We spent the first 10 days of 09 in Bright, Victoria. It rocked.
Bright is a small town in the Ovens Valley, in Victoria’s Alpine High Country. It’s freaking lovely, especially in summer – wildflowers are in bloom, stone fruit, nuts, berries, various fruit and vege are fresh and delicious, as are the local wines, cheeses, mustards and breads. The air is crisp, the sun is out, the river is sparkling and freezing refereshing. The boys ride their bikes up big hills, we romp around the valley, lie under trees, read books, take naps, visit markets, take photos and boy, do we eat!
I’m splitting the Bright blogging into three posts – eating out and eating in, and local producers, and sorry they might be kinda long. Here is eating out.
A quick note about the eating out: I am only posting those places that we both visited and loved. We ate/drank at a few other places that I’m not covering, but there were also many wineries, cafes and restaurants in the area we didn’t make it to, so this is by no means a definitive guide – just my recommendations 🙂Food Wine Friends 2/6 Ireland Street, Bright (03) 5750 1312
Food Wine Friends serves great coffee, some tasty breakkies and has a range of quiches, foccacias, tarts and scones, muffins etc, but more importantly, they stock all the best local products – Milawa Mustards, Granny’s Pantry relishes, Jim Jams jams and relishes (omg), Milawa cheeses, AND a great selection of local wines (we even bought bottles here cheaper than at the cellar door! ok, only 5c, but still cheaper!). It’s great, and our regular for the morning coffees, but we don’t call it Food Wine Friends. We call it Cute Girl Cafe, because all the girls who work there are cute! Breakkies/light lunches + coffee $10-17-ish per person.The Butter Factory 15 Myrtle St, Myrtleford
(03) 5752 2300
We popped over to Myrtleford for breakfast one morning, to sample their housemade butter (of course) and everyone at the table was delighted with the coffees and selections of local sourdough, homemade beans, local trout, organic eggs and cured bacon, homemade hashbrowns, holandaisse, mushrooms etc etc. Breakkies + coffee $15-25 per person. oh, and I didn’t yet mention the venison chorizo and olive baked eggs, did I? delicious!Simone’s of Bright 98 Gavan Street, Bright (03) 5755 2266
Umbrian-inspired, highly locally-sourced Simone’s was on our must-do list, and should also be on yours. Awarded 2 hats in The Age Good Food Guide 2009, we each enjoyed 3 courses of seafood-stuffed zucchini flowers, cannelloni, prawn and watermelon salad, rabbit, duck, Angus beef and melt-in-your-mouth goat, tiramasu, chocolate plates.. as well as great wines, great service and a lovely atmosphere in Simone’s candlelit cottage, for about $100 per person! (we went easy in the wine). Unfortunately, the lens that had been playing up all holiday decided to really throw a tantrum, and I have hardly any photos of the food – but trust me, it was gorgeous!Brown Brothers Epicurean Centre Bobbinawarrah Road, Milawa (03) 5720 5540
After visiting the cellar door last year, a lazy lunch at Brown Bros was also on our to-do list this year. A quick zip over to Milawa (and a stop over at the cheese factory and Milawa Mustards to stock up the esky) and then an afternoon of great wines – selected with the help of our sommelier Rebecca – matched to 3 courses of our choice. Great-great-great were the rabbit lasagne, the bruschetta of blue eye cod with onion and currants (omg), boar sausage rustic pie and the spatchcocked baby chicken with truffle butter, and wow, the flourless chocolate tart, and the unbelievable caramelised peach tart. The food was a little bit hit and miss – nothing was downright terrible, but I guess there is always the danger of serious menu envy at a table for 7! Brown Brothers is also great value – each course is matched with 3 wine suggestions, or you can take your choice from off menu (though Michael – chef? head sommelier? – may get his knickers in a knot if he doesn’t like your choice!!). Entrees are $12-20, mains $20-35, desserts $15, each including an accompanying wine choice. We paid around $60 per person, and got to try – and then rushed over to the cellar door to purchase – some lovely drops we may never have discovered without doing the Epicurean Centre experience. Worth it! Bookings recommended – we sat near the door and saw several hopeful groups turned away.Morrie’s Homemade Icecreamery
Great Alpine Road, Harrietville (03) 5759 2612
OMG. Go. To. Morries. As. Soon. As. You. Can. Not only is this kickass homemade icecream and gelato, in unbelievable flavours using local ingredients (local hazelnuts, strawberries, wild river plums!!!), they did something I have never, ever seen in all my icecream eating years: they chipped off several long chunks from the tub, and carefully slotted them into the waffle cone. And then still built up a tower of deliciousness. I had double chocolate and wild river plum. And then died of being happy. $5-ish for a towering double flavour waffle.Roksalt Gourmet Fish and Chippery Camp Street, Bright (03) 5755 1515
Though I may be prone to hyperbole from time to time, I am with all seriousness stating, really truly, I’m not kidding, this is the best fish and chips I have ever eaten. This may even be one of the top seafood meals I have ever eaten in any kiosk, cafe or restaurant. Bright may be far far from the ocean, but this is super fresh, simple, expertly cooked seafood, homemade condiments and handcut chips. Not to mention the corn (quartered lengthways) which is juicy, sprinkled with herby salt and indescribably delicious. Tom, Kath and I grabbed a quick lunch here – cajun spiced marlin, grilled salmon and tempura battered flake, a curl of corn each, a pile of fat handcut chips to share, and a tub each of wasabi mayo, coriander and basil pesto and chunky creamy tartare: all up around $10 per person!!! Not sharing chips, probably $10-20 per person – and they have a great range of salads and other tasty things on their chalkboard menu.The Berry Farm 6300 Great Alpine Rd, Eurobin (03) 5756 2523
Have you tried their Berry Cup? it’s Highly Delicious! The Berry Farm also makes and sells sorbets, icecreams, pies, jams and wines, along with fresh and frozen berries. But seriously, can you go past a cup of vanilla icecream layered with mixed berries and handmade berry syrup, with cream on top? I didn’t think so. Maybe you’re even up to the challenge of a Mega Berry Cup? (Go Lauryne!). Anyway, very much worth dropping in for something berryfull and refreshing, under a leafy tree.Mount Beauty Bakery Pasticceria Cafe Kiewa Street, Mount Beauty (03) 5754 4870
Baked goods. Coffee, Made to order sandwiches. Truely crap coffee pay and order system, where if you want both coffee and food, you have to line up twice. Without that being explained to you. And then getting yelled at for standing directly behind the person at the second counter, instead of to the side, where another line has formed since you’ve been standing there. They also have lime trees in their courtyard, with the limes going to waste! But still, they have some nice baked goods and we haven’t tried anywhere else in Mt Beauty (somehow, no photos!).Bright Brewery 121 Great Alpine Road, Bright (03) 5755 1301
The Bright Brewery is down by the Ovens River, and the “bottom end” of town (that’s some local lingo for you – Food Wine Friends is at the “top”). This microbrewery produces a range of ales, wheat beers, dark ale and a raspberry wheat beer! It’s a great spot to relax under the shadecloths and try a few local drops of a different kind – although they also stock a few wines if you prefer. They also serve simple single-serve pizzas ($15) and other snacks.
(03) 5728 1132
That crazy Tom O’Toole. If you’re driving ANYWHERE NEAR Beechworth (say, driving home to Sydney from Bright?), seriously: STOP and get a spinich and fetta roll. And a chocolate eclair. Maybe a Ned Kelly Pie (what is it with Ned Kelly and meat pies???), definitely a Chicken and Leek pie. And probably a copy of More Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery, so you can try your hand at making them all when you get home (thanks for the b’day present, Andy!).