Ballarat's destination diner, Underbar, is doubling down on that reputation by moving into new boutique accommodation, Hotel Vera, when it opens in the former gold-rush town in September.
That will be welcome news for diners settling in for chef Derek Boath's 10-course tasting menus, which don't use a single ingredient twice.
Boath, who opened Underbar with wife Lucy Taylor in 2016, will be cooking fine-dining fare at Underbar at weekends, as well as overseeing a more casual weekday menu and, for hotel guests, a Continental-style breakfast.
The hotel's seven rooms will each sport a unique look, with heritage features such as marble fireplaces and freestanding bathtubs. The redbrick building dates to the mid-1880s. Vera is the work of local hoteliers Martin Shew and David Cook-Doulton, who have just opened Hotel Ernest in Bendigo.
Situated between the original mansion and a new wing, the new Underbar will scale from 16 seats to 14 (including a six-seat chef's counter).
Boath has partnered with local sommelier Anthony Schuurs to open Pencilmark Wine Room in the space Underbar is vacating. They plan to open in June.
Underbar's last service in its current home is May 14.
"It's exciting and a little daunting at the same time," says Boath. "It's been our home for the past five years. But with change comes opportunities."
Meanwhile, Boath will appear at Heritage Harvest Weekend on May 29 discussing the new relevance of old food traditions, part of the Ballarat Heritage Festival.
Hotel Vera will open at 710 Sturt Street, Ballarat, hotelballarat.com.au