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A chef’s guide to Buninyong: Dianne Ray

Visit Ballarat

19 Mar 2024

Filed underFood & Drink

Find out where The Shared Table chef and owner Dianne Ray likes to eat out in Buninyong…

Best coffee and breakfast

Maggie & Kate
4/403 Warrenheip St, Buninyong

“A locally-owned cafe nestled in the heart of Buninyong, Maggie & Kate offers delightful smiles, delicious coffee and an array of house-baked goodies with plenty of dairy-free and gluten-free options.

With an all-day breakfast and brunch menu alongside refreshing smoothies ideal for a light morning meal, it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite on a busy day or a leisurely stop to savour their warm hospitality.

Their homemade sweets, slices and biscuits are crafted in-house using locally-sourced ingredients.

They also stock local producer Grounded Pleasures’ drinking chocolates – the perfect drink for warming up on chilly Buninyong mornings.”

Best counter meal

The Crown Hotel
508 Warrenheip St, Buninyong

“In 1842, The Crown Hotel Buninyong opened its doors, becoming the first inland hotel in Victoria to get its licence.

Today, it’s still the oldest continuously licensed hotel in regional Victoria.

The gorgeous, stately, double-storey building is tucked away just 15 minutes from central Ballarat.

They’ve got all your pub classics covered – think juicy steaks, a selection of parmas with crispy hot chips, and all washed down with a solid choice of beers on tap.

Plus, you can count on good old country hospitality, generous serves and a cosy vibe that’ll make you feel right at home.”

Saltbush Kitchen

Where I stock my pantry and fridge

Buninyong Gift House
408a Warrenheip St, Buninyong

“Buninyong Gift House is my go-to here in Buninyong.

They stock some wonderful locally-made products such as jams, chutneys, sweets and sauces.

You can also find an array of Saltbush Kitchen products. Their melt-in-your-mouth sea salts and seasonings are crafted by hand in their kitchen home here in Buninyong and are infused with premium Australian bushfood flavours.

Buninyong Gift House also puts together awesome local gift hampers and hosts fun creative workshops.

It’s basically a one-stop shop for all things delightful and unique.”

Where I take the family

Red Door Pizza 
401 Warrenheip St, Buninyong

“Just about all the establishments in Buninyong serve delicious family-friendly options but Red Door Pizza is one of my personal favourites.

They make their wood-fired pizzas from scratch using top-notch ingredients from Italy and the freshest local produce.

Plus, they serve desserts from Maggie & Kate and Il Piccolo Gelato (a popular spot in Ballarat well known as the best gelato place around).

The pizza menu is super diverse, offering everything from classic crispy potato and rosemary to unique creations like slow-cooked beef and marinated mushrooms topped with apple, rocket, onion jam and Meredith Dairy goats cheese.” 

The Shared Table. Image: Matt Ray Photography

Something a bit fancy

The Shared Table
317 Learmonth St, Buninyong

“The only fine dining restaurant in Buninyong, The Shared Table is a beautiful village restaurant offering delicious, genuine, hyperlocal food from the rich volcanic soils of the surrounding area.

The limited menu boasts powerful and complex flavour combinations, featuring local products like Black Cat Truffles and Springmount Fine Foods’ black garlic as well as surprising, non-traditional dishes like tofu doughnuts and mochi gnocchi.

True to its name, our restaurant celebrates the spirit of community by connecting local suppliers and their products with enthusiastic patrons for unforgettable dining experiences.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to contribute to the evolution of fine dining in our small regional community.

Our menu is a curation of playful techniques with amazing ingredients, resulting in dishes that are both surprising and delicious, such as Ballan Local Butcher lamb and Saltbush Kitchen pepperberry dolmades that showcase two amazing local products.”

Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.