Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

Want to know more about me? Friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, or even look up my New Yorker cartoons on instagram! NB; different platforms not all food related)

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Monday, May 16, 2016


Note: this article is not about cooking road kill
(but is mostly about): Dean Street, Albury

And aloha!  Team Blue Vapours have just returned from a three day trip to Albury (as in Albury Wodonga... "See Both Sides"
AND while in town, were taken by local foodie guide Justin "Stan" Stanic for a trawl up and down Dean St to see what’s hot hot hot North of the River (properly north of the river…).

Located on the Murray, on the New South Wales side of the border between NSW and Victoria, Albury is a twin-town with Wodonga with a population of around a hundred thousand.   State Governments have been pouring money into regional Australia, and Albury-Wodonga is no exception.  They’ve got a “brick lane” with lights hanging over it, a new gallery called MAMA (the Murray Art Museum Albury)have been developing a café culture and bike paths (“that’s what they do in Melbourne ya know, ride bikes and drink lattes with a croissant…”).  And let’s face it, it’s a beautiful destination.

Not all development is a bonus though.  The freeway now by-passes the main drags, leaving a few of the old perfectly decent and kooky motels like the Siesta in no-man’s land.

Albury feels more like a city than a country town, and there’s a brooding hint of potential violence on a Friday or Saturday night as country kids come from up to 50km away to blow off steam at the bars.  But whether or not you can hack the pace of people doing burn outs on the main strip (“doing a Deany”) or falling down drunk, they certainly have come a long way with their gourmet credentials.

To wit, some gourmet trail tips for your delectation.

Albury - Food Prize

Goes to:

Border Wine Room
Level 1, 492 Dean Street

This un-presupposing bar and eatery is located upstairs on Dean St, and had me drooling.  We popped in for a bottle of wine, and this is a very high quality enoteca, with a degustation and “seasonal” menu which regularly changes.  Expect slow cooked pork cheek, wood pigeon and venison style dishes, served with figs and a jus, with excellent service and fantastic art food preparation.

Honourable mentions:

Top floor – Albion Hotel
593 Dean St
Albury NSW 2640

While the ground floor of the Albion Hotel is typically bar-like – with football and Kino on the telly and schooners of Carlton under slightly too bright lights with a meat raffle and a special fry up, the other floors extend themselves to being function spaces with a fine dining restaurant (“thank you very much” – as the bartender who informed me of this emphasized) and tapas bar on the top floor for trendier eating.

Geoffrey Michael Patissier
669 Dean St, Albury NSW 2640

Macaroons and a croissant anyone?  This place is the fancy pastry shop for anyone who loves Master Chef and chowing down on little cakes with custard and glace fruit on top.

Tenancy 2, Old Station Building
Elgin Boulevard, Wodonga VIC 3690

The old brick train station has turned into the home of a fine dining restaurant as well as a coffee shop and various bars.  More regional money here (though this time south of the river), and definitely worth your while checking out.

 On the way (from Melbourne): 

Seven Creeks Hotel
2 Tarcombe Street
Euroa VIC 3666
Phone: 03 5795 3034
Email: sevencreekshotel@live.com

A nice old style pub, with rambling rooms and a beer garden, dishes are country style (read big), but try hard.  I enjoyed a very passable barramundi with a herb salad and a kind of potato gratin.  They have two cats that wander the establishment (Kit and Kat).

So there you have it.  Hardly comprehensive, but a starting point for you should you need some love while on the highway between Sydney and Melbourne.  If you have any other suggestions for fine dining on the Hume Highway, particularly at Albury or Wodonga, please leave a comment below and I will post it (if it's not rude!). Bon apetite!


Kit Fennessy said...

Well, you can't be perfect. Here's some feedback from gourmet Owen Mahoney:

Owen Mahoney – What about canvas ?

Kit Fennessy – Is this something about camping?

Owen Mahoney – Tim Tehans cafe at the new museum. Ex birdman dining. Your guide missed an important new player on the Albury culinary scene

Oops! I actually know Tim... AND there's a story or two I could tell, but it's all scuttlebutt. How's this for a remedy, Owen? Check out Tim's cafe (which is bound to have chacuterie) at:

Kit Fennessy said...

And they keep flooding in. Adrian Rosenfeldt writes:

Adrian Rosenfeldt – Don't forget to visit Noreuil Park.

Kit Fennessy – ??? Is this an eaty place?

Adrian Rosenfeldt – Erm, no. A nondescript park by the highway my dad used to take us to every time we went there. He was born there so he knew the great spots. I think it has a picnic table and a large bin. We ate stale peanut butter sandwiches that were prepared the night before ... and I probably had a Prima to share with my sisters.

Well there's a restaurant in it now, as pointed out by the ever lovely and humorous Sue Stanic:

Sue Stanic http://riverdeckcafe.com.au/

A quick internet review reveals that the River Deck Cafe looks very good.