It’s hard to shake the weirdness of eating a lovely lunch on the site of a former prison. But any haunting thoughts are quickly banished by the combination of good food, good wine and a sprawling view of Castlemaine.

Set on one of the highest hills in town, The Governor’s Cafe resides in former Governor’s quarters of the 1861-built Old Castlemaine Gaol. There are multiple rooms indoors for keeping cosy in the cooler months, but our pick is the outdoor patio. It’s leafy with garden plots of vegetables (that end up on your plate) and offers one of the best views in town. It’s a lovely place to sit with a local beer or wine in hand while soaking up some sunshine.

The menu here moves with the seasons, spanning from healthy superfood bowls to bistro-level hearty pasta. The selection is particularly friendly towards vegetarian, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free appetites.

The cafe’s all-in-one breakfast and lunch menu is available Thursday through Monday, and you can also eat dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. Try the Raw Bowl of toasted quinoa, chickpeas, red cabbage kimchi, pumpkin, spinach and turmeric dressing, or the housemade potato and herb gnocchi, with burnt butter, sage, kale, hazelnuts and parmesan.

A house blend and single-origin coffee from Malmsbury’s Moto Bean Coffee Roasters feature in the hoppers.

Updated: September 10th, 2018

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