Bendigo Craft Beer Festival 2013

Bendigo Craft Beer Festival 2013 - Flyers
Bendigo Craft Beer Festival
Saturday 30th November, 2013

I’m not going to sugar coat it – I had a lot to drink at this event. And there wasn’t any opportunity for palate cleansing between drinks. So about all I’m going to be useful for is my “top picks” and a heap of photos. Sorry in advance for literally not remembering most people’s names (thank Christ I came home with a heap of business cards) – I did a lot of hand shaking but there wasn’t much that sunk in… Because I was there primarily to have a good time with friends. Enjoy! Continue reading

The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery & Café

Sourdough is undoubtedly my favourite type of bread – so I’m grateful to have an excellent sourdough bakery local to me. The Good Loaf is situated in an iconic round building that used to be a Beaurepaires tyre store. As you can imagine, a lot of renovations were carried out to convert the building to a bakery.

While this blog is primarily a gluten free zone, I desperately wanted to give The Good Loaf a write up because their bread is amazing and gluten is often given a bad rap no matter what form it comes in. What many people don’t realise is that true, traditional sourdough, like what’s produced at The Good Loaf, takes 2-3 days to make. During this process, the natural fermentation pre-digests the wheat/gluten through enzymatic activity creating greater bio-availability of nutrients and a lower G.I., allowing those of you with gluten sensitivities and intolerances to have greater success digesting sourdough than regular bread containing baker’s yeast.

For those interested, The Good Loaf makes gluten free bread on Wednesdays but it’s not recommended for celiacs because of the gluten in the environment/possible cross contamination. There is, however, a dedicated gluten free bakery up the street that I’ll talk about another time.

TGL Front Counter

The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery & Café
404 Hargreaves Street
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5444 2171
Open Mon – Sat
Facebook Page

Cheryl, one of the owners, was kind enough to give me some of her time earlier this week in the form of a behind-the-scenes tour of the bakery. She introduced me to the staff and gave me a lot of information about producing sourdough and creating natural yeast in a temperature controlled environment. Admittedly I was unable to absorb some of the information because I was just so excited to be there! Yep, I’m a dork.

It was clear in the first 10 seconds of our conversation that Cheryl is highly dedicated and passionate about her business – it shows not only in her enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge, but also in the standard of products the bakery produces. There’s a strong driving force behind the success of the bakery that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Continue reading

Bendigo Corner Store Café

BCSC1

Bendigo Corner Store Café
305 View Street
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5442 2008

We visited the Bendigo Corner Store Café the other day. You might remember me mentioning local chef Lee Bryant in my post about “Dejustation”, a local vegan & gluten free degustation event last month. Lee works at the Bendigo Corner Store Café along with three other chefs, so I thought I’d pop in and check out what sort of food they have on offer. Continue reading

Cakewalk

Cake Walk 1

Cakewalk
Lyttleton Terrace (next to Bendigo Wholefoods)
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5442 3499

The Cakewalk shop front is barely two weeks old. Julianne, the owner, has been making custom cakes from home for over a year and has now expanded with this neat little bake shop next door to Bendigo Wholefoods. Continue reading

Local 6 Course Degustation – Vegan & Gluten Free

Last night we attended a fancy degustation event with a couple of friends which was part of the Melbourne food & wine festival. It’s rare for a culinary opportunity to come along that suits my diet so perfectly, so passing this up wasn’t an option.

Goldmines Hotel Bendigo

The event was held in the beer garden at the Goldmines Hotel in Bendigo at 49-57 Marong Rd. The under cover area comfortably seated 60 people and beyond that, there was literally a garden. Continue reading

Brewhouse Coffee Roasters

Brewhouse 1
Brewhouse
7 Eve Court (access via Abel St, not Breen St!)
Golden Square, VIC

402 Hargreaves St
Bendigo, VIC
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 5442 8232

This venue looks great and I’m annoyed that I didn’t take any photos of it for you all! It’s in the heart of an industrial area and is inside a big shed. The counter & kitchen are tucked inside a shipping container with doors & windows cut out. Outside the barrista station hangs four giant industrial lamps; throughout the rest of the shed, light globes hang with rolled up paddock-style wire fencing wrapped around them as makeshift light shades. The tables are long, wooden and rustic looking and they’re paired with metal chairs.

