Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A weekend in Bendigo

Some couples meet their maker when they travel together. For Brad and I though, I think it brings out our best; having to come to know each other’s quirks and preferences, travelling together is something that really adds to our relationship and we thrive on the diversity it brings to the usual day.

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Even if it is only a weekend getaway to Bendigo, which was purely planned because I saw that the Art Series Hotels were having a sale through January and thought it might be cute to spend a night up that way. When I told Brad of what I had done, he just looked at me, nodded and continued with what he was doing.

Don’t think I can surprise him anymore.

So here’s a little run down of what we did and what we enjoyed. 

36 Wheelers Hill Road, Musk 3461

On our way up to Bendigo, we made a pretty big detour to swing by the sleepy little town of Musk, purely to pop into Istra Smallgoods to buy all of the bacon and sausages. My family had become acquainted with the business when their christmas hams were recommended to us by a friend. Although they had fully sold out the year we wanted to try it, my parents made the drive up anyway, were lucky enough that someone had not picked up their order and came home with leg of ham and all the other delicious bits and pieces. 

Seriously, the bacon and Istrian sausages are totally where it’s at, we’ve found the other sausages to be a bit on the salty side for our tastes. We seriously stocked up, and the benefit of buying directly? So cheap. So much bacon.

57A Vincent Street, Daylesford, 3460
Larder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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With our bacon expedition completed, I realised that Daylesford was really close by, so we swung over to grab a sausage roll from one of the local bakeries for lunch (perfectly nice, but nothing to write home about) then stopped into L1, an extension of the existing cafe Larder, but with more of a coffee focus. 

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With mixed counter seating, communal tables and private tables, with pastries on display, it made for a nice little chilled out spot for an afternoon pick me up. Food menu looked good too from Larder…so perhaps next time!

Lucan Street, Bendigo, 3550 

Eventually we finally made it into the quaint little town (it’s not really big enough to be a city is it?) of Bendigo. It’s actually quite a lovely drive coming in, with plenty of wide roads, and some gorgeous old buildings from the hey day gold rush era. 

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The Schaller Studio is located directly next to the Bendigo hospital, and first impressions are good. The lobby is large, open planned, with cafe and reception desk as one, creating a very casual atmosphere. The lobby has plenty of communal spaces to relax, with books, as well as paper and paint to keep you occupied if need be. 

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Having stayed in The Olsen and The Cullen before, there was a certain standard I had in mind when entering the rooms for The Schaller Studio. The room was light, bright and very modern; everything you would hope for. It was definitely on the smaller side though, and I was a bit disappointed that the ‘One Bedroom Suite’ was simply two identical rooms with the adjoining door open between them, and one bed swapped out for a sofa. 

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Can’t complain too much really though, the extra space was still nice, as was the extra bathroom! 

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For those wanting to know, the hotel is pretty conveniently located, but it’s still easier to just grab the car and drive into the heart of the city to get around, rather than walking directly from the hotel. 

17 View Point, Bendigo, 3550

Mr Beebes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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When planning our little weekend, I had initially wanted to go to Masons of Bendigo for dinner, but soon found out that they were still closed when we were going to be up there, so instead booked for Mr Beebes. 

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Mr Beebes, is named after Mr Beebes himself, who designed many of Bendigo’s buildings between 1880 and 1910, including the building that the restaurant is located in. It advertises itself as a casual eating spot with a focus on sharing (which means order all the things!)

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I’m instantly in love with the colour scheme (being a huge sucker for yellow), especially contrasted with some of the older details in the building, like it’s stunning ceilings. 

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I’m also in love with their $14 cocktails…which even included the martinis! Couldn’t believe what good value it was…although I opted for a delicious concoction with mint instead (because I’ve learnt that martinis just completely ruin me…as much as I do like them).

The food here, is the type of modern Australian that Brad enjoys. Hearty food with plenty of big flavours. 

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I ooh and aah over the potato skins with beef tartare and truffle aioli, the potatoes are perfectly cooked, gorgeously tender and creamy, and thoroughly demolish the very generous serving of duck liver parfait with pedro ximenez jelly with brioche which is so smooth and gorgeously rich. 

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From the ‘small’ plates (which aren’t so small in my opinion actually!) we get the slow braised lamb ribs with smoked paprika, pickles and parsley, that just falls off the bone and a roasted cauliflower salad with smoked tomato puree. The ribs are tender, meaty, juicy; and I adore the crisp onion rings served with it, and the cauliflower makes for a bright partnering, that still compliments it with freshness from the cauliflower and tomato, but a smokiness adding some richness to it. 

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I’m honestly super full by the time the herbed free range chicken breast with truffled gnocchi, marinated celeriac, peas and sage jus comes out, with the hand cut russet chips and aioli on the side. Perhaps my ordering was a bit too rich and heavy handed…The dish is aromatic and delightful, it’s bright and quite light, the chicken itself juicy and tender. 

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Potatoes were killing it as well, with the skin so crisp and golden. Yum. Could not stop picking at these!

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Although I was dying to try dessert, I was just at that point where I was painfully full, so we opted out of dessert and instead went for a wander around Rose park while there was still light, taking in the lovely buildings and greenery before finishing our night back at the Schaller Studio where we took advantage of the cable and watched all the episodes of ‘Are You the One’ on MTV. Terrible show, but terribly addictive! 

402 Hargreaves St, Bendigo 3550
Brewhouse Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

It was quite interesting to find that the initial cafe we wanted to go to in Bendigo for breakfast was actually closed on Sundays (?!) which is how we found ourselves at Brewhouse Coffee Roasters instead. 

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It’s a huge warehouse-like space, dressed up with a bit of urban-industrial flavour. Colourful graffiti walls, mis-matched metal chairs and milk crates for lamp shades. Huge space, that’s very family friendly. 

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Coming from Melbourne, the breakfast options don’t blow my mind, but they are solid. My grilled saganaki with zucchini, eggplant, pesto, leaves and poached egg is hearty and just so delicious. I mean, it’s all my favourite things really, the saganaki is just delicious, the eggplant is cooked through so it’s lovely and soft and it’s a hearty breakfast. Touch on the salty side, but nothing really to complain about. 

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Brad’s Brewhouse Breakfast with eggs anyway (he got his scrambled), roast tomato, istra sausage, mushrooms, beans and bacon is hearty and tasty. The istra sausages in particular are way tasty. 

Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo

When we finished breakfast, we wandered over to the museum; I was surprised to find out that entry was purely by donation! How fantastic is that? 

It’s a modest museum, but with some great little exhibitions and great collection of old and new art from Australia and around the world. Great spot to have a wander, especially on a hot day!