New kid on the block in this busy gourmet region, Warden's is more than holding it's own, winning much acclaim for new owner's Rocco and Lisa Esposito (he formerly of acclaimed Melbourne restaurant Cecconi).
It's Mod Oz with Med and North African influences (but sadly the deep fried courgette flowers in goat's cheese had sold out...) and certainly has an appealing if short menu and a superb wine list that very much promotes the local boutique vineyards (a stunning Battely Dourif was had on the recommendation of Lisa - this alone would make the meal memorable). Duck and lamb shanks were the order of the day and these were superbly presented and the taste sublime. My only slight criticism was that it was a very long wait for the mains - they were busy but not so busy. But then we had theat Dourif to keep us company :)
A debate with Lisa about the serving of Pannacotta ( I come from the view of no accompaniments - Warden's serve with berries) lead to our trying it (without! it was good) and long discussion about the restaurant. A great evening was had!
Searching for that good cup of coffee, either to start the day or a mid-afternoon break is a vital part of a trip and Beechworth certainly offered many options. But they sometimes came up with surprising results.
The worst coffee we had was, surprisingly at the highly recommended restaurant, Gigi's of Beechworth. All the signs were good - recommended restaurant, Italian, good coffee machine, atmospheric interior, a few tables outside - and wehn we arrived, people looked more than happy eating breakfast. But oh dear - the coffee was dreadful. Double espresso is my tipple and it tasted as if the slops of the previous evening had been used. On the other side of the table a strong latte was almost transparent.
Better, but not by much, was the famed Beechworth Bakery. Mass market turn-over, we tried this as we were told we had to! But disappointed - the cakes, pastries, pies and bread looked mass produced too and similar to any chain of bakeries to be found in Melbourne. As we were self-catering, bought a loaf of bread that was still super soft 4 days later, which made us wonder just how much preservative was put into it and the rest of the 'goodies' sold.
The best coffee by a long way was Botanics on Ford St (although Beechworth Proveador on Camp St was pretty good). Tucked at the back of the plant nursery, a definate French theme to the service and food. Sadly we discovered it too late (at the end of our stay) and thus experienced only the stunning French Lemon Tart and excellent coffee. Part of the nursery, surrounded by plants and in a shady corner, this was a real find.
Favorite Dish: Coffee (or not!) :)
Beechworth Bakery has become a sort of legend in Victoria...and it started, obviously...in Beechworth. There are now 3 locations across the state...and it's a well deserved reputation of being one of the best bakeries.
The brekkie and lunch are great...but definitely don't leave without trying one of their pastries, pies or desserts.
Our favorite place is the Green Shed...but this restaurant is also worth mentioning. It received high marks with the Age Chef's Food Guide, the bible in Melbourne....and it's well deserved.
The wine list is impressive...and the food was hard to beat.
One of the best waitstaff we've experienced in all of Australia...it's definitely the country...where life is a little more easy going...
We live in Melbourne...with some of the best dining in the world...but The Green Shed is one of our favorite places to dine!
It's a small, cozy, brick restaurant with fireplaces in both rooms. The food and wine are amazing...and the ambiance can't be beat with the candles on every table.
Beechworth, for us...is a hidden gem in Victoria...and one of our favorite places to go for a romantic time away from the city....
At our Bed & Breakfast at Beechworth, we were browsing the restaurants trying to decide what to have for dinner. I chose The Galloping Goat mostly because of its fun name :) It said it had French & Modern Australian cuisine, so I thought it would be a good choice and I was right!
We took a short drive where we found the restaurant in a lovely location out in the middle of a green field. The lovely building looked was new and decorated nicely with a back porch area that seemed perfect for special functions. The night we were there, they were having a function with a band, but it wasn't too loud inside. It added to the experience.
The staff was very friendly and invited us to wander around with our drinks to the back yard area or down to the cellar. This worried me a little, as I was afraid that might mean our meals would take awhile, but luckily they were not too long coming out. We just went down for a look around the cellar and our food arrived soon after we came back up.
We learned the restaurant has only been opened about a year, but has been doing surprising well in such a short time. It was a lovely meal and we highly recommend it, if you don't mind spending a bit for a nice meal :)
Favorite Dish: I had a vegetable crepe dish that was unique and very tasty. It was topped with pine nuts that really added to the dish. It was $23.50 for the crepe and the mains ranged from $20-$27. Mark made a meal out of his entree of prawns that were $16.50. There was also complimentary bread with the meal.
When I mentioned I was going to Beechworth, a friend told me I MUST make a stop at the bakery, so of course I did! I wasn't disappointed. This popular bakery was large and busy and had tables downstairs inside and out and also an upstairs with tables inside and out. The upstairs was not too busy, so we went up there to dine on our pies and cakes.
I looked up and found their website and discovered they also have 5 other bakeries in Victoria and one in Western Australia. The website is very nice and tells the story of the bakery and the now famous owner and motivational speaker, Tom O'Toole.
From their website:
'Originally a small one storey building, built in 1857 (with a second storey & balcony added around 1900), these premises in Beechworth?s Camp Street were once home to a shoe shop, a dining room and a pastry cook.
When Tom O'Toole bought the building the first time, it was known as the Ideal Cafe and Milk Bar, and had no tables or chairs.
He sold the building three years later in 1977, and moved to Augusta in Western Australia where he earned his stripes as a leading country baker.
In 1984 Tom returned to Beechworth and - again - purchased the bakery building, along with the draper?s building next door. Taking care to preserve the facade of the original building, major renovations were started (and continued on and off over the years.) !'
Don't miss the bakery if you are in Beechworth, or find one of their other locations on the website!! You can see how far the bakery has come since 1984!
Favorite Dish: I loved my Bavarian Ring - but I should have skipped the pie and just had the dessert! It was very big and yummy! :) It was about $3 and worth every penny! :D Mark had a vanilla slice with a pink top that was also very nice. I had the specialty Veggie Pie for my main and it was also bigger than a normal pie and shaped different and very tasty for about $3.75. Mark got the Ned Kelly pie for even less which he said was the best meat pie he has had in Australia!