After a fine lunch at The Dispensary Enoteca on a visit to Bendigo last weekend, an equally fine dinner was subsequently required. My research had led me to choose Masons of Bendigo, which was established in 2012 and is of the minimalist, white walled, raw timbered, share plated variety of restaurant. 

The tastes of my dining companion and I skew savoury rather than sweet so, like at The Dispensary Enoteca, we ordered dishes with the aim of not having dessert. We started with calamari salad, beef cheek puffs and roast roma tomato salad with goats cheese, olives and cheese crisps.

The puffs were as you would expect, filled with rich shredded meat, while the tomato salad was very nice but the tomatoes were fresh, not roasted, which unfortunately made it too similar to the tomato salad we’d had at lunch. The outstanding dish here was the calamari, which was tender, the dressing generous with lime and the salad was a perfect balance of fresh herbs. I would have appreciated a little more chilli, but the dish did not require it.

masonsbendigo5 dinner at Masons of Bendigo
Photo courtesy of my dining companion

We then shared the roasted goat shoulder with dates, figs, ancient grains and eggplant crisps and the royal blue potato chips with aioli. The goat was spectacular in taste and appearance and the chips were superior to most others I have had in that you could taste the potato more than the oil. From the top down: the goat; chips; tomato salad; beef cheek puffs; and calamari salad.

masonsbendigo4 dinner at Masons of Bendigo

Masons run two sittings for dinner. We arrived a little early for the latter and sat out of the way at the bar while the transition occurred and our table was ready. The service was mostly good, but on a couple of instances it indicated that the staff were stretched to cope with a busy night.

masonsbendigo3 dinner at Masons of Bendigo

Our bread arrived after one of our entrees and our wine, although ordered first, later still. At the end of the evening we suffered the common issue of being ignored after ordering coffee, so that it took some time to ask for the bill.

masonsbendigo2 dinner at Masons of Bendigo
Photo courtesy of my dining companion

Given this lapse in service it was difficult to resist paying the bill that was offered to us, despite our first two glasses of wine being absent from it. The staff were working hard and it would not have been right to take advantage of the situation and allow them to undercharge us. We explained and asked for the bill again.

masonsbendigo1 dinner at Masons of Bendigo
Photo courtesy of my dining companion

Masons appears to be the hot place in town for dinner and, unlike other large open plan dining rooms, it was enjoyable to inhabit because it was not overly loud. The diverse menu, with its Asian and middle eastern touches, is enticing and I would happily return to Masons of Bendigo to try a different selection.

dinner at Masons of Bendigo

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