Ballarat’s food scene is booming. Thanks to new openings, a steady influx of boutique producers and a growing awareness of the town’s personalised fine-dining experiences, Ballarat is having a moment. This year a new festival backs that sentiment. Plate Up aims to unite local growers, producers, venues, and beer and wine merchants in the region for the entire month of May.
Here’s a selection of the best events to look out for.
Catfish Street Food with Attwood Wines
On Wednesday May 2, Catfish owner and head chef Damien Jones is roping in sommelier and friend Troy Walsh for a one-night-only feast of his signature contemporary Thai street food paired with local wines. Walsh runs Attwood wines, based in nearby Scotsburn, and is a former colleague of Jones (the pair worked at Nahm in London). While Jones dishes up his award-winning fare the winemaker will take guests through the glasses on offer.
Ballarat, A Tasting at Underbar – sold out
Nordic-inspired diner Underbar was an immediate hit when it opened last year. Chef and owner Derek Boath runs a personalised service at his intimate high-end diner; it seats just 12 guests at a time, and the the restaurant is regularly booked out a month in advance.
For Plate Up Boath is serving a seasonal tasting menu with accompanying local wines. And there will be a focus on local producers, which will include Mitchell Harris Wines, Latta Vino, and Western Plains Pork.
Update: this event is now sold out.
Dinner on the Dark Side of the Moon
Moon & Mountain is a newcomer to Mair Street and has made a name for itself with its fresh Australian twists on Asian-inspired cuisine; it serves betal leaves, sticky pork and baos. This four-hour service will feature local producers Benview Farms Lamb, Inglenook Dairy and Summerfield Winery.
A Fresh Concept – Menu Takeover #1
Scott Barclay from The Forge Pizzeria is pairing up with Ronnie Singh from the East India Trading Co. for a night of true cross-continental collaboration. Having fallen in love with the unexpected local flavours of Indian street fare while spending time in India, Barclay has invited Singh to present this feast of street dishes both traditional and modern, made with local produce.
The Stables Grand Re-Opening
Celebrate the re-opening of the fabled stables on Mair Street with a cocktail, canapes and more. Australian artist David Bromley’s grand revival of the famed Pub With Two Names will launch with a three-hour cocktail party on Thursday May 17. Under the service of Chef Dona – aka Donatello Pietrantuono – food and drink from around the region will be the star, including produce from Tuki Trout Farm, Summerfield Winery, and Attwoods Wines.
Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, Le Peche Gourmand, Fika and Attwood Wines – 4 The Passion – sold out
Four of the region’s best producers are teaming up for this inimate dinner aimed at encouraging conversation over “breaking bread”. Salt Kitchen and Le Peche Gourmand are behind the charcuterie, baguette, smoked bratwurst, streaky bacon, cassoulet and petit fours, while Doveton Street North coffee brewers Fika provides the caffeine. Scotburn winery Attwoods will handle the chardonnay, shiraz and pinot noir.
Update: this event is now sold out.
Ballarat Craft Breweries – Brewers Backyard
Knock-off drinks on Friday May 11 are sorted. Unwind in the revitalised indoor car park on Armstrong Street South while listening to DJs and sampling some of Ballarat’s best and award-winning beers. Local breweries Athletic Club, Red Duck, Cubby Haus Brewing and Hop Temple will each have their wares on display, and brewers will be on hand to answer any questions. Wine and beer food will also be available.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Ballarat.