- The Good Food Guide 2022 hub
Restaurants worthy of a little (or large) detour around regional Victoria.
Aaron Turner's fine diner remains an exciting den of fire and fermentation that sets the trend for of-the-moment eating. Ethically sourced produce is front of mind, from charred sugarloaf cabbage to earthy artichoke finished with ribbon-thin cured scallop. Add warm, intuitive service and a brilliant drinks program, and you have the complete package.
Ryan Pl South, Geelong, restaurantigni.com
Aaron Turner and Joanna Smith at Igni. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
Long-time Japanophile Michael Ryan has delivered a thoughtful, technically brilliant menu from this grand Bank of Australasia building for 12 years. Surprise: the pandemic has improved it. Now, dinner takes the form of four waves of bento-style courses to showcase Ryan's myriad miso-cured pickles, kimchi, and puffy balls of mushroom tofu.
86 Ford St, Beechworth, 03 5728 1786, theprovenance.com.au
Provenance restaurant in Beechworth. Photo: Colin Page
Owner-chef Brigitte Hafner cooks rustic Italian recipes from the heart at this impeccably restored 100-year-old timber farmhouse on the Mornington Peninsula. It might be a saffron and sherry-sauced hapuka fired in the smouldering hearth, or a dry-aged rib-eye respectfully left to its own devices. The only challenge is securing a booking.
1175 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Red Hill, tedesca.com.au/osteria-tedesca
A spread worth travelling for at Osteria Tedesca. Photo: James Broadway
Just 16 diners gather around a centrepiece ash table to experience Derek Boath's stunning 10-course menu twice a week. Bookings, released a month in advance, are as coveted as the gold Ballarat was built on. The lucky few can expect a joyful, seasonal trip with big-city technique shaped by the owner-chef's stint at NYC's three-Michelin-starred Per Se.
3 Doveton St North, Ballarat, underbar.com.au
Underbar in Ballarat is tiny and mighty. Photo: Lucy Boath
Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel
Follow the spot-lit path through bushland to this space-age dining room and you'll be glad you made the pilgrimage. A kitchen garden fuels a multi-course tasting menu. Expect several surprises, such as alphabet soup spelling chef Robin Wickens' name with flavours of young garlic, or foamy Colac truffle custard with the hidden crunch of salt and vinegar potato.
98 Parker St, Dunkeld, 03 5577 2241, royalmail.com.au
The view from the dining room at Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld.
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This article features in the Good Food Guide 2022 magazine, published on November 30 with presenting partners Citi and Vittoria Coffee, and free with The Age. Also on sale from December 7 in newsagents and supermarkets.