The hotel dining revolution has made its way to Ballarat as Hotel Vera introduces its intimate fine-diner.
Andrew Zuccala
Published on April 23, 2024


Hotel dining all over Australia is having a renaissance. Top chefs are being brought in to shake up less-than-inspirational menus. And architects are creating spaces with their own unique identities, separate from the accommodation. Hotel owners are finally seeing the power that comes with turning these restaurants into proper destinations — not just doing the bare minimum to get hotel guests to book a table.

One of the latest hotels to really invest in its new restaurant is Hotel Vera out in Ballarat. At the end of January 2024, the team launched Babae with Culinary Director Tim Foster (The Gold Mines Hotel and ex-Source Dining) at the helm.

Babae at Hotel Vera -

This 26-seat fine-diner has no à la carte offerings, instead plating up a seven-course degustation for dinner and a shorter four-course spread for lunch. For a long time, Foster has worked with farmers, breeders, and providores in and around the Goldfields region, so plenty of hyper-local produce will find its way to the plate and into your wine glass. Produce grown in the hotel's own garden will also feature when possible.

Cuisine-wise, it's best described as contemporary Australian, but it mostly has European influences. Dishes change frequently, depending on what's in season, but you can expect to find a selection of snacks to start, followed by a bunch of larger dishes and two desserts when heading in for dinner.

Babae at Hotel Vera -

Wines are, unsurprisingly, a mostly Victorian affair, with a few sweet Italians also up for grabs in the suggested wine pairings.

You won't have a stack of choices when dining at Babae, but with Foster running the show, there's no need to worry. His previous restaurant, Source Dining, was hatted for nine years in a row, and Babae might follow suit.

Babae at Hotel Vera -

Find Babae at 710 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central, open for lunch from 12–4pm Saturday–Sunday and dinner from 6–11pm Thursday–Saturday. For more details and to book a seat, head to the venue's website.

Images: Emma Duzhnikov


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