Kyneton’s fertile plains, first described by the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836, now inspire local chefs with an emphasis on regional, seasonal delights. You’ll find producers name-checked on the menu at Source Dining, where chef Tim Foster showcases Windarring oyster mushrooms and Rockwood Cottage lamb, grass-fed on the Campaspe River plains.
A few doors down on Piper Street, chef Steve Rogers sources wild hare and venison from Redesdale, truffles from Ballarat, and garden produce from his Spring Hill home for the menus at Midnight Starling. The distinct French accent comes from his time working with star chefs Jacques Reymond and Pierre Gagnaire. Try the duck a l’orange.
At bustling breakfast spot My Flippin’ Kitchen, city transplant Brendan Hynes has the Melbourne cafe vibe down pat with timber benches, lightbulbs in jars strung from the ceiling and offerings such as plate-sized rosti topped with poached egg and Istra bacon made down the road in Musk.
Hynes moved to Kyneton almost a decade ago and says the town has changed enormously since then.
“In a good way,” he clarifies. “There are lots of young families moving up here now. But it’s still got a country-town feel, which is what we all came for.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Jason Waterhouse at Stockroom, an old butter factory he and partner Magali Gentric have transformed into a landmark hub of galleries, featuring local artists and makers.
“There’s a much more permanent creative community here now,” says Jason. “We’ve got Hollywood film-score creators, curators, writers, artists … but we have still got a rural heart. We are this crazy contemporary art space in between a tractor shop and Elders. It pretty much sums up the town.”