Vicky Falconer might be in her 70s, but some of the chefs in Castlemaine rank her cooking better than their own. She opened Fig with daughter Julia Bandelli in August 2016, and together the pair plate up homey seasonal eats shaped by local produce.
Their cake game is particularly strong. Fruit-laden tea cakes, pillowy chocolate meringue and sugar-dusted sponges come accompanied by a decent dollop of double cream.
The breakfast and lunch menu moves with the seasons and whatever happens to currently “tickle their fancy”. The ladies use as much local produce as possible –even the Queen Anne’s Lace flowers filling vases come from Julia’s home garden.
Meals are on the lighter side, meaning you can save room for cake. Try the gluten-free muesli of toasted apricot, macadamia, coconut, chocolate and vanilla, topped with Greek yoghurt, milk and pears roasted in local verjuice and thyme. For savoury palates, try the nduja (spreadable salami) folded through butter and spread onto casalinga toast, which is then topped with a fried egg and fresh rocket. At lunch, there’s a daily array of salads, and a beef and shiitake mushroom pie served with housemade chutney and green salad.
Drink coffee from Code Black in the morning and local beers and wines in the afternoon. There’s a real-deal fireplace in the main room; and the front sunroom lends itself to people watching.