Dining in Berwick and beyond has taken a dazzling turn for the better in the past few years. When we first moved here Berwick had very few dining options besides a thriving collection of small cafes. Eighty-One Berwick was the foodie jewel in the crown but reviewers were unable to stop themselves from mentioning its “unexpected location.” Since then someone, somewhere has caught on to the fact that Berwick is a picturesque and thriving township in a beautiful location full of locals who love eating out in the City, but will be even happier if you bring a great restaurant right to our tree-lined front door. Combine this with the fact that there is easy access to great fresh, local produce from nearby Gippsland and this makes Berwick and beyond a perfect location to open an interesting new restaurant.
2016 has seen the opening of One Fine Day in Beaconsfield, the very busy House of Burgers in High St, Berwick and the soon to be opened Mr Blacks Juicery in my favourite Berwick location, Blackburn Square. Earlier in the year we had the ridiculously popular Food Truck Carnival held in Akoonah Park where even the organisers were taken aback at its popularity. It should not have been unexpected though because the secret of Berwick is that a lot of people live here for its natural beauty, peacefulness, proximity and affordability.
So here are some of the more recent “hot spots” for dining in Berwick and beyond.
Meatpackers District Berwick
I visited on Friday night, just two days after its opening. MPD sits at the back of the Zagames site and is actually owned and operated by Zagames Restaurant. They have had the foresight to realise that Melbourne diners are serious about their eating and thus have brought in Chris Bonello of Vue de Monde fame as executive chef. They have also spent a lot of time and money on the fit-out and although I was not expecting to like it, I actually did. A lot. Leather banquettes, exposed brick and timber, tartan carpet and glass are just some of the wonderful textures that all combine to great effect. I felt like I was in some seventies movie and I liked it. Service was also excellent, outstanding, impressive and the food was perfection with a touch of razzle dazzle.
Cannibal Creek Vineyard built a brand new, very handsome restaurant on the site of its respected winery, in late 2015. Chef Philipe Desrettes has some very impressive credentials and he is joined by his talented partner in front of house duties. They are serving beautiful French food in a wonderful location just a 30 minute drive from Berwick. Visit for a try of their very impressive wine list and stay for the open fire, excellent food and the beautiful comfort of their dining room.
The Lakeside Mill
Executive chef Jake Kellie, from Estelle, has made his way out to this newly opened restaurant in the main street of Pakenham. The man can cook and it seems that no expense was spared in delivering this impressive new restaurant, including the addition of a par excellence coffee machine.
The menu includes the Chef’s Selection option of snacks and five courses for $80, as well as a line up of reliable and interesting dishes from which to choose. The food at the Lakeside Mill is worth driving across town for and we can be happy that as locals we do not have very far to go.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the more established favourites that are also available locally and that I think most of us already know and love.
The award winning O.My in Beaconsfield.
Le Voltaire Bistrot Francais in Belgrave
Then there are some great newish cafes that definitely deserve a visit.
A generous new selection of cafes at the brand new Casey Central.
Plus I heard the awesome rumour that there is a new local food truck on the scene, coming soon. Yippee!
All up I think that we can safely say that Berwick, with its sprawling popularity, open green spaces and slow, gentle beauty, is finally getting the dining scene that it deserves.
Here’s to more great cafes and restaurants in Berwick.
Now excuse me while I get out there and enjoy it. 🙂