A veritable cultural and culinary paradise in the foothills of Mount Macedon – just forty minutes by car from Melbourne – Baringo sets the bar high for food, drink and entertainment. Set in the former – and sensitively restored – Whistlestop Pub along Station Road in New Gisborne, a satellite of Gisborne township served by the Bendigo railway line’s Gisborne station (right next door), the only clue to the gastronomic chops on offer at Baringo is the shaded alfresco seating area out front. For us, the kitchens and counters are where the magic happens, with The Baringo Provedore offering cafe culture and the opportunity to stock up from the deli, a wine bar stocked with domestic and international vintages, modern Australian bistro and banquet room forming a cornucopia of casual and fine dining options.
Let’s start simply, with The Baringo Provedore. This cosy cafe and, yep, provedore (deli-style food and beverage supplier) is open from 6:30am seven days a week offering up proper coffee from award-winning Red Star and a seasonal menu of Australian cafe favourites created using local produce wherever possible. From 5pm, Baringo’s New Gisborne outpost transforms into a sophisticated wine bar, with a huge number of international and domestic wines by the glass and by the bottle available, including some from nearby Macedon Ranges and Barringo Valley vineyards. In cahoots, the in-house wine store stocks over 300 bottles for purchase. If this wasn’t enough to book a table and make the short trip from Melbourne, then what follows should win you over.
The first of two gastronomic highlights housed at Baringo Food & Wine is the bistro, with the focus being on supreme examples of modern Australian cuisine. To begin, sample the freshly shucked oysters with pickled seaweed, smoked sea salt and fresh lemon; half-shell scallops and whole buttery prawns with garlic and chilli. Then, sample Baringo Food & Wine’s rare red kangaroo fillet with butternut puree and goat’s cheese; Murray cod with sweet caramelised onion and green kale risotto or sous vide harissa-spiced chicken with pumpkin tabbouleh. With plenty more besides, of course. Just to top it off, Baringo hosts a number of live music events, wine paired dinners, is home to a lavish banquet hall open for reservation if you have a private dining event in mind, and even a red-velvet theatre for hosting film nights, lectures or performances. Online bookings for Gisborn’s Baringo Food & Wine on New Station Road are, needless to say, absolutely essential!