Where to do brunch in Ballarat this summer
The Ballarat region's cafes are going way beyond the smashed avocado this summer by putting on special brunches to entice visitors, friends and family out of bed after a long sleep in.
It could be a Japanese-inspired menu, a Thai-style yum cha with bottomless cocktails, or simply a plate of local bacon, eggs, mushroom and spinach served with a wicked Bloody Mary.
Ballarat cafes are pulling out all the stops and offering some excellent brunch menus to put the "break" back into the late breakfast.
The Seasonal Brunch
The Shared Table, 317 Learmonth Street, Buninyong
Ballarat chef Dianne Ray has been wowing diners from across the state in her new cool, clean and relaxed dining room in the historic village of Buninyong, 10 minutes from the heart of Ballarat. She seamlessly blends Northern European traditions with Japanese culinary sensibilities. This summer, Dianne has launched her new series of seasonally-inspired long brunches (pictured above) that highlight her skill as a chef and her generosity of spirit. Dishes change with the seasons but could include a delicious egg roll taco with crunchy salt, followed with perhaps succulent slow-cooked Sher Wagyu rib straps with yuzu salsa verde, or something as simple as a brownie with tahini honey coulis.
The Tin Roof Brunch
Tin Roof, 302 Macarthur Street, Soldiers Hill
This thriving corner cafe with its wide veranda sits in the heart of inner city Soldiers Hill. Spread yourself out and enjoy a selection of popular brunch items such as the breakfast pizza with tomato, mozzarella and bacon with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Or maybe the Spanish-style eggs with house-made beans and chorizo or, for the sweet tooth, perhaps the crepes with mixed berries, lemon curd, berry crumble and ice cream.
The Hydrant Smorgasbord
Hydrant Food Hall, 3 McKenzie St, Ballarat
Pictured above, this is a breakfast plate to be remembered, a wonderfully generous offering that literally covers the large slate tile on which it is served. Where to start? The coconut tapioca parfait is laced with fresh fruit and is a healthy way to start the day. Then there’s the crunch of house-made granola topped with yoghurt and saffron-poached apple. Then slather those cinnamon waffles with chocolate sauce and move on to the egg and bacon sliders plus fresh fruit and coffee.
The Turret All Day Breakfast
Turret Cafe and Catering, 802 Sturt St, Ballarat
Offering a large selection of healthy breakfast options to kick start your day, with gluten-free options available. The hero dish is the Gobi Tikki (cauliflower fritters mixed with fresh herbs and Persian fetta and served on a bed of rocket with two poached eggs, fetta, avocado smash and finished with house-made chilli jam). Or try the seasonal greens with haloumi (sautéed seasonal greens, grilled halloumi cheese, poached egg and beetroot cream served with house-made tomato relish and toasted ciabatta).
Johnny Alloo Hot Smoked Salmon
Johnny Alloo, 32 Drummond Street North, Ballarat
Chef Andy Gale takes whole salmon, trims and de-bones the fish, brines the fish for 24 hours, then hot smokes the cutlets for just 15 minutes. Then he grills the salmon to order and serves it aside a golden potato rosti with burnt lemon gel, buttermilk dressing and watercress plus two poached free range eggs and fresh asparagus.
Yachty Big Breakfast
The Yacht Club, 18 Wendouree Parade, Ballarat
Spend a lazy morning on the deck looking out over Lake Wendouree while devouring two eggs, two Salt Kitchen Charcuterie sausages and bacon, hash brown, spinach, baked beans, mushrooms and tomato on sourdough.
Red Lion Hotel, 217-229 Main Road, Golden Point
Enjoy a long, lazy brunch at the Red Lion Hotel this summer with three delicious choices to choose from. Take your pick from French toasted pancakes (pictured above) with berry compote, banana, ice cream and fairy floss; a savoury option of corn, zucchini and cheddar fritters with chilli jam, spinach and smashed avocado; or brunch classic Eggs Benedict with Creswick Open Range poached eggs, Country Style Smallgoods free range ham and hollandaise on an English muffin.
The Western Hotel, 1221 Sturt Street, Ballarat (only valid 14 and 21 February 2021)
Every once in a while, a latte-centric early breakfast just won't cut it, so treat yourself to morning-meets-afternoon delights and a drink or two at The Western Hotel. Choose from a selection of cocktails, bubbles, wine and tap beer, accompanied by platter-style share plates featuring some sweet and savoury options to satisfy your taste buds.
Webster's Market and Cafe, 61 Webster Street, Ballarat
Eat healthy or go for broke at Webster's. You could look after your body with a seasonal greens bowl with quinoa, peas, broccoli, avocado and goats cheese, or satisfy the senses with the brioche French toast topped with honey-roasted peaches, walnut brittle, bacon and ricotta mousse. Look out for the breakfast grazing board with cheddar and prosciutto or start the day with granola.
Avocado Smash with Pumpkin Hash
Drive Cafe, 227 Grant St, Golden Point
Drive Cafe has taken over a mid-twentieth century drive-in garage with that classic mushroom-shaped architectural awning. Go there this summer for the healthy but somehow decadent vegan and gluten-free friendly brunch that sees pickled fennel with smooth Meredith Dairy feta, beetroot hummus and avocado served on a pumpkin hash.
Brunch it at the George
The George Hotel, 27 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat
Share platter consisting of Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables yoghurt and seasonal stewed fruits, house-made granola, smoked salmon bruschetta, roasted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, avocado smash, waffles, mixed berry compote and Persian rose fairy floss.
Click here to find out more about Ballarat's Summer of Fun. And be sure to share your #summerballarat moments on social media.