Strike gold in Bal­larat

Want to get in on Vic­to­ria’s hottest se­cret? Beat a path to this his­toric in­land city for food, drink and fun times.

Qantas - - STRIKE GOLD IN BALLARAT - Story by LARISSA DUBECKI Illustration by EUN-YOUNG LIM

HOP TEM­PLE LANEWAY BAR

Bal­larat proves it can do laneway bars just as well as Mel­bourne with Hop Tem­ple (hoptem­ple.com.au). Off Arm­strong Street North, fol­low the brightly coloured um­brel­las hang­ing over­head past the bi­cy­cle shop to a shabby-chic king­dom where lo­cal hip­sters gather for craft beer and a pub-style menu star­ring a cross-cul­tural Cuban Reuben, served on Turk­ish bread.

YEL­LOW ESPRESSO

The lo­cal café com­pe­ti­tion is heat­ing up but Yel­low Espresso (13 Sturt Street; 03 5332 3050) is hold­ing its own, thanks to ex­cel­lent cof­fee from Axil, chilli scram­bled eggs to ward off the cold and on-trend In­sta­gram bait such as pruf­fles – pro­tein-packed truf­fles aimed at the plea­sure jugu­lar of ev­ery­one from pa­leos to ve­g­ans.

THE PUB WITH TWO NAMES

Pro­lific artist David Brom­ley has turned pub­li­can with The Pub with Two Names (thep­wtn.com.au). Tak­ing over the for­mer Peter Lalor Ho­tel, this 100-seat restau­rant and bar is dec­o­rated in Brom­ley’s trade­mark ec­cen­tric style. As for the fare, it’s a mod­ern grill with an Ar­gen­tinian ac­cent – the new Bal­larat home of meaty good times.

UNDERBAR

You can tell a city has “ar­rived” when it boasts the likes of Underbar (underbar.com.au), a 12-seat restau­rant open only on Fri­day and Satur­day nights. From New York’s famed Per Se to cen­tral Bal­larat, chef Derek Boath cel­e­brates the re­gion’s in­cred­i­ble pro­duce with a dé­gus­ta­tion menu that sees the eatery booked out as soon as seats are re­leased.

THE PRO­VIN­CIAL BAL­LARAT

An Art Nou­veau gem on Ly­di­ard Street, The Pro­vin­cial (the­p­rovin­cial­bal­larat.com.au) is a wor­thy place to lay your hat. Re­cently re­stored to its 1909 glory, these luxe digs ooze Ed­war­dian charm and have every mod con – in­clud­ing the cute ground-level Nine­teen09 restau­rant and bar.

KILDERKIN DIS­TILLERY

Con­tin­u­ing Bal­larat’s noble tra­di­tion of dis­till­ing, both le­gal and il­licit, Kilderkin (kilderkindis­tillery.com.au) flies the flag for the craft gin craze. The first new dis­tillery in the area since the 1930s, Kilderkin is an off­shoot of the highly re­garded Red Duck Brew­ery – visit their com­bined cel­lar door for gin flights and beer pad­dles.

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