Riverside restaurants don’t come any more charming than this. Graze over shared plates, watch the kids run amok in the Splash Park, and have a proper holiday. Contrary to the forecast, Bright and Mount Beauty weather really turned it on whilst we were there, with exception to a few pockets when we got drenched. One such time was Saturday afternoon, and we all came literally running to Ginger Baker Wine Bar Café for sanctuary.
Just the look of this place says warm and welcoming – maybe it’s the name but in my mind it does look like it’s the shape of a ginger bread house.
Despite the rain, the place was abuzz with people seated ‘outdoors’ – protected by the transparent blinds and kept warm by a little pot belly kind of fire; the ones that say ‘you’re in the country now, lucky thing’. Owner Monique Hoedemaker knows both sides of the coin at Ginger Baker – until recently she was one of their biggest fans, coming in regularly for coffee and a bit of time out. Then an opportunity arose for her to actually purchase the business, and she hasn’t looked back. Other than now being there a LOT more, Monique hasn’t made all that many changes to this terrific little spot right on the Ovens River – why fix something when it’s not broken.
She’s stayed true to the restaurant’s passion for a shared plate – fresh, simple and wherever possible local flavours from the Alpine Valley are used to create an exciting menu everyone can tuck into. The big rustic timber tables make it ideal to spread out and graze over the dishes as they steadily trickle in.
Out the back is a huge open space under cover from the nearby elms, and with views directly onto the Splash Garden. It’s the perfect place to set up, leaving the kids to go crazy with all the water features as you unwind with a glass of something local, something great. There’s even a mobile ice-cream van situated perfectly on the fence line, so the kids can get their sugar treat in-between bursts of water fun (and you’ll be sneaking one in as well).
If you’ve ridden back into town and you’re after a dose of café charm, this is where you’ll find it. Park the bike by the fence and head to the garden area, and wait for Monique and her great team to look after you. Guarantee you’ll be back the next day – this is the kind of place you want to be you’re local all the time.
And the name? Well – we’ll leave that to Monique to explain….
- 127 Great Alpine Road, Bright
- Bike friendly / Child friendly / Dietary Requirements friendly
- Opening hours vary between Summer and Winter
This is one very cool cat by the river...
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