Two of the best restaurants in regional Victoria

Discover two of the best restaurants in regional Victoria

7 Min Read
The Muse does business with local suppliers.

Visit Samesyn on the Great Ocean Road and The Muse in vineyard-rich Goulburn Valley.

If you want to know some of the best restaurants in regional Victoria, meet one-hat Samesyn in Torquay on the Surf Coast at the start of the Great Ocean Road and The Muse Restaurant at Mitchelton Estate winery in the Goulburn Valley in central Victoria.

Samesyn Restaurant

Samesyn is a pleasant surprise in the somewhat sleepy town of Torquay on the Surf Coast, part of the scenic Great Ocean Road and home to world surfing championships.

Zimbabwe-Australian head chef Graham Jefferies has designed a menu that’s full of fresh Victorian ingredients to share with family and friends.

“Samesyn means togetherness, referring to how we connect over food,” according to Samesyn’s website. “It’s a restaurant speaking of the region, showcasing our local suppliers with seasonal, ever-changing dishes designed to share.”

We start our evening by sharing oysters with a pickled kohlrabi dressing for tanginess and nasturtium for crunch. We also get crusty bread and cultured butter – the bread is ordinary but the crust is great. Although the butter is excellent: it’s rich and salty and we keep coming back for more.

Oyster with kohlrabi at Samesyn Restaurant.
Oyster with kohlrabi.

The evening progresses with chicken liver pate. It’s incredibly smooth and creamy, and a raisin puree balances it nicely. The pate comes with grilled bread, but the grilled and aforementioned bread is not enough to finish the pate so we order extra for $7 and wonder if the initial portion is deliberately insufficient.

Because we’re by the sea, we can’t resist Samesyn’s grilled octopus with kipfler potatoes. The grilled octopus is a little rubbery, but then again, octopus is. It’s flavoured with a spicy octopus “nduja” (nduja is traditionally a spicy, pork sausage paste from southern Italy’s Calabria region) and smoked almonds. It’s a thoughtful dish, showcasing Samesyn’s ability to do creative things with fresh ingredients.

Samesyn means togetherness, referring to how we connect over food.

We choose slow-cooked lamb shoulder for our mains. The meat is tender and comes straight off the bone. The richness is offset with the tart of smoked yoghurt. We don’t need the shoestring fries with black garlic mayo, but how can we say no? And they don’t disappoint – just look at them!

Slow cooked lamb shoulder with Brussels sprouts and smoked yoghurt at Samesyn Restaurant.
Samesyn’s slow-cooked lamb shoulder for sharing.

Mrs Two Chat Food is too full for dessert but Mr Two Chat Food gets a dark chocolate ganache with a salty peanut centre. The flavour intensity mellows with a milk-flavoured sorbet.

Chocolate with salty peanuts and milk sorbet at Samesyn Restaurant in Torquay, Victoria.
Decadence.

The Samesyn waitstaff are attentive and approachable, and even when they get something wrong (like topping up Mrs Two Chat Food’s sparkling water with still), they are gracious and quick to recognise and rectify this.

The Muse Restaurant

Another great regional restaurant in Victoria is The Muse Restaurant at Mitchelton Estate Winery, which overlooks the Goulburn River in the Goulburn Valley’s Nagambie Lakes district.

The Muse Restaurant overlooks the Goulburn River.
The Muse Restaurant overlooks the Goulburn River.

The Muse’s executive chef Daniel Hawkins serves “modern farmhouse cuisine” made with fresh, local produce. He also uses ingredients cultivated with sustainable and ethical farming methods.

“Whether foraging for wild blackberries on the riverside or gathering walnuts from the estate, Daniel is passionate about bringing the true flavour of Mitchelton to every dish,” a restaurant spokesperson says.

Whether foraging for wild blackberries on the riverside or gathering walnuts from the estate, Daniel is passionate about bringing the true flavour of Mitchelton to every dish.

Mrs Two Chat Food gets the Murray cod crudo (raw kingfish) with crispy chilli oil, grapefruit and succulents for starters. It’s a pretty plate, and the silky crudo and crispy cod skin with citrus and crunchy greens make for great flavours and textures. However, the crudo would benefit from being sliced more thinly.

Murray cod crudo with succulents and citrus at The Muse in Victoria's Goulburn Valley.
Murray cod crudo with succulents and citrus.

Mr Two Chat Food chooses the corn and manchego croquette with baby corn and corn aioli. The flavour combo of this dish is clever, although the croquette batter is a little heavy.

Our mains consist of saltwater barramundi with almond hummus, heirloom tomatoes and watercress.

Saltwater barramundi with heirloom tomatoes and almond hummus at Mitchelton Estate.
The Muse does business with local suppliers.

The creamy fish is cooked to perfection and the almond hummus is an interesting touch. Meanwhile, the tomatoes offset the fish’s richness well.

We also try the woodfired black Angus beef scotch fillet in red wine sauce; it’s a little chewy but it’s super juicy.

We sit out on the restaurant’s patio, which is balmy and has a beautiful view of the river. However, the flies are drawn to the scotch fillet, so we spend a great deal of effort trying to swat them away.

Our friendly waitstaff serve us a side of roasted carrots and aged cheddar in a Mitchelton Estate shiraz, which goes perfectly with our dishes.

Mitchelton Winery

We also try a couple of Mitchelton Estate wines, for example, the lesser-known marsanne and roussanne grape varieties. The marsanne is citrusy and the roussanne has notes of stone fruits. We finish off our evening with a stroll by the river as the sun sets.

If you’re from out of town, stay at the Mitchelton Estate guest suites. They are well kept and a good base from which to explore the Nagambie region. There are a couple of things to do on site too, like tasting Mitchelton’s wine, relaxing at its day spa or visiting its art gallery.

For more information about these top regional restaurants, visit their websites:

Samesyn
The Muse Restaurant
Mitchelton Estate


Experience more culinary adventures at Two Chat Food and follow us on Instagram: @twochatfood.

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