Brewhouse has moved – I haven’t visited the new location yet. Continue reading

Bath Lane Café

Bath Lane Café
13 Bath Lane
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5441 5400

Mr. AA often goes on a “man date” with one of his mates when he has the day off work. They recently went to the Bath Lane Café together, and Mr. AA, being the wonderful, considerate man he was, scanned the menu for vegan options to see if he could bring me there (without me having to dissect the menu and ask to have a special meal made up).

As it turns out, a wonderful lady that I met online via my osteopath is the manager there. She makes a kick arse coffee that will have you climbing the walls if you don’t drink coffee often; it’s super strong and it’s refreshingly fabulous to finally be served soy milk that’s velvety as opposed to foamy! Nice work, Jaime.

Bath Lane Coffee
Can you tell we have a mutual girl-crush? Check out the super cute heart in my coffee! We also both happened to be wearing yellow cardigans – I think our friendship is meant to be. Continue reading

T’hooft

T’hooft
322 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5444 4448

T'hooft Inside 1

T’hooft is a kitschy little café in Bendigo with a big reputation. The retro barrista caravan and mismatched ’50s dining furniture will score you a mountain of hipster points just for looking at it sideways. Seriously – you don’t even need to step in the front door! Continue reading

Dhosa Hut

Dhosa Hut 1
Dhosa Hut
32 – 42 High Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5443 3222

Dhosa hut 2
Dhosa Hut is a really pleasant restaurant to be inside. It’s clean, modern and welcoming. I wish I’d taken more photos for you!

Dhosa Hut 3
Battered chili (using chickpea flour). This didn’t sound too appealing to me on the menu but I was admittedly curious. Someone else on our table ordered it and after being assured it was vegan, I decided to have a taste and I actually REALLY liked it. It was well seasoned and fairly mild (well, for a fried chili!).

Dhosa Hut 4
This is the eggplant masala – it’s normally something I’d avoid because almost every other eggplant masala I’ve ever had has been swimming in oil, but this one was rather lean and had other veggies mixed in with it. I’m not sure if the red cabbage had any purpose other than to look pretty, though.

Sadly and surprisingly, this was the ONLY vegan main on the menu – AT AN INDIAN RESTAURANT. Sorry guys, but… WTF? I asked lots of questions about the menu (the waiter was very helpful and patient with me); I was keen to have a dahl, but all three dahls on the menu contained dairy and couldn’t be made vegan for me. Sadface.

Dhosa Hut 5
Saffron rice.

Dhosa Hut 6
Stuffed bread (onion & spices). Definitely a winner!

At the time, we were the only table of patrons in the restaurant and the meals were coming out very slowly. Granted there was 9 adults and a child at our table – but we’d made our booking well in advance. I suspect that there was only one person working in the kitchen that night and he/she was feeling the pressure. The meals came out in a fairly orderly fashion, but the breads were all over the place. Some arrived before the meals and others (mine) didn’t arive until well after I’d finished my curry – and I was eating my curry VERY slowly. What’s the point of ordering bread, if not to mop up some curry, right?

Staff were friendly but the kitchen was slow. If you were to order take-away, you’re likely to get much better service. Sadly I won’t be heading back here – not only because there was only ONE thing on the menu I could eat, but also because there’s a far better Indian restaurant down the road (which I’ll definitely be reviewing for you in the near future).

Dhosa Hut on Urbanspoon

Bunja Thai

Bunja Thai
32 Pall Mall
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Australia
(03) 5441 8566

Bunja 1

If you’re a fan of Thai food, you need to get your butt over here, stat! Bunja has been around since 2006 and is in the old Colonial Bank building in Bendigo. The architecture both inside and out is impressive but I won’t bore you with my silly photos of it – check them on their website, or go and see it for yourself!

I only have a few photos to share with you below, but since I’ve tried most of the items on the menu, I can (and will) offer my comments on many of the dishes. Most of the items on the menu can be made vegan on request (all vegetarian curries are already vegan – this includes no shrimp paste or oyster sauce); they also cater to gluten free diets.

