News – Dining out in Ballarat

Ballarat is filled with divine purveyors of all things edible and drinkable.

This guide is a small sample of the many fine venues showcasing Open Program exhibitions during the 10th Ballarat International Foto Biennale.

1816 BAKEHOUSE 18 Armstrong Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Farmscapes – Andree Gersbeck

Like Pepé Le Pew, the scent of freshly baked cinnamon scrolls and sweet straight-out-of-the-oven scones wafts right down Armstrong Street. In pure animated fashion, one cannot go to Ballarat without popping into 1816 Bakehouse for some of that sweet sourdough goodness. Try the cronut or the croissant or the cookies – actually, anything that starts with C… including the coffee.

AUNTY JACKS 315-317 Mair Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Model Citizens – Laurie Brackley

Enjoy a cold frothy at Ballarat’s newest brewhouse where you can sip on amber gold made in the same building. Soak up the impressive interior and sample the glorious flavours plus a tasty snack on the side. Perfect after a day wandering the streets of Ballarat for the Biennale.


OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION Beyond the Catwalk: A Decade of Fashion Photography – Naomi Rahim

If you can’t beat them, join them! Become part of the neighbourhood at Ellington’s Wine Bar in the heart of Ballarat. Enjoy bar snacks and share plates (try the produce plate) with a drop of Ballarat’s finest. Staying locally? Peruse the shelves in the shop for a bottle to take home to share.

THE FORGE PIZZERIA 14 Armstrong Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  The Garden State – Dun Rilloraza

What a vibrant day you will have adventuring through the laneways and creative spaces of Ballarat. Continue the colour and enjoy a feast with friends at the sublime Forge Pizzeria. A fun night out exploring the menu within the historic building which once housed the local blacksmith. We live for the Anvil Pizza but try your luck with the classics. Either way, you know it’s going to be cooked in the hottest oven yet. Time to get fireside.


OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Polyptych (POL-ip-tik) — Stuart Orford

With its proximity to the heartbeat of Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the heritage George Hotel is the perfect place to huddle with friends for a classic pub meal. With a menu filled with favourites and some contemporary dishes, plus an historic backdrop and fancy décor, The George is an easy option for a hot meal or even a place to stay.

GRAINERY LANE 35 Armstrong Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Historical Relief – Georgina Matherson

The newest venture on the Ballarat block is Grainery Lane. Having opened in August, this distillery and cocktail bar is not only quickly becoming popular for its drinks list, but its menu is showstopping. Located in the historic grains house used to make spirits, the saloon-style bar with its gorgeous interior has quickly become the talk of the town. Get on down!

HOP TEMPLE 24 Armstrong Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Life Was Good Here – Mark Davidson

Follow the umbrellas down Hop Lane to discover Ballarat’s busy little Hop Temple – a beer hall with a twist! With over 200 beers available in this indoor/outdoor establishment, this laneway discovery serves up beers, burgers and brilliant times and its’s also family friendly, for everyone to enjoy. Keep an eye out for happy hour and live music nights!

HOTEL CANBERRA 812 MacArthur Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Decadence — Martha Ackroyd Curtis

This grand old hotel dates to the late 1800s, with a Victorian exterior but touches of Art Deco throughout the interior, visitors are transported back in time. Hotel Canberra is home to two terrific eateries: The Stables and Vesta x Jigs plus Bobby’s Bar. Prepare yourself for a delicious feast concocted by a renowned chef – book ahead to save your place and prepare yourself for an evening of indulgence. You deserve it.


HYDRANT FOOD HALL 3 Mackenzie Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Retroactive Documents—Time is not a Line– Stephen Hennessy

Seeking a space to rest your fatigued Foto feet? Adventure down one more laneway to discover the fabulous and family friendly Hydrant Food Hall. For food lovers, coffee connoisseurs and hot chockateers, this is a space to share your stories with a side of quality scrambled eggs or fancy sliders.

IL PICCOLO GELATO 217 Sturt Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Realms of Beauty – Gaye Beal

I scream, you scream, let’s all scream for… Gelato.

Artisan gelato at its best using the finest natural ingredients. Take a cool break and enjoy the moment at this popular and colourful gelateria. It’s a favourite haunt amongst locals… shhhh don’t tell anyone.

