26. Restos with Gusto

When you live in a small town, you find ways to occupy your time. For me, it was easy – friends and longtime acquaintances know that I like to eat (don’t we all) and I dove into food. These reviews showed me I’ve eaten out a lot, but I don’t regret it. There isn’t much to splurge on out here, so it’s good to make the best of it.here we go:

McDonald’s, 12/22 McLennan St

$

Always entertained going to Macca’s between the cliquey employees, bulldog manager and cast of characters, I mean customers. Wifi’s alright and the food is quick. Watch out for the snakes in the parking lot though.

Mooroopna Pizzeria & Wine Bar, 86/88 McLennan St

$$

Grabbed a parma with Julie here on a Thursday because Bill + Beats was closed! Was pleasantly surprised by the portion size of the chips (fries) and had the Nutella gelato for dessert. Good place for watching sport apparently. Type of place with plastic menus and you have to ask for water. Casual with lots of people in hi-vis (neon construction) clothes.

Bill + Beats, 106 McLennan St

$$

Eaten here several times for brunch, very consistent good quality food. Real gem of Mooroopna, never disappointed. Their dine in chai latte is delicious, as is their coffee, treats, their own take on avo on sourdough with poached egg and muesli, and of course, the pancakes. Have yet to go for dinner but I’m sure it’ll be great. The only critique I have would be if they were more daring with their flavour combos, but hey.

Thai Coconut, 66 High St

$$

Straightforward, fresh Thai food with no surprises. Beautiful dine in plates do reduce portion size but still very filling. Roti and peanut satay is divine. Chicken stir fry is spicy, pad thai comes with just the right amount of bean sprouts. Pad Siew is soft and crunchy all at once. One thing is the laughable numbering on the first page of their menu, but I still wish they did delivery. Would eat again, though I do feel like the owner has rushed us out after 8:30 on a Thursday both times we’ve been.

Fryers Street Food Store, 53 Fryers St

$$$

Oh Fryers. I wish I could fit you in my pocket and take you with me. The decor, wine store, cheeses and walls lined with gourmet spreads steal me every time. Been here for breakfast, coffee and takeaway treats. The Siracha poached egg portion I had could have been bigger, but I’ve heard the pancakes are yum. I will fight someone over the last slice of fudge cake in the display. Oreo cheesecake and English cheese were well received. Planning my next trip and seeing the same waitress who always seems to be there. Good coffee.

Aanagan, 67 Fryers St

$$$

This Indian resto is an offshoot from a Melbourne operation. My butter chicken came with green onion. Questioning the authenticity of this place. New, also overpriced.

Bonjass, 276B Wyndham St

$$

My most recent culinary crush. The sticky date pudding with homemade butterscotch sauce is to die for and the gnocchi could inspire you to quit your day job to write a sonnet type of good. I can’t say enough about the high quality of food that doesn’t belong in an empty restaurant. Every person should find a new place like Bonjass, reserve a table and fend off other diners when this place takes flight. But get in line, because I’m first. Also very affordable for all food made in-house. Tucked away up a flight of stairs with lots of wood accents and a balcony for sipping wine in the summer. Did I mention they do an eighties night?

Degani, 12-13/8025 Goulburn Valley Hwy

$$

Chain restaurant in part of a mall. Wasn’t impressed by the Parma and found the eating area to be quite cold by the windows. Bruschetta was good. Would give it another go but a little far out of the way for me.

Brother Pablo

109 Fryers St

$$$

Bought the worst medium sized cappuccino of my life for five dollars. Took two sips and chucked it. Nope. Milky crap.

The Vic Hotel, Corner of Wyndham and Fryers Streets

$

Feel like setting the kids loose on a play structure? Feel like gambling while they play? And walking out of the restaurant to use the toilet? Also there’s $15 deals and very average food? You’ve come to right place if you’re an ambitious grandparent or worn out babysitter.

Aussie Hotel, 73 Fryers St

$

I can’t begin to start on what an average place to eat this is. But it also can’t make up its mind. Either get bigger TVs or replace them with art, everyone is squinting and not paying attention. And there no ambiance or music. Try to sit in the original part of the building or outside if you can. Also the “Mexican bean salad” is none of those things and should be removed from the menu.

Flanagan’s Irish pub, Corner of Wyndham and Fryers Streets

$

Best place to watch sport on a projector screen or worry about why the tables are sticky. I did both.

Lemon Tree Cafe, 98 Fryers St

$$

I feel like everyone in here for brunch is living their best life and files their taxes. They’re wearing athletic gear after a morning yoga sesh post run coming in for their weekly orange juice catchup. Seriously good food, always packed and the service is rushing to get the food out. Great coffee. Everything here is delicious and well plated.

Noble Monks, 120/126 Maude St

$$

Been here for brunch and dinner. Alright coffee. I got the caramel banana hotcakes and couldn’t finish them they were so large. I thought they were delicious but heard other reviews that they can be dry, so a bit of a hit or miss situation. Dinner is a similar story. Their bruschetta is $11 for one piece of toast cut in half. The lamb curry was far from it and read more as a lamb stew poured over rice. I think this is a good after work drink and aps type of place, but shoot for the morning if you want to eat here. For perspective, at prime brunch time you can still walk up and grab a table whereas at Lemon Tree there’s a wait. Monks is finding its way methinks.

Mahal Green Olive Indian Restaurant, 189 Coriol St

$$

This is authentic Indian and as such it takes a while to get to the table, but it’s cry-over-your-breakup delicious. Would eat again if I don’t want to feel my face (or anything else) from the unapologetic spiciness. Also the Bollywood videos are brilliant. Don’t think I’ll find anything better than this.

Cafe by the Little Gourmet Food Company, Wyndham St

$$

The thing with little places like this is a lot can vary day to day. My first visit I got a lemon slice, bacon and egg roll and cappuccino and had an amazing time. Came back a month later and the roll had changed its bun and lost its insides, cappuccino was average and I can’t honestly say I want to go back and be disappointed again. My first time here on a Monday was so good! Just let me love you. Don’t change. Very charming storefront, decor and outdoor set up. Sad they close Sundays and the patio can be noisy from the road, though the hedge does help.

KFC Shepparton City, 465 Wyndham St

$

Probably the biggest and most ornate KFC I’ve seen, food is consistent with the brand but the corporate architecture is unreal and slightly disconcerting. Hi-vis and short shorts a-go-go. Flagship retail location.

Pizza Hut Shepparton, 525-535 Wyndham St

$

I filled out a customer review on their website for this experience. I can only give the benefit of the doubt and assume it was the teller’s first shift like ever, but it was also on the entire team. Floor was wet, tables and chairs were sticky and the food was bad. Also there were no rubbish bins. Pizza Hut-put-putted no thank you.

Peking City, 98 Wyndham St

$$$

This Chinese-Australian restaurant is a delightful surprise in a place like Shepparton. Reminded me strongly of Ruby’s back in Ottawa. Easy to spend a lot of money quickly but it’ll be worth it, maybe. My Singapore fried noodle the second time was dry and the rice was crunchy, but I believe this was a bad night for Peking. Again, not consistent food. More testing needed.

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