about being a team,” says Brigitte. “Now it’s time to put those skills to work.”
“We are here, and we are open,” says Dan Hunter of Brae at Birregurra. The internationally acclaimed chef has worked around the world and has watched as the pandemic raged through the places in Europe where he worked in his earlier years. “The international imagery of hospitals in Italy and Spain was devastating,” says Dan. “There are worse places being in lockdown than here,” he says of the masterfully converted farm cottage perched on a farmlet, surrounded by acres of orchard and kitchen garden.
“In early April, I looked around and saw a vegetable garden full of late summer produce, and it gave us a feeling of safety. We were comforted being out of the city on a rural property surrounded by produce that could feed the family,” says Dan. “We have the skills to grow the vegetables to feed us.” Dan and his team harvested fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden and sold them to the local community. This connection with the local people continued with a series of international-themed dinners that took residents to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and beyond. “We also made picnic boxes with our bread and terrines so people could take themselves away,” says Dan. Dan and his family were able to escape to the seaside area of Skenes Creek near Apollo Bay. “Spending time with the family was so important,” says Dan.
After good spring rains, the dams are full, and the surrounding countryside is verdant with lush pasture that Dan describes as ‘money paddocks’ for the local graziers; Dan looks to his gardens for inspiration for his late spring menu: asparagus, peas, broad beans, lettuce and radicchio to cook dishes like “rainbow trout and broad beans from this season and last, anise myrtle, roe and citrus, radicchio brushed with treacle and black garlic.” With customers back, Dan and his wife Julianne wrestle customer expectations and government COVID capacity rules. “You know what gave me great joy this spring?” asks Dan rhetorically. “The black swans who came to stay on the dam and the evening chorus of frogs. Simple things.”
“From here in Beechworth, I knew just how devastating the lockdown was for the industry,” says Michael Ryan. He speaks from Provenance, based in a solid-granite, former bank in the heart of historic Beechworth, where Michael cooks his unique Japanese influenced style of cuisine.
“When it first started, it was the unknown. And that is terrifying,” he says. Michael and his team suffered the triple whammy, first the fires over summer, then lockdown one, a brief awakening, then lockdown two. “In the first lockdown I tapped the bounty of the season and made sugo, chestnut jam and lime marmalade and some amazing grenadine,” says Michael. “I pulped 60kg of pomegranates for that grenadine. Not something I need to do again in a hurry.” It was a mild winter in the North East, and Michael spent hours on his pushbike, walking the dog around Lake Samball and time with his wife and daughter. “The biggest decision I had to make every day was what to make for dinner,” he says with a laugh.
Michael also received funding to explore making sake and delved into the arcane art of making amaro, the bitter Italian style digestive. He has extracted over 90 different botanicals. He will soon get his licence so he can buy alcohol and make, he hopes, three different styles of amaro early next year. “But now it is so green, so lush,” says Michael. “The days are long and warm and the nights cool. His garden is amok with shiso, the fragrant Japanese herb almost becoming a weed. He salts it down for six months, ready for the autumn menu.” He is currently serving a set menu of a four-course meal made of 18 small dishes. He is particularly proud of his lup cheong pork sausages he made in the first lockdown and potato chips cooked in beef tallow dusted with a little seaweed salt. He also takes great pride in a dish of cauliflower slow-cooked in lots of butter served with white fish floss and coloured pink with beetroot juice and served with cherry tomatoes marinated in sweet dashi. Off the grill comes flat iron steak, served with miso butter and braised onions. “Delightful with a local Beechworth Gamay,” he adds.
Now he is looking forward to the berry and cherry season. “Cherries for the extracts for the amaro,” says Michael. “And with the raspberries, I will make some old school sable, some yuzu cream, and finish it with some fresh lychees.” He pauses. And says, “You know what, that lockdown will be the long service leave I was never going to get.”
“Mildura went quiet,” says Stefano de Pieri from Stefano’s Cantina at the Grand Hotel, Mildura. “The city went eerily quiet during lockdown. But we were ringed by a hive of activity because the farming never stopped. COVID or no COVID, Australian agriculture never stops. The trucks kept on taking food down to Melbourne,” he says with his usual energy.
