Ready to go regional? The Goods Shed is open for business, conveniently located a stone’s throw from the Ballarat Railway Station. The bluestone heritage-listed building (circa 1863) underwent a major redevelopment thanks to a $28 million investment in the Ballarat Station Precinct from the Victorian Government. Pigeon poo and crumbling masonry has been replaced with a 300-seat theatre, multiple restaurants, event spaces, and a new distillery.
There are nods to the building’s history with an old-meets-new aesthetic, exposed brick and blue stone. Vintage ‘no smoking’ signs hang in the conference rooms and thick wooden beams run alongside new hvac ducts. Industrial roller doors open to reveal a brand-new pot still and stainless steal distilling equipment.
Local suppliers feature prominently on the restaurants’ menus. The Atlantic Group heads up the dinning venues with chef Konstantin “Konny” Putkin at the helm. Diners are the capable hands with chef Konny. A keen forager and fermenter, his resume boasts experience in multiple hatted restaurants. But the proof is in the pudding. Or the cheesecake, as it were. When my plus one and I arrived for dinner at Nolan’s, we were promised the meal would conclude with the best cheesecake of our lives. Now that’s a bold claim. Konny’s cheesecake is an Australian twist on basque cheesecake. Featuring a creamy whipped base topped with honeycomb and crisp saltbush. The sweet, salty, crispy, and creamy combos won me over, safely securing a spot amongst my top three cheesecakes of all time. (And this is coming from someone who spent a summer living in NYC.)
The BoomTime mushroom and truffle dumplings charmed us as well. Shaped to resemble real shitake mushrooms, the dumpling were actually soft bao wrapped around a savoury and aromatic mushroom filling.
I was particularly excited to visit Itinerant Spirits after they caught my eye at the Junipalooza festival. Despite opening their doors a mere six weeks ago, their Gallivanter gin was a standout. Their new venue is equally as stunning. We were treated to a spirits tasting and a quick tour of the distillery. If you manage to corner the distiller, he’ll wax poetic about hand-foraged Victorian botanicals and local malt suppliers. But you don’t need a degree in distilling to enjoy a trip to Itinerant. Their menu features a crowd-pleasing cheese platter and fun drinks like the ‘hopeless wanderer’ – enthusiastically described by our host as a ‘hot girl summer’ spritz.
Fares from Melbourne to regional Victoria max out at $10 a day. Meaning you have more money to spend on good times at the Goods Shed once you arrive.
Jenny Schmidt is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling craft beers and dreaming of using her passport to travel internationally (and not just when she’s crossing the Yarra).
The Goods Shed
Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, VIC, 3352