Dinner (both eat in & take-away) is available; they also offer a $12 lunch special which includes a curry, a stir fry, some plain rice, salad and a roti. The serves are decent but the lunch menu is set and no changes can be made for special dietary requirements so keep this in mind if you need to.

Bunja 3

This is the Pud Prik King – my favourite stir fry! It’s fiery but also refreshing because of the kaffir lime leaves. This has quickly become my favourite dish on the menu because it’s vegetable heavy and makes my gums tingle (yes, I dig that, haha) and doesn’t make me feel like a fat roly poly, even when I eat the whole serve – which, by the way, is very generous.

Bunja 4

This is the coconut rice which is creamy and sticky. It has shredded kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass in it and i’m a big fan of it… but it’s not quite as good as my home made version 😉

Bunja 6

This is the green curry (non-vegan photo).

Bunja 5

This is the roti with satay sauce (also not vegan – sorry!).

My menu notes:

    • Entrees: The vegetable popia tod (spring rolls) contain vegan ingredients, however they share a deep fryer with non-vegan items, so I’ll leave that one up to your discretion. Some people are more strict with their diets than others.
    • Soups: Unfortunately both the tom yum & tom kha soups contain shrimp paste. You can request these vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as the vegan versions lack flavour in a big way (however if you’re not vegan and like hot & sour flavours, I suggest you jump on the tom yum soup). On the up side of this, I have a tom yum soup recipe on my back log to share with you in the future!
    • Curries: all of these are excellent and all are coconut milk based bar the jungle curry. The veg versions contain tofu which is cut into small cubes and is scarce. I like this; dishes that are overpowered by tofu are a huge turn off for me.
      The yellow curry (gang garee) is highly recommended if you’re not too adventurous. It’s sweet and contains potato!
      The massamun curry (gang massamun) is the next step up from this – it’s slightly spicier but still mild & familiar – it contains potato, pineapple and peanuts.
      The panang curry is similar in heat to the massamun curry but flavour-wise also contains basil and is heavier on other veg (not potatoes).
      The red curry (gang ped) is medium spicy. I often think of this one as “just right”; it’s my favourite of the curries and contains a good mix of veggies.
      The green curry (ganga keow wann) is spicy and always makes my nose run (in a good way!). As per the red curry, it contains a good mix of veg.
      The jungle curry (gang pah) is the first dish I ever tried at Bunja. It’s not coconut milk based and is very much like a soup-ish version of the pud prik king stir fry (pictured above).

Bunja 2

    • Stir Fries: these are my favourite part of the menu! As a general rule, these aren’t heavy in your belly – meaning you can eat your entire giant serve without feeling like you need to be rolled out of the restaurant!
      The Pud Ped Gatii is a stir fry version of the red curry. It has the same great flavours and vegetables, but isn’t swimming in quite as much liquid.
      The Pud King is fairly wimpy heat-wise, so if you’d prefer something sweet but not creamy, I’d recommend this.
      The Pud Beow Waan is a typical sweet & sour dish with pineapple and all! it’s nice, but not really my cup of tea.
      The Pud Bai Horapah is described in the menu as “not for the faint hearted” but my honest opinion is that it’s not the hottest stir fry on the menu – the pud prik king is. It also doesn’t have any kaffir lime in it, so it’s missing the refreshing feeling I really like.
      The Pud Satay is creamy, sweet and mild. It’s not too heavy on peanut flavour (though you can definitely taste it). This is one I’d definitely recommend to those who don’t like spice and aren’t too adventurous.
    • Dessert: I’ve only tried one thing from the dessert menu – it’s durian (tropical fruit) in a sticky coconut/rice pudding. It comes with ice-cream, which I give to Mr. AA. If you’ve never had durian before, you’re in for a shock. It stinks like onions but it tastes delicious. If you want to try something new and think you can get past the smell, TRY IT. Even if you don’t like it, at least you can say you’ve had it!

 

Also, just a quick note that’s not food related. The toilets are clean and well stocked! While there’s only one female cubicle, there’s a change room with nappies and complimentary sanitary items in case of emergency. Have you ever seen anything like it NOT in a hotel??

Bunja Thai Restaurant and Takeaway on Urbanspoon