Mudgee too mainstream? Already peeled Orange? When finding your next foodie destination don’t overlook the Riverina region of NSW. It’s time to pay Wagga Wagga a visit.
Approximately five hours’ drive south of Sydney (exactly one Maccas and one fuel stop later), visiting Wagga Wagga isn’t usually the first item on the gourmet travel checklist. But I’m here to let you in on a little secret: much like its local farms, Wagga Wagga has started to bear foodie fruit!
Down among the beautiful tree-lined streets is a little coffee haunt named The Blessed Bean. This little cutie creates one of the best cuppas around, best enjoyed at a sunny table on a leisurely morning. Don’t believe? Roasting its own beans in-house, The Blessed Bean has released four different brews, meaning even the pickiest of Surry Hills snobs will find a caffeine fix. Order the smashed avocado and poached eggs, it will change your life!
Prefer your breakfast straight up with no frills attached? Sling yourself around to the Pot ‘n’ Kettle Coffee House where you will get a decent-sized feed at a price that won’t make you give up your house savings.
Know your IPAs from your golden ales? Don’t worry, neither do I! What I do know is the pizzas are absolutely delicious at The Thirsty Crow brewery. The lads here take the hardship out of decision-making by providing a simple and tasty menu. Once you’ve ordered your pizza, ask them for the best pairing beer and head out to the sun-drenched beer garden. Warning, keep your calendar as clear as the weather as this could potentially turn into an all-afternoon affair.
If sinking beers isn’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with a classic sandwich. The humble Megabite Sandwich Bar makes a sanga your mother would be proud of. Fresh yoghurts, frittatas, lasagne and perfectly made rice paper rolls are all on offer if you’ve got a calorie controlled hankering. Megabite’s got you covered.
Head out towards the university and you’ll find a little treasure called The Magpies Nest in the northern suburb of Estella. Where do I even start? This gorgeous little venue has an ever-changing menu packed full of delicious creations with a heavy focus on local produce. Quality? Top notch. Atmosphere? Warm and inviting. THIS is Wagga’s best restaurant. We ate the Riverina lamb, roasted beets, pearl couscous, pelitas, pumpkin and kale with a beetroot jus. Deluxe.
Now that you’ve eaten your way around Wagga Wagga, finish your day off at the Birdhouse Bar. Rumour has it that the twice cooked chicken burger and fries are incredible, but for me personally – the wine list is where it’s at. Plenty of people will recommend the cocktails and the menu is impressive but there’s something about sitting inside on a chilly Wagga day with a big glass of local red that brings the trip to a perfect close.