Ballarat

A Roundup of My Latest Adventures

It’s been a while since I’ve provided an update on my other articles, including some non-foodie adventures. Life has been a little hectic with the film festival I work for coming up and work being fairly busy.

But this is definitely not a reason to stop writing, it merely just means I’ve written less articles than usual and I have a backlog of places I want to share with you. Check out some of the ones I’ve managed to squeeze in writing about below.

Santina’s Cakes
Here’s a little cake place we discovered in Thomastown. It’s a little hard to find dessert catch-up spots up in the far northern suburbs, especially ones that stay open late, so it was a nice find.

Santina's Cakes on Urbanspoon

Popular Desserts in Melbourne
The Masterchef craze has contributed to the growing popularity of dessert spots in Melbourne. There’s plenty of goodies to discover including the places below. More detailed blogs on the food and experience at these places will be coming in the future.

Om Nom Dessert Bar

Om Nom Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

A Day at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
A day in the snow on a budget – perfect for a day with kids with activities that are a bit more laid-back than your usual snowboarding or skiing.

Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival
There are two more Wednesdays to go for this festival, August 27th and September 24th. What’s better than some great dinner from some food trucks before a classic drive-in film?

Lake Wendouree
You may have seen my previous articles from Ballarat, well another spot to definitely check out is the beautiful regional town’s lake. It’s great for a stroll and there are several cafes alongside the lake with a nice view.

Kryal Castle
Last of all, have a little fun and immerse yourself in a medieval experience. See some shows and find yourself in a torture dungeon…it all makes for a fun day in the castle and another great outing suitable for kids.

That’s all from me for now! Don’t forget to look out for my posts later this month in relation to Mon’s Mission #1 and feel free to suggest what my next mission should be!

Insiders & Adventures!

Insiders of the month: June
If you haven’t noticed my Insiders on the right hand side this month, then you better check them out now! Recommendations include my sister’s friend’s new joint in Thornbury, Jerry Joy. She also used to own the Foodrinkery in Burwood.

Something else that seems to be all the rage is the new burger joint in Footscray – Eat8bit. I’ve heard mixed things about this place, that the burgers and buns are amazing but the waiting times are a bit ridiculous, so who knows when I’ll finally decide to make the trip over. Let me know if you’ve tried it in the comments!

Anyway, most of you know I write for a few other websites. If this blog becomes a bit quiet, I’m probably busy with other articles, so here’s a roundup of the articles I’ve churned out recently.

Fitzrovia
You may have read my previous post on this place down by my work and noticed I wasn’t a big fan. However, another trip to this place provided a different experience and some quality food. Read more here.

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Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

Hoa Tran
A popular place in Springvale, this spot is always busy. They serve a wide range of Asian food but of course specialise in Vietnamese food. The food will come out extremely quickly, so read more here and drop by!

hoa-tran-springvale
Hoa Tran on Urbanspoon

A Day in in Ballarat
You may not have seen my recent post on food in Ballarat, but I also did a few other things in this lovely, peaceful town. For a list of things you can do in Ballarat, click here!

Yan Yean Reservoir Park
This place is not too far if you live in the northern suburbs. I was surprised that I had not heard of it before. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, a walk or to take your dogs. Take in the refreshing scenery at Melbourne’s first ever reservoir. Read more.

Altona Dog Beach
Speaking of dogs, if you have some canine friends, the perfect place for them is Altona Dog Beach. It’s enormous and so spacious for dogs to play in, the water is so clear and the views provide a calm atmosphere – until the dogs start wrestling! Read more on Livlicious here.

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Winter Fireworks
What else to do in winter, but enjoy the fireworks by Docklands during July and August. Even better, take a cruise by the Melbourne skylines and get the best view of the show! Read more here.

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Fort Nepean
Last but not least, a second trip to Point Nepean National Park left me just as amazed as the last. It proved there was still so much more for me to explore, so share the experience with me here.

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The Lane & The Forge Pizzeria

On a completely off note, doesn’t that sound like a dramatic blog post title? Like the name of a fantasy novel, only more like a parody of it…

Anyway, I recently visited Ballarat and explored all there is to do outside of Sovereign Hill. A part of that included wandering the historic town and it led me to the cafe, The Lane.