JOHNNY ALLOO 32 Drummond Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Ephemerality – John Umina

Named after Ballarat’s first-ever restaurateur, Johnny Alloo, this venue is thoughtfully curated around a beautiful hospitality experience. Great food, excellent beverages and a stunning design combined to create a wonderful place to meet friends and discuss contemporary takes on architecture – since the building was originally built in the 1870s. Sit back and enjoy yourself!

L’ESPRESSO 417 Sturt Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Carte Postale – Anita Beaney

Possibly the only place in Ballarat where one could find Duck à l’Orange on its menu. A classic café vibe with vinyl on the player and delicious pinot by the glass available from lunch. Peruse your Ballarat International Foto Biennale program from cover to cover over coffee and cake to plan your city adventure. Return for the duck.

MITCHELL HARRIS WINES 38 Doveton Street North

The Blue Hour – Craig Mitchell
Thread – Carolyn Guirguis
A Dazzle of Zebra! Collective Nouns and Other Lessons from Lion Sands – Sara Hinchey

Located in the heart of the arts precinct, Mitchell Harris Wines serves a great drop but also dishes up extraordinary flavours showcasing the culinary treasures of Ballarat and beyond. The Mitchell Harris crew have been making their own wine since 2008, tapping into the cool climate characters of the region. The knowledgeable and passionate staff provide you with the ultimate in dining experience, carefully taking you through the beautifully curated wine list and menu and providing a luscious encounter with the best in the biz.

MR JONES 42-44 Main Road

Like no other place – Ian Kemp
Memories of Childhood – Xiaolan Yao

One cannot go to Ballarat without book a much sought-after seat at the infamous Mr Jones. The critically acclaimed fine dining restaurant influenced by modern Asian flavours is run by Michelin star-rated Chef Damien Jones. With an ever-changing menu, it’s best to book well in advance to experience the ultimate in Ballarat dining filled with surprises that will delight any foodie.

THE NORTH STAR HOTEL 302 Lydiard Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  The Extraordinarily Ordinary: A Celebration of Serendipity in the Outback – Lainey Foster

The recently renovated North Star Hotel radiates in history with its leather Chesterfield-style banquets and exposed brick walls, this is a tavern steeped in stories. The classic menu has something for everyone (even the kids) and is a warm and inviting location for a lunch with friends to share stories of your own.

THE PROVINCIAL HOTEL 121 Lydiard Street North

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Nature’s Canvas: A Photographic Journey of Ballarat’s Landscapes – Emma Burnham

The absolute darling of Ballarat when it comes to a weekend stay, the sophisticated and sensational Provincial Hotel has style down to a T. Built in 1909, The Provincial is home to the glorious Lola offering an a la carte menu with an extraordinary drinks list. Stay and play or just sneak in for a coffee and croissant to view the exquisite and iconic building.

RENARD 209 Mair Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Bush Magic – Jonathan Dredge

Time for a cocktail? Keep you day sweet and complete with one of Renard’s famous curated drinks. The perfect conversation starter after a full day of trekking the town in search of Biennale objects and desires. Small snacks are available, and disco is encouraged until late. Definitely time for a cocktail.

ROY HAMMOND 24-28 Armstrong Street

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Hong Kong by Night – Jane Fitzgerald

The most exquisite cocktail party is waiting for you at Roy Hammond. You can’t go past the fun-filled Asian-inspired snack menu which will distract you satisfyingly while the sensational bartenders whip up extraordinary masterpieces served in the prettiest of glasses. Take your Biennale adventure to the next level and settle in for the evening, discussing culture over a cocktail or two at your new favourite.

THE SHARED TABLE 317 Learmonth Street, Buninyong

OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Everlasting – Tina Bennett

Featuring a gorgeous pairing of Northern European and Asian flavours, The Shared Table’s menu is as unique as its stunning location. Just 15 minutes out of Ballarat, the popular dining destination is a curation of local produce sourced from makers and growers in the district. The lovingly prepared meals are fresh, the service friendly and the venue is simply sublime.


OPEN PROGRAM EXHIBITION  Dual Perspectives: Iceland – Madeline Bowser and Ben Metherell

Enjoy a slice of historic Ballarat and sip your coffee in style at one of the city’s favourite brunch spots. Oozing in nostalgia and charm, the iconic corner store location is the perfect place to kickstart your Foto Biennale exploration. Enjoy the art on display and wander the street to discover more.

For more incredible dining options in Ballarat including establishments beyond the city centre, go to Visit Ballarat