Sunday, 19 August 2007

Healesville Hotel

256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville, Victoria
Visited 16th August

I'd nearly come to the end of a fantastic trip to Australia and I was full. Full of beers with friends, full of cooked breakfasts at cafes, full of coffee after coffee, full of bottles of great Aussie wine and full of what seemed like one huge never ending restaurant meal. I could write a hundred posts about all the interesting places were I'd eaten and drunk, yet amongst all these meals I wanted to mention dinner at the Healesville Hotel as it stood out as what 'eating Australia' should be all about.

The Healesville Hotel is a refurbished 1910 hotel in the town of Healesville about an hour from the centre of Melbourne, and conveniently near a mate's new house. The hotel is redecorated, refurbished and ready for business with a highly awarded restaurant out the back, accommodation upstairs and a produce store next door. We ignored all these, and like good Aussie lads went straight to the front bar ordered a couple of draft ales from local brewer Hargreaves Hill. The restaurant is pretty stylish, but the bistro/bar area is a comfortable collection of big rustic tables, and we found a seat near the roaring wood fireplace.

What did I like so much about the Healesville Hotel? Was it the fantastic, friendly staff who made us feel so welcome? Was it the great local brewed beer? Was it the superb bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and Ridgeline Shiraz that we drunk all too quickly after the beers? Was it the delicious salad, huge thick steak and chips that I ate? Was it the hugely impressive winelist? Was it the relaxed setting, friendly atmosphere and lack of any sort of pretentiousness? Was it my mate's poor girlfriend who sat their totally confessed as we told tales in the almost indecipherable code of our shared histories? Was it the couple of beers we drank in the car on the way home which made me feel like I was sixteen again? Of course it was all these things that contributed to our little dinner at the Healesville Hotel being such an absolute cracking good night.

Visit restaurant website.

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