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A gold food orb being cracked into with a spoon
Photograph: SuppliedAllium Dining

10 new food and drink offerings you need to check out in Bendigo

There are so many new openings to get excited about in Bendigo this year

By Time Out in association with City of Greater Bendigo
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Bendigo is the little engine that could, shaking off the doldrums of 2020 and proving Victoria can come back by opening a swathe of new venues. These aren't just any new venues either – some of the region's best food and wine is championed across these new drinking and dining locales. Recent openings also include Bendigo's first rooftop bar (with idyllic views of Bendigo's historic skyline) and a French-inspired pâtisserie. 

Here are ten exciting new venues that have opened in Bendigo. 

First look: what's new in Bendigo

Heathcote (well, technically Colbinabbin) vineyard Ellis Wines is a family-owned businesss that first put down roots in 1999. The vineyards are located on Cambrian soil (red earth is good at retaining water), which allows Ellis Wines to produce premium grapes – specifically shiraz, merlot, viognier, moscato and cabernet. It's easy to taste the fine drops too, with the Ellis Wines cellar door located in the heart of Bendigo (only a short walk from the station).

Can't get enough of old-school burgers? You know, with buns are that are thick and fluffy and a thick slab of golden cheese melted over a juicy patty? Well, Bendigo has just the place for you. Hustler is an American diner-style burger joint where you can get not just hearty burgers but also loaded nacho fries, chilli dogs and po' boys, plus cocktails and beers from the likes of Bridge Road Brewers.

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Allium strives to unite people with good food and community, something that is made all the more easy from its beautiful View Street location (that gorgeous arched window!). The modern Australian menu features Mediterranean influences, but for the indicisive diner who'd rather have all the work done for them, we recommend the Chef's Whim selection; a range of seasonal dishes that best reflect the restaurant's ethos. And if you can't decide what to drink, staff are only to happy to help.

If you can't be first, be best. Arguably, Nimbus Rootop Bar might be both. The bar is the only venue of its kind in central Victoria and serves as an exciting nightspot for locals and those visiting Bendigo – Nimbus caters for Friday night drinks through to functions. While enjoying the views from the roof, you can also enjoy a locally inspired menu and drinks from regional Victoria: think Animus Gin and Heathcote beers. 

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Ms Batterhams is a Euro-inspired bar and restaurant located inside the very swish (and historic) Mackenzie Quarters entertainment precinct. It's an effortlessly cool basement lounge filled with plush velvet seats and exposed brick walls – it's the perfect environs for sipping on a cocktail or a locally sourced wine or beer. The food is largely a shared menu of Mod Oz fare – there are some decent dessert options too (so leave some room for them). 

Heart of Gold Vineyard, naturally, grows grapes. But the boutique vineyard also provides luxury accommodation for those seeking a bush escape. The winery is located just ten minutes' drive from Bendigo (or 100 minutes from Melbourne) and features a gorgeous couples' retreat called the Stables. It's an 1860s renovated sandstone cottage featuring a French-style kitchen and full amenities (plus a pool) set among manicured lawns, gardens and a working vineyard. 

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You might love cake and pastries, but probably not as much as Bendigo's Bluebird Pâtisserie. The pâstissiers make everything from scratch every morning using recipes passed down from grandparents. It's here you'll find dainty layered opera cakes, expertly browned lemon meringue tarts, fresh glazed fruit danishes and perfectly puffed éclairs. The team aren't afraid to get creative with their pastries either, and often make special themed treats for holidays.

If most of your waking thoughts revolve around cheese, then you might want to consider making your own. The Cheese School at the Mill, Castlemaine (40km south of Bendigo), is a great place to start. The school is lead by artisan French cheesemakers Ivan and Julie Larcher, and is linked with Long Paddock Cheese – the Larchers' small-scale organic cow's milk fromagerie also located at the Mill. 

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Boutique winery Wren Estate is best known for its superb shiraz production. It's a feat achieved partly by growing its fruit in the oldest soils in Victoria, which assist in creating wines that are extraordinarily bright and fresh. The winery's cellar door is located in Heathcote where the crew can tell you more about their wines. Wren Estate also welcomes bookings for large group wine tastings as well as functions and parties. 

Organic and family-owned winery Tellurian Wines is another vineyard wine-lovers should check out in the Heathcote region. Founder Ian Hopkins had long loved the shiraz produced in Heathcote when he was given the chance to partner in a new winery in the early 2000s. That opportunity turned into Tellurian Wines, which produces grenache, viognier, nero d'avola, fiano and marsanne in addition to shiraz. Tellurian's cellar door is open weekends or midweek by appointment. 

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