Little Picket at Lorne Bowling Club might be Australia’s most remarkable bowlo restaurant. The chef behind it, Jo Barrett, is one of the country’s rising culinary stars, having taken Yarra Valley’s Oakridge Wines to new heights during her time on the pans there, followed by a six month stint living and working at Melbourne’s zero-waste urban farm, Future Food System, in Federation Square.
What ultimately lured Barrett to Lorne was the opportunity to set up a four-acre market garden – which has always been a dream of hers – on a mate’s nearby property. Thus, the menu at Little Picket revolves around what she can grow herself, or gather from the community garden across the road. Locals are also welcome to bring in surplus produce from their own gardens.
The offering naturally shifts with the seasons, but past highlights include homemade dim sims filled with local pork and cabbage, handmade cheeses, and larger dishes such as bouillabaisse with Portarlington mussels or Yan Yan Gurt West Farm lamb from the nearby Deans Marsh. For dessert, expect “very clubby” sweets from the by-the-slice buffet: sponge cakes, lemon tarts and ginger puddings.
Set within a beautiful white weatherboard building, the club was without a restaurant for two years until Little Picket arrived. Club members helped Barrett and the team – including chef Louise Daily and craft-beer expert David Osgood – freshen up the space, while retaining its original clubhouse feel.
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