Nagambie, Victoria: Eating Out

By Michael Harden
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Enjoy wonderful food and wine at Nagambie, Victoria

Enjoy wonderful food and wine at Nagambie, Victoria

You won’t find much in the way of slick city style in the Nagambie area’s tiny restaurant scene and here’s hoping that it remains that way. The best dining experiences in the region avoid both faux city style and hokey country charm clichés and instead take advantage of the rural atmosphere and great local produce (both food and wine), dishing up simply cooked food with a refreshing lack of pretension.

Not many of the wineries in the region have restaurants attached but the one at the Mitchelton winery is a good lesson on how to do it right. The purpose built restaurant building takes advantage of its superb location with a wall of glass framing a tranquil bush-strewn stretch of the Goulburn River and the large whitewashed dining room with its a classic 1970’s look – cathedral ceilings, large open fireplace - is a great setting for making merry over lunch with a couple of glasses of wine. Each dish on the menu of simply cooked, local produce-centric food is matched with a Mitchelton wine so you can get an idea of the winery’s range and the nicely maintained grounds around the restaurant are a picturesque location to walk off your lunch.

The Traawool Shed Café, south of Nagambie is a relaxed and comfortable kind of place with great service and a menu of well-cooked, rustic food that takes advantage of some of the good local produce. The wine list favours local wines from Nagambie, Traawool and the Strathbogie Ranges, many of which are available by the glass so you can do a virtual winery crawl over the course of a very enjoyable meal.

The dining room at Harvest Home in Avenal offers one of the region’s best opportunities to taste local produce being used to great effect. The room’s eccentric mix of old world Victoriana and thrift store chic is a perfect setting for Suzi McKay’s take on regional cooking (a la Alice Waters at Chez Panisse) and it is a guarantee that most of the ingredients she uses were plucked from a field nearby. An enticing wine list makes the dinner and bed packages at Harvest Home a sensible and often memorable option.

With other places like the Goulburn Terrace and Longleat Vineyard cellar doors and the Wetlands Café at Tahbilk Estate also in the neighbourhood eating out here increasingly offers its own relaxed and unpretentious dining style.

© Michael Harden 2006

First printed in Food and Wine Lovers’ Guide to Melbourne and Surrounds (2006)

Regions

  • Nagambie Lakes (VIC)

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