Eight Food and Drink Stops for When You're Road Tripping Around Victoria's High Country
Seek out top-quality cups of joe, sip glasses of prosecco and feast at farm-to-table fine diners.
in partnership with
Victoria's alpine region is only a few hours' drive from Melbourne, making it ideal for a quick getaway. Its craggy mountains, sprawling vineyards and countless bushwalking trails offer stunning scenery to take in year-round. But it's not all about the natural landscape.
From Bright and Beechworth to Mansfield and Mount Buller, the mountainous region boasts phenomenal wineries, pubs, cafes and farm-to-table fine diners. So, if you consider yourself a foodie, it's time to start planning your next food-fuelled adventure. Don't know where to start? To help point you in the right direction, we've partnered with Victoria's High Country to bring you eight road-trip worthy dining and drinking spots.
Set in a former Bank of Australasia building, Provenance Restaurant is a cult favourite for both Beechworth locals and visitors to the old gold rush town. Here, foraged and locally grown produce is used to create an 18-dish, four-course set menu of Japanese-influenced fare, priced at $150 per person. So, you'll want to come hungry.
While the menu often changes, you can expect dishes like oysters with cherry blossom dressing, asparagus tempura with fish eggs, grilled beef with smoked miso butter and a candied grapefruit and green tea mousse dessert. To drink, pick from co-owner Jeanette Henderson's fine sake and wine list. You can also drop by the Provenance Grocer to pick up house-made sauces, jams, pickled vegetables and jerky.
At Bright's much-loved Tomahawks, the ambience is as vibrant and punchy as the menu, which features flavour-bombs like sticky lamb ribs served with gochujang caramel; prawn and ginger dumplings; cauliflower and mozzarella fritters; and selection of burgers. End your meal on a sugar high and order the decadent white chocolate blondie with salted caramel and ice cream, too.
If you're just stopping in for a tipple you won't be disappointed on that front either. The drinks list is a love letter to local breweries and wineries, and the bar always has a few surprises on rotation, so things don't get boring for the regular bar flies. The Tomahawks team has just opened up a pizza shop in town, too, if you were in search of cheesy slices.
One thing you'll notice in Victoria's High Country is that there's no shortage of fine diners. With that said, the award-winning Terrace Restaurant, just outside Rutherglen, is one of the spots we can't pass up when talking about the region's finer food offerings. Located on the All Saints Estate in a 19th century castle-like building overlooking vineyards and stately gardens, the restaurant certainly impresses.
Food-wise, expect European-inspired indulgence from Chef Simon Arkless's menu, jam-packed with seasonal produce. The menu changes weekly, but you can always expect lamb, pork and fresh eggs sourced from the on-site farm. It's open for lunch every Wednesday to Sunday, with a feed starting from $65 per head for a two-course meal.
MANSFIELD COFFEE MERCHANT
Melbourne's coffee culture has spread to the North East with go-to cafe Mansfield Coffee Merchant. Owner Mat Picone took his bean roasting skills from the city to the country around six years ago and has been caffeinating locals ever since.
Try one of the in-house roasted single origins or blends for a cup of joe or, if you're more of a tea person, the cafe also offers a selection of brews from local company Mad Hatter Tea Co. Breakfast here is also a good shout, with classics like pancakes with mixed berries; chorizo and feta omelettes; and porchetta eggs hitting the spot on a cold autumn morning.
PROJECT FORTY NINE
Project Forty Nine, located in historic Beechworth, is a boutique grocer and cafe that champions goods from the region's small-scale producers and farmers. So, like many High Country foodie havens, seasonal produce is the hero here. Over at the deli counter, you'll find top-quality charcuterie, stinky cheeses and many tasty-looking baked goods. Plus, it also stocks oils, pastas, preserves and other pantry staples.
But, really, you're here for its impressive wine selection of local drops. If you don't have time to pop by, you can also have one of Project Forty Nine's platters — which showcase some of the store's favourite items — delivered straight to your doorstep.
Nothing can prepare you for the positive energy that comes with a visit to the prosecco pioneers of King Valley. Established in 1987 by Otto and Elena Dal Zotto, Dal Zotto Wines is a full-on family affair that has a penchant for the simple things in life.
Start at the cellar door to sip glasses of prosecco. Then, kick back in the sun in the dog-friendly garden complete with picnic tables and wooden wine barrels substituting high tables. And be sure to check out Elena's veggie garden. You'll want to book a table in at the winery's trattoria, too, which serves up everything from antipasto boards to fresh homemade pasta and pizzas.
Sixpence Coffee is the small giant of the High Country's bean scene. Located in the alpine foothills of Bright, the family-owned and -run venue shares Reed & Co Distillery's airy warehouse-style space. So, on a rainy day, you could easily spend a few hours at the coffee bar before moving on to something stronger.
Make sure to try Sixpence's popular 3741 blend, which is roasted in small batches on site and has a reputation that precedes itself not only in Bright but also much further afield.
Surrounded by cattle farms and overlooking Victoria's highest peak, Mount Bogong, Templar Lodge is an unexpected gem in Tawonga. Chef-Owner Emma Handley has transformed the former 1950s Masonic Hall into an intimate paddock-to-plate restaurant.
The contemporary Australian menu makes use of top-notch local produce — including fruits and veggies grown on Handley's farm — and changes with the seasons. To give an idea of what you'll be tucking in to, though, expect warming dishes like smoked eel rillette, house-made gnocchi, grilled ribeye and tonkotsu ramen. If it's not too chilly, nab a spot on the wide verandah for epic alpine views.
Discover more and plan your next food-fuelled adventure at Victoria's High Country.
Top image: Sixpence Coffee, Visit Victoria / Rob Blackburn
Published on April 14, 2021 by Eleanor Scott