A local’s guide to eating in Victoria’s Central Highlands
There are many tasty reasons to visit Victoria’s beautiful Central Highlands in winter. Roaring fireplaces, world-class local produce, crisp country air and some seriously top-notch hospitality make the region a perfect winter getaway, about an hour’s drive north of Melbourne on the Calder Freeway.
There’s always something new to try – such as Kyneton’s most recent addition Wedge Street Food & Wine, an all-day diner by front-of-house charmer Daniel Clarkson and his chef partner Daniel Melbourne. The “two Dans” have many fans after running restaurants together in Central Victoria over many years. Their latest project is in a charming old cottage on the corner of Wedge and Piper streets (see right), serving house-baked goodies like sponge cakes, donuts and eclairs in the morning, along with a scrumptious brunch menu. From 12pm, expect Euro classics like rillettes, pate, roast chook, steak Bearnaise, hand-rolled gnocchi and Croque Monsieur, with a focus on local producers.
Daniel is obviously proud of the region he calls home. When he’s not serving delicious food at Wedge Street, these are a the places he likes to eat.
42 Anslow St (cnr Old Bakery Lane), Woodend, 5427 2007
Tucked behind a gallery, Colenso is a hidden gem with great, simple cafe food. Go for anything on the specials board, or their fantastic bitey cheddar omelette with nicely dressed leaves. They also have fantastic wine knowledge.
Tim Foster’s duck is the go-to dish at this restaurant (formerly Annie Smithers Bistrot), where there are nicely spaced tables and desserts that never disappoint (go for the bay leaf creme caramel with honey ice cream and biscuits). Tim was running the kitchen at the Healesville Hotel when it had two hats. You should also try the confit duck leg, duck neck and pistachio sausage, pickled cherries and potato sarladaise.
101 Mollison St, Malmsbury, 0429 363 748
Birthday Villa rocks. The mother and daughter team, Jan and Lisa Thomas, make lovely Cabernet Sauvignon and Gwertztraminer, along with a tidy little dessert wine. It’s super small and their wines are only available at their cellar door (or on our wine list of course – we’re locals).
32 Raglan St, Daylesford, 5348 4488
Got to Mercato for excellent old school service and classic mod-oz fare. It’s great for long romantic dinners by candlelight. The steaks are always amazing.
129 Morgantis Rd, Eganstown, 0422 429 362
Tammi Jonas grows her own super free range pork and beef, curing her own coppa, pancetta, lonza with jamon. Her snags are super delicious too. Jonai Farm is the real deal, just outside Daylesford.
Find Wedge Street Food and Wine on the corner of Wedge and Piper streets in Kyneton. Open daily from 10am to 10pm.