Bendigo is the grand old dame of regional Victoria with her stately heritage buildings and wide streets, but the goldfields town is also famous for her food and wine.
Just 90 minutes up the Calder Freeway from Melbourne, Bendigo is surrounded by farms and wineries with strong links to the local restaurants, cafes and bars.
Local winemaker Mel Chester is proud to call Bendigo home, and her Sutton Grange wines are turning heads nationally (especially her shiraz), winning coveted people’s choice gong at the recent Young Gun of Wine Awards. So where does Mel eat and drink in Bendigo? These are her five favourites.
- 55 View St, Bendigo, (03) 5442 4095
- A great spot run by husband and wife team Lincoln Riley and Marsha Busse. Linc is a local winemaker and long time sommelier from Melbourne, and Marsha is a dessert chef who has worked for the likes of Heston Blumenthal. Here you will find the greatest croissants on the continent, but there’s also an a delicious lunch selection, daily rotisserie meat and salad specials, and a wicked wine selection thanks to Linc’s great taste.
- 9 Chancery Lane, Bendigo, (03) 5444 5885
- Located in one of the Melbourne-esque laneways of Bendigo, the Dispensary is the perfect combination of great snacks (with an asian twist), awesome beer selection and local wines. The fried chicken steam buns are a great to enjoy with a beer, but there’s a more substantial food section if that’s what you’re in the mood for.
- 45 View St, Bendigo, 03 5444 4655
- Located in an amazing historic bank building, this place is part bottle shop, part bistro. Pop in and select a bottle of the extensive range of wines to take home or grab something off the shelf and enjoy it with the food. Keep an eye out for the regular wine tastings. The pizza nights from their wood fired oven out the back are always packed with locals.
- 25 Queen St, Bendigo, (03) 5443 3877
- One of our most impressive regional restaurants, this place is classy. The food is modern, highlighting local ingredients. I like to go there with friends, get the roaming/tasting menu and let the great staff do the hard work selecting the food. Lots of fun treasures to be enjoyed on the wine list.
- 105 View St Bendigo, (03) 5441 4455
- This is a charming little Italian joint. The food is simple and homely and it’s a great spot to pop in for a midweek bowl of pasta and glass of wine.