The Green Shed, Beechworth

24 Apr

It’s our first night in Beechworth, and we just want something quick and easy after a lunch feast and a busy afternoon of wine tasting and taking selfies. All we want is a quick and easy meal. Bridge Road Brewers – famous for their pizzas – is closed (but we eventually get to try the pizza – stay tuned for the post!). We head to the pub where there seems a decent bistro, but they’re packed. We’re told to get a beer while they try to find a table to clear, but it’s slow and no one comes to find us. We’re pretty sold on the takeaway pizza shop across the road, but I’ve seen good reviews of the nearby Green Shed and we figure we might as well see what it’s about. And we’re very glad we do!

The Green Shed’s actually an old printery from the late 1890s and still has the original colour scheme and other ancient markings on the wall. As we enter, there’s almost what I’d call a receiving room – and we’re received warmly, and taken to a table in the next, larger room.

Looking into the dining area from the receiving room

Looking into the dining area from the receiving room

Our host explains the menu: two dishes per person are $45. Each additional course is $17, and there are sides and starters for an extra fee, too. The Green Shed has an Asian/Mediterranean influence, and the dishes are designed for sharing – if you want to, that is.

We start with our wine orders and – amongst a considered and balanced wine list featuring locals, Australian wines and foreign wines – I’m very pleased to see my favourite riesling (at the moment!) Monsters, Monsters Attack! (Yes, that’s the name. Check it out!) I’ll confess I can’t remember the cost of the glass (bad, bad blogger) but I can’t remember being outraged so it can’t have been too bad – maybe $11 or $12? Whatever the cost, the serving size in Beechworth turns out to be very generous.

Generous or what?

Generous or what?

Boyfriend and I peruse the menu and talk through what dishes grab our attention – we’ve just got the one dish in common, so it seems there won’t be much sharing going on! When our host takes our orders, he easily answers questions we have on the dishes.

The green walls which the shed is named after are still green!

The green walls which the shed is named after are still green!

The venue is an intimate one. There are a lot of tables for a small restaurant, but just a few are full on this Thursday evening before Good Friday. The tables are a little close together, and I think it could be mildly claustrophobic if there were more people.

What helps the venue’s intimacy is that there’s just the one host serving all the tables – seating guests, taking orders, serving dishes, asking about the dishes, taking payments – and he does a great job. It wouldn’t be manageable with more people, but he does a lovely job of bringing – okay, I’m cringing with this term – a calm energy to the floor, and each customer can see they’re getting consistent attention. I like that the person who pours the generous servings of wine is also the one who explains the dishes, serves the dishes and takes the payment. I realise I’ve just written a paragraph about this (!), but there’s really something to be said for having the same waiter throughout the night – I can’t think of too many restaurants or cafes which do this (save for The Boathouse). Simply: it’s a nice touch. Don’t change, Green Shed!

Okay, food.My chicken and shitake wontons arrive with a teapot of ginger and yellow bean broth which the host pours over the wontons carefully. These wontons are divine. The pastry’s firm, consistent and absorbs the flavour of the broth and the filling. I could drink the broth every day.

Delicious shitake and chicken wontons

Delicious shitake and chicken wontons

Boyfriend’s ordered the beetroot tart with goat’s curd. These flavours are always going to be a winner, but the textures are spot on, too.

Beetroot tart

Beetroot tart

It’s a short wait for our next course. Mine’s the crisp cinammon lamb pizza with jalapenos, hummus, fetta and spinach.

Lamb pizza

Lamb pizza

I kiiind of wish I’d gone for the other dish I’d been toying with (dukkah crusted lamb rump) but there’s plenty to like about this dish. It looks small, but there’s a great deal of hummus as the ‘sauce’ base and the big chunks of fetta complement what turns out to be quite a lot of lamb. I’m conflicted early: the flavours work well, but there’s a very spicy hummus and some genuinely spicy jalapenos which cheekily play off each other… my riesling turns out to be a pretty stupid pairing (but it’s my favourite!). Even though my mouth is on fire, I can’t stop eating – a credit to the flavour combination! 023Boyfriend’s got the chicken and prawn san choi bao which also turns out to be a big serving with the flavours bursting out of the crisp lettuce leaf. Boyfriend tells me this is as good as anything you’d get in Asia.

Chicken and prawn san choi bao

Chicken and prawn san choi bao

Make no mistake: the two dishes premise isn’t about paying high prices for small plates – they’re big, tasty, and filling. I like the two dishes idea (though I still had menu envy!), and the dishes are certainly the size for sharing – though some might be a bit difficult to share in practice.It’s an early call, but this is probably our favourite dining experience while we’re in the region (and that’s saying a lot after being to the hatted restaurant The Terrace for lunch earlier in the day, and off to two-hatted Provenance the next) – it’s the one experience and concept we keep talking about for the rest of the trip. My only regret is not fitting in two visits (… and I might get a different wine if I order the lamb pizza again!).

Date: Thursday, 17 April 2014

Where: 37 Camp Street, Beechworth, Victoria

Cost: $115 for two, including four courses ($45 per person for two courses) and wine

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Try the website.

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12 Responses to “The Green Shed, Beechworth”

  1. Erin April 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    YUM! All of that looks and sounds delicious.

  2. Linda April 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I wonder whether the Green Shed has changed a bit since I was there over a year ago. The degustation I had was heavily Asian influenced and I found a lot of the dishes slightly too sweet (ie. sweet chilli sauce sweet) and while I loved the look of the place, we were seated near the front where it wasn’t well air conditioned (this was during a 40 degree day). The most memorable part of the night was the beetroot ice cream which was amazing!

    • inthetaratory April 26, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      There does seem to be changes in management/chefs/waiters (?) from what I’ve since read in other reviews but it’s hard to follow! I definitely think the concept is hard for them to nail but they did on the night we were there. It doesn’t look like the place is well ventilated so I can see how tough it would be on a hot night :( Beetroot ice cream sounds divine!

  3. whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    Wah, this is the place we’ve not managed to get to on the our two or is it three visits to Beechworth in the last two years. We walk by and it looks great … next time I’m going to make sure we walk in not by!

    • inthetaratory May 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Yes, do! I’d love to know what you think of it! I have since seen some mixed reviews, but I did enjoy it very much.

      • whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

        Not sure when that will be but we usually drive to Melbourne a couple of times a year and sometimes detour via Beechworth as we always take two days to enjoy a meander. We also have a friend who owns a cottage in Beechworth so have had a couples getaway there a couple of times. In other words, I’ll be back but not sure when yet!

      • whisperinggums May 19, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

        PS What place doesn’t get mixed reviews? Different expectations, different nights and staff, pretty well guarantees it I reckon.

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