20140531_111235It’s part of the George Hotel and what drew me in was its spacious layout, its wall of green foliage and its mural at the back.
20140531_122904I sat right in this corner to admire the artwork whilst I waited for my iced coffee. It was quite expensive at $8.50 and I wondered whether it was a result of the tourism of the town or whether the hotel itself was costly.
20140531_103538 copyI like how it was presented in an old fashioned mug. It’s also nice that they give you a proper straw in addition to the striped one for presentation, as it tends to taste a bit like soggy paper.

There wasn’t anything special about it for $8.50 but I enjoyed the serene feeling that emanates from the lovely artwork. You can also get free wi-fi, which is always a plus!

The Lane is located at 27 Lydiard St North, Ballarat. They are open 7am until late on weekdays and 8am until late on weekends.

The Lane on Urbanspoon

Next up was a highly rated and recommended pizza place, The Forge Pizzeria. It appears they have two locations, thus I’ll clarify that I visited the branch on Armstrong St.
20140531_135820It wasn’t extremely busy but seemed steady enough. The seating area is vast and lengthy, so you don’t feel too close to anyone.

20140531_134041Once again the rustic and historic aspects of Ballarat shone through, this time with this music box-like tin for our utensils.
20140531_135829With a fireplace, wood-fired ovens and earthy brown brick walls, this place does not attempt to be something modern, but fits in nicely to Ballarat’s tapestry of vintage spots and its remnants of the mining era.
20140531_140106 20140531_140058 copyThe portraits below were probably the only additional elements to the decor, and they seemed to embrace the multiculturalism of Australia by placing various cultures in a Ballarat background. With the art gallery just a street away, Ballarat seems to be home to quite a bit of historic Australian art.

20140531_140127Service was adequate enough, although with large places sometimes it’s hard to catch the attention of a waitress. They helpfully explained to us the different sizes of pizza and roughly how many pieces they would have.
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Not a fan of pizza, my friend went for a fettuccini carbonara ($14, small) pasta. I’d probably advise against pasta for a place with only three pasta dishes on their menu. The pasta was too cheesy, although I know that’s the nature of the dish, it wasn’t the pleasant sort of flavour. It was difficult to stomach so we didn’t finish it.
20140531_140904The remainder of the menu is, of course, pizza, so we ordered a few to share. The above was the Butchers, with bacon, sausage, shaved ham, salami, mozzarella, tomato and rosemary ($19).

Overall, what I like about the pizza is the soft, doughy crust. No frills such as cheeseburger crusts but not a hard crunchy crust either – just right.

20140531_140955Besides that, the toppings sounded great on paper but nothing really stood out. For some pizzas, such as the pulled pork ($21, above), the cheese had a strong and unique taste that didn’t suit us. It’s possibly because we aren’t accustomed to strong European cheeses.

Upon investigation, the ingredients include sage, mozzarella, gorgonzola dolce, garlic, green apple coleslaw and Flying Brick cider dressing – I suspect we couldn’t appreciate the gorgonzola dolce, a type of blue cheese.

20140531_140940Another was the Blacksmith, with premium pork sausage, mozzarella, mushroom, garlic, parsley ($19, above). The sausage was tasty and the pizza didn’t seem to have any little quirks that we didn’t like.

Our friend also recommended the Shearer’s pizza, a lamb and goat’s cheese pizza ($22, below, top left corner), which the boys enjoyed as it tasted “like a kebab on a pizza”. This and the Blacksmith were probably the most agreeable pizzas for us.
20140531_141000They had a special that day, which was a chilli meatball pizza of Habanero chilli meatballs, San Marzano tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella, Grana Padano & salsa verde (below). The meatballs gave a chilli aftertaste after a few seconds, but we were a bit put off by the fact that the greens (salsa verde?) were not spread out on the pizza, but placed in lazy looking clumps.
20140531_141155This place has a great variety of pizza, however I can’t say it’s amazing as everyone makes it out to be. The pizzas sounded different and interesting but the results tasted a bit odd. Maybe it’s true to Italian culture with its use of various cheeses, but I can’t really say. Let me know your thoughts in the comments if you’ve been here!

The Forge Pizzeria is located at 14 Armstrong St North, Ballarat and is open 12-10pm seven days a week. See their menu here.

For other activities in Ballarat, don’t forget to check out my Weekendnotes article!

The Forge Pizzeria on Urbanspoon