48 hours in Bright: Gourmet Chick in the High Country

At the foot of Victoria’s mountains and with a river winding its way through the town, Bright has been a holiday destination for years.  After visiting some of the region’s wineries last year, attending the High Country World’s Longest Lunch just outside Bright was a great excuse for Meat-and-Three-Veg and me to spend a bit more time in Bright itself.   Our accommodation and some meals were provided by Tourism North East and the rest of the meals we paid for ourselves.
The Rail Trail Cafe just outside of Bright


Tani Eat and Drink
In most small country towns you’d struggle to find a restaurant serving a watermelon salad during summer, let alone a restaurant where that same salad features pickled rind, grains and goats cheese.  But Bright isn’t your standard country town and Tani Eat and Drink isn’t your standard restaurant.  The menu is really adventurous and packed with far flung ingredients like sake lees emulsion and apple sorrel granita.  It could be a disaster in the wrong hands but talented chef Hamish Nugent can carry it off.

Spanner crab with egg custard, salt bush, air dried bonito and puffed rice at Tani Eat and Drink

That watermelon salad ($16) is so summery and refreshing with tang from the pickled rind, crunch from the grains and the creaminess of the goats cheese.  Every dish I tried was sensational from the quail wrapped in fermented cabbage and topped with fennel to the perfectly cooked beef teamed with globe artichoke.

Scampi with prawn crackers at Tani Eat and Drink                  

At Tani Eat and Drink it’s all about modern cooking, beautifully plated with bold and interesting flavours.  Not at all what you would expect from an assuming looking place on the main street of a country town.

Details: Tani Eat and Drink,  100 Gavan Street, Bright, Victoria, 3741 (Ph 03 5750 1304) Open: Lunch Sat -Sun, Dinner Wed- Sun.
Damage: Reasonable.  Six courses for $70 a head.
9/10 Tani Eat & Drink on Urbanspoon

The Ginger Baker
This tapas bar and cafe is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the river in Bright. It’s got a big back garden with tables scattered around the edges and you eat dinner lit by candles swinging from the trees in Mason jars.  The Ginger Baker’s cheese “fritters” are like a cheese croquette and they oozed cheese once I bit through the crunchy, deep fried exterior.  A butter lettuce salad was really refreshing, loaded up with chopped dill and drizzled with a tangy dressing.  While the pork meatballs looked the goods, the meatballs themselves were bland and needed the addition of some fennel or some additional kick to the tomato sauce that accompanied them.  The Ginger Baker is a good option for a more casual and cheaper meal in Bright in a beautiful setting but the tapas on offer are more straight forward than stunning.

Fritters, meatballs and butter lettuce salad at The Ginger Baker

Details: Ginger Baker Wine Bar and Cafe, 127 Great Alpine Road, Bright, (Ph 03 5755 2300) Open: Tuesday, Wed – Sun 8am – 4pm, Thurs – Sat 8am – 10pm. Closed Monday.
Damage: Reasonable
6/10 Ginger Baker on Urbanspoon

Rail Trail Cafe
On our final day in Bright we picked up hire bikes and cycled along the rail trail to Porepunkah.  This proved to be the perfect exercise to work up an appetite for breakfast at the Rail Trail Cafe.  After hearing one of the winemakers at the World’s Longest Lunch earlier in the weekend describe his favourite thing about the region as the Rail Trail Cafe’s breakfast burritos we knew exactly what we were ordering.  The burritos were huge and chock full of fried egg, bacon, sausage and hash brown and just fried enough in the pan to give a crisp edge to the burrito.

The breakfast burrito at The Rail Trail Cafe

Details: Rail Trail Cafe, 2 Service Street, Porepunkah 3740 (Ph 0428 359 884) Open 8.30am-4pm Thurs-Sun and public holidays.
Damage: Reasonable

Gourmet Travel Tips

  • Bright is three and a half hours drive from Melbourne.
  • While in Bright you can make the most of the surrounding mountains for skiing in Winter and hiking in Summer, do a cooking class and cycle along the rail trail to visit the nearby wineries.  
  • We stayed in the centre of Bright at Bright on Elm which is one of Alpine Accomodation’s properties.  Bright on Elm is very modern and clean and comes with a fully equipped kitchen if you want to do your own cooking.  It has a separate living area, two bedrooms and bathrooms so it would be great for a family or group and being right in the centre of town you can walk everywhere.  The downside is that the accommodation feels a little impersonal and doesn’t have any views of the beautiful Bright surrounds.  Details: Bright on Elm, Bright, Victoria, Damage: Reasonable. $175 a night.  7/10
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Gourmet Chick was a guest of Tourism North East for accommodation and Tani Eat Drink for dinner.  All other meals and all drinks were paid for personally.  


  1. I am in love with the name of the Ginger Baker, although disappointed it doesn’t seem to specialize in spiced baked goods! Bright looks like a great spot though, and a great outing by your pictures.

  2. What a gorgeous part of the world. Bookmarking- looks like a terrific place for a getaway.

  3. Oh I love getaways that involve so much eating! mMmmm

  4. Andi – they were delicious, what can go wrong with fried and cheese after all

    Kari – Yes it’s a funny name isn’t it. Would highly recommend a trip to Bright.

    Tori – It’s great for food and wine lovers.

    MsIHua – Hmm that sounds like all my getaways!

  5. Try also luxury abalina cottages, winner of the prestigious RACV Peoples Choice award for Victoria for the last 3 years (2012, 2011 and 2010). Catering for 2 to up to 6 guests in each cottages and only a level 650m walk t the cafe, restaurant and shopping centre of Bright. http://www.abalinacottages.com.au

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