Gastrology recently attended the launch of Plate up Ballarat, an exciting month‐long event celebrating Ballarat’s wonderful food offerings, craft beers, boutique wines and a whole lot more. This year, Plate Up Ballarat will showcase local producers whilst also promoting successful and supportive connections between producers, restaurants and cafes.
Restaurateurs and cafe owners have been given the challenge to think outside the square and craft unique event offerings that you wouldn’t experience every day – using at least 3 local ingredients. In addition, they have been invited to enter a pie into the pie competition – also requiring that each pie include 3 local ingredients. This year, 38 events will run throughout the month of May 2018 with 20 pie competition entrants. The event will be supporting 91 local producers from Ballarat and the surrounding region.
3pm - Visit Ballarat Art Gallery
We arrived early, prior to the launch event to visit the Ballarat Art Gallery. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia’s oldest regional gallery with a remarkably comprehensive collection of Australian art. We loved the opportunity to walk through the history of Australian art, with important representative works from colonial to contemporary periods. The gallery features an extensive permanent collection as well as showcases a diverse range of touring and temporary exhibitions.
7pm - Plate up Ballarat Launch dinner
Plate Up Ballarat launch event was a lovely intimate dinner which had guests mingling with the region’s best producers and supporters (including affable food writer and author Richard Cornish), while enjoying a Chef Hatted meal by Damien Jones of Catfish, paired with incredible regional beers and wines. We loved hearing from passionate Plate Up Ballarat founder and Festival Director Kate Davis who shared her vision and desire to make Ballarat the culinary heart of Victoria with the launch Of “Plate Up Ballarat”.
Catfish was the perfect backdrop for the celebrations. The food was sensational! Our top picks from the dinner included the entrée of betel leaf, Clarence River prawns, chilli jam, lime leaf, crisp shallots which was a multitude of intense flavours and was highlighted by the luxuriously plump prawns and the gentle heat of the chilli jam. Another stunner was the aromatic yellow curry which again, featured stunning Clarence River prawns. The perfectly seasoned curry broth possessed the customary punchy flavours exhibited by South East Asian curries.
11pm – Having a good night’s sleep at Quality Inn Heritage on Lydiard
Nestled on Ballarat’s historic Lydiard street, Heritage on Lydiard is the perfect hub to explore the town.
The Hotel was formerly The Bank of NSW and dates back to 1862. The rooms are well appointed with amenities and we loved the heritage theme that runs throughout this stylish accommodation.
11 am – Brunch at Hydrant Food Hall
After a little sleep in, we venture out for brunch. A mere hop and skip away from the Heritage on Lydiard, Hydrant Food Hall has succeeded in crafting a convivial atmosphere in which to enjoy a lazy weekend brunch. The ambience is wonderful – bright, airy and wonderfully casual. Most importantly, friendly and hospitable wait staff will be at your service throughout your meal.
Coffee is brilliant and poured by adept baristas. On the food front, the brunch options are interesting and absolutely delicious. Think silky risotto with gourmet mushrooms, goats cheese mushroom risotto & parmesan crisp and a stunning Trio of Lamb dish featuring lamb cutlet, ribs and a smoked lamb sausage served with roasted kipflers, blistered tomatoes, jus and finished with mint pesto.
Tickets selling fast...
Make sure you check out all the individual food, wine and beer events as well as the pie competition which will be held throughout the month of May 2018. Simply go online to https://www.plateupballarat.com.au/ to find your favourite event(s) and then contact the venue directly to secure your place at the table!