Stefano spent a lot of his lockdown walking along the locks of the Murray River. “It is so beautiful, so tranquil, there are so many birds. It all helps me to contemplate where I am in my life. I realised I will be 80 in 15 years! I can not think of that many chefs still behind the stove at my age,” he says. “So I raged against the ‘dimming of the light’ by renovating the dining rooms,” says Stefano with a laugh. He also successfully campaigned to become a Mildura City councilor, hosted the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, made 22 Youtube episodes of a children’s cooking show, and shot a ten-part food television series with SBS. “So, as you can see, I have not been idle,” says Stefano.
He has also been working on his menu, freshening it up, putting on more seafood and vegetable dishes. “What I cook reflects what is grown here as much as possible. So this has been the season for asparagus and artichokes. We have been making our own ricotta, which I use with bullhorn peppers stuffed with smoked eggplant.” Stefano has also got his hands on some locally made ‘nduja, which he is serving with baby calamari. “It is 35°C outside each day,” says Stefano. “We need to serve food that reflects the climate, not just the season.”
Over the last two decades, festival lovers have flocked from far and wide to enjoy the Queenscliff Music Festival (QMF), one of the most beloved regional music events on the calendar. So when they announced the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the 2020 iteration, fans were pretty gutted.
Thankfully, however, the team behind QMF promised they’d find a backup plan to bring live music to the Bellarine Peninsula. And guess what, they’ve come good.
‘The Pelican Bar’ unites live music and performance with Victoria’s world-class culinary scene into one COVID-safe dining and live entertainment experience. All on the sunny shores of Swan Bay.
That’s only half the fun, though. The QMF team has curated a dazzling array of live performances to keep you entertained throughout lunch or dinner. There’s music, cabaret, comedy, trivia and more still to be announced.
With so many live performances cancelled of late, this event is sure to be one helluva time for Victorians. It is a very welcome glimpse into normality: one full of good food, stellar entertainment and very welcome sunshine.
Table groups between four and ten are available, and patrons must be seated for the entire two-hour session.
WHAT: The Pelican Bar WHERE: Swan Bay, Queenscliff WHEN: November 27th 2020 – January 31st 2021 MORE INFO: The Pelican Bar
Hidden throughout central Geelong are some truly drool-worthy restaurants and bars; we’ve spoken to some locals and compiled a list of our favourite spots to check out on your next trip to Geelong.
Mavs Greek Restaurant
73B Little Malop St
Mavs Greek restaurant is the brainchild of the Mavromoustakos’ and holds the title of Geelong’s only authentic Greek restaurant. At Mavs you’re able to sample the best Greek cuisine Geelong has to offer with a number of smaller dishes designed to share, with bigger meals if you’re not keen on sharing (the food is so good I wouldn’t blame you). The fresh and homemade Greek food goes hand in hand with the extensive wine and cocktail list at Mavs. Hidden behind the bustling Little Malop street, Mavs is well worth the find if you’re on the hunt for authentic Greek food.
Sitting above the restaurants along Little Malop sits one of Geelong’s most well-hidden gems. The small door and dim staircase almost conceal the award-winning 18th Amendment Bar. Situated upstairs, the bar offers an abundance of cocktails that are not only delicious but also incredible to look at. Think dry ice, edible flowers and beautiful glassware. The bar aims to capture the feel of a Chicago speakeasy bar, transporting you back to the prohibition era. 18th Amendment bar houses an extensive cocktail and spirit list, with expertly trained bartenders ensuring there is always something for everyone.
Sober Ramen is helping to quash central Geelong’s craving for delicious, authentic Ramen with a modern twist. Sober offers ramen, dumplings, sake and natural wines, alongside speciality cocktails. The tiny restaurant offers the creature comforts of a traditional Japanese ramen restaurant, with an extensive menu and a number of fan favourites including a spicy ramen with three different levels of heat! Open Tuesday through Sunday for eat-in or takeaway ensuring delicious, quick ramen is always on the cards for those in central Geelong.
