It seems like around every corner in Beechworth there is a cafe, restaurant, gourmet food store, winery or even a brewery. For the long weekend MTV and I headed to Beechworth to get out of the city, eat and drink too much and clock up some quality time in front of the open fire. We were about a month too late to see the Autumn leaves at their best on Beechworth’s trees but the leaves still made a virtual leaf carpet of red and yellow around the town’s streets.
|A carpet of leaves in Beechworth|
Bridge Road Brewers
Tucked away in an alley off Beechworth’s main street The Bridge Road brewery might just be the most popular place in town. In the heart of wine territory Bridge Road Brewery offers something different with craft brewed beers and a real party atmosphere. MTV and I did a tasting of the beers (our favourite was the chestnut beer) before sharing the double smoked ham pizza. Topped with lashings of ham and mushroom the pizza has a crisp but pliant base and a smoky flavour from the wood fired oven. It’s simple stuff but executed really well.
|Beer tasting ready to go at Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth|
Details: Bridge Road Brewers, 50 Ford Street, Beechworth 3747 (Ph 03 5728 2703) Open: Sun11am-9pm, Mon, Wed 11am-4pm, TueClosed, Thu 11am-5pm and Fri-Sat 11am-6pm.
|Pizza at the Bridge Road Brewers – check out that smoky char|
At the Bridge Road Brewers you just have to sign a form to rent out a free ‘Town Bike’. We used them to cycle the 2km along the rail trail to Pennyweight Winery where we did a tasting including a great pinot noir. The wines are Pennyweight are all organic and biodynamic and the family behind the place are just lovely with lots of stories to tell about how they set up the winery. We ended up buying a couple of bottles to take home with us including the Pinot Noir which was excellent and the Pennyweight Gold a light dessert wine.
|The entry to Pennyweight Winery off the cycle track|
Details: Pennyweight Winery, 13 Pennyweight-Morris Lane, Beechworth 3747 (03 5728 1747)
About 10km out of Beechworth The Stanley is a great little gastropub. The owner Shane Harris does front of house with style and chef Shauna Stockwell’s food is not what you would expect at a tiny country pub like this. Think freshly shucked oysters ($3.50 each) and lightly battered zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta ($18). The food is unfussy and flavoursome with a special for the Roast Collection really impressing. It features twice cooked King Valley free range pork belly ($35) compete with crispy crackling, a fennel and apple remoulade and local walnut and parsley pesto. The only disappointment was MTV’s steak ($35) because the meat erred on the tough side.
|Stuffed zucchini flowers at The Stanley|
Details: The Stanley, 6-12 Myrtleford-Stanley road, Stanley 3747 (Ph 03 5728 6502)
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to $123 for two.
A few people in Beechworth recommended The Old Schoolhouse to us as having the best afternoon tea in town. Set in an old schoolhouse (hence the name) the scones were certainly tall and looked the business but having them reheated in a microwave gave them a doughy taste and there was no strawberry jam only a runny quince jam.
|Scones were sadly reheated at the Schoolhouse in Beechworth|
Details: Old School House Gallery, 17 Loch Street Beechworth Victoria 3747 (Ph 03 5728 3397)
Open 10 am to 4 pm
|Wagyu short rib with kimchee at The Provenance in Beechworth|
The elegance of Michael’s cooking is probably most evident in the coral trout ($37), a white and meaty fish which was pan fried with a crisp skin and served with miso and homemade fat, wriggly udon noodles. Then there’s the excellent combination of duck breast ($37) with even more duck action in the accompanying duck sausage and spelt salad.
|Mandarin dessert at The Provenance in Beechworth|
We finished with a dessert of mandarin curd, burnt grapefruit and coconut tapioca and tapioca pudding ($15) which Michael kindly brought out as a complimentary course. I had been put off ordering it by the menu description but this was one dessert that tasted much better than it sounded. There were lots of different textures and flavours going on with the bitter grapefruit, rich curd and crunchy crumble.
The wine list at The Provenance is legendary and is a sophisticated list which easily keeps pace with the interest on the menu. We were so impressed by smoothy but spicy 2009 Sorrenberg Cabernet Sauvignon ($72) which we ordered that we promptly went and bought a case of it from the winery.
Details: The Provenance, 86 Ford St, Beechworth 3747 (Ph 03 5728 1786). Open Wed-Sun 6.30 – late.
Damage: Budget breaking. Our bill came to $208 for two.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- Beechworth is just over three hours drive from Melbourne.
- We stayed at La Pausa bed and breakfast in Beechworth which I would really recommend. It’s right in the centre of town set in a beautiful old homestead which has a sense of history while not being chintzy. I loved the log fire in our room, the complimentary bottle of wine when we arrived and the packet of home made florentine biscuits on the mantlepiece. Breakfasts each morning include Bircher muesli, fruit, poached eggs, mushrooms and bacon. The ensuites to the rooms are a little dated but otherwise this is the perfect bed and breakfast and hosts Gill and Jon are very helpful with lots of tips for what to see, do and eat in Beechworth. La Pausa. 34 Loch Street, Beechworth 3747 (Ph 03 5728 2138). $220 a night.
- In Beechworth we checked out the shops, including the famous Beechworth Honey shop and Beechworth Bakery and had a stroll along the Gorge Walk a great five kilometre walking loop starting in Beechworth Historic Park.