To get your hands on some ramen head here or follow their socials.
Tomodachi Izakaya and Bar
85A Little Malop St
Tomodachi Izakaya and Bar brings casual Japanese dining to Geelong. Located on little Malop in the heart of Geelong Tomodachi has numerous Japanese dishes designed to share alongside bigger, heartier main meals. Tomodachi also hosts a number of classic cocktails with an imaginative Japanese twist. The meals are quick and delicious with beautiful presentation making it a perfect destination for a quick bite with friends. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner Tomodachi is a venue not to be missed.
Valhalla Brewing and Taproom is a go-to spot for ‘seriously drinkable’ beers. Valhalla is a taproom and microbrewery located in the centre of Geelong on Union Street. Valhalla prides itself on producing quality, handcrafted beer. The taproom has a number of taps, some featuring Valhalla’s own brews and other taps reserved to showcase other local and independent breweries. Valhalla regularly hosts live, local music, adding to its cruisy and casual vibe. Open 7 days Valhalla is available at all times to provide excellent quality craft beer and bar snacks.
For bookings or inquiries suss the Valhalla website.
King of the Castle Cafe
24 Pakington St
King of the Castle cafe offers Instagram-worthy brunch that tastes even better than it looks. The award-winning cafe is no stranger to being one of Geelong’s favourite breakfast and brunch venues. The cafe has won multiple awards with its extensive range of menu options, alongside great coffee and bakery sweets. The cafe has customers sitting in a rustic, industrial feel dining hall lined with plants making it the perfect space for a delicious brunch and a coffee surrounded by greenery.
To keep in the loop with King of the Castle head to their website or follow their socials.
Pistol Pete’s Food and Blues
93 Little Malop St
Pistol Pete’s Food and Blues aims to bring the authentic taste of America’s Southern states to central Geelong. With food inspired by places such as Memphis, Clarksdale and New Orleans the authentic taste of Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi are just a short walk away from Geelong’s CBD. Offering live Jazz and Blues performed by international, national and local artists. Along with gumbo, waffles and PoBoys, this fully licensed venue is bringing Southern American comfort food to regional Victoria.
To discover what all the fuss is about and to book a table of your own head here.
10 Union St
Lipari is a Geelong fan favourite, often fondly regarded as one of Geelong’s best Italian restaurants. The homely space offers authentic Italian food, handmade pasta, homemade sauces and fresh bread. The fully licensed restaurant also boasts a great local wine list and a number of imported beers to accompany your meal. Open six days for lunch and dinner Lipari is always available for your authentic Italian fix.
To satisfy those pasta cravings book via the website.
Courthouse Cafe and Gallery
40 Gheringhap St
Courthouse cafe and gallery offers a range of wholesome, healthy food and has become a must-stop for local business people in central Geelong. Their huge range of takeaway sandwiches, focaccias and wraps quite often sell out so be sure to get in quick for a pre picnic stop. Courthouse also offers in house dining with a range of homemade meals and sweets sure to satisfy every customer. Courthouse is the perfect place to grab a quick and healthy bite to eat in or takeaway for a picnic in the park just a minute’s walk away.
For catering inquiries or to book a table head over to the website.
Sweet Cheeks Cocktail and Dessert Lounge
Level 1/71 Yarra St
Sweet Cheeks cocktail and dessert lounge is Geelong’s newest late-night haunt for the sweet tooth. With a Palm Springs inspired aesthetic and an in-house pastry chef the brightly coloured space offers plenty of pancakes, desserts and cocktails. Sweet Cheeks is sure to have something for everyone, including cocktails inspired by everyone’s favourite childhood choccy, the curly-wurly. Situated in the heart of Geelong it’s a must-stop for anyone looking for a sweet treat. Open late Wednesday through Sunday Sweet Cheeks is sure to cure those late-night cravings.
For a full menu of sweet treats and to secure a spot suss them out here or be sure to follow their socials for live updates.
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