wardens1 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

When choosing restaurants and accommodation based on their websites and third party reviews and recommendations, some interesting trends emerge. I’ve found that there is a high degree of correlation between a business with a great website and a business that provides great service. I’ve never been somewhere where their website was significantly better than their service. Many places with bad websites have equally bad service. It seems the effort required to have a good website is a reliable indicator of the effort required to deliver great service.

Businesses that have a website with current content, not a ‘coming soon’ that has been there since 2005, earn trust. Sites without randomly incorrect apostrophes earn respect. Restaurants whose sites don’t include menus are to be avoided. Wineries that invite you to their cellar door but fail to include their street address or their opening hours should be treated with suspicion.

Wardens is a fine dining restaurant based in an old Beechworth hotel. It has city prices and sophistication and is part of a revitalisation of the town as it becomes a centre of indulgence for tourists, visitors and locals. Owners Rocco and Lisa deliver exceptional and friendly front of house service and the food is simply wonderful. It also has the best website of any business in Beechworth and that made it our first choice when booking somewhere for dinner in a town we had never visited before.

wardens2 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

In our recent dinner at Griff’s wine pub in Fitzroy we elected to forego the entree to allow us to have dessert; here, although the dessert menu was enticing, we chose the opposite as the entrees sounded impossible to ignore. I ordered the Sardinian revioli of salmon and eel with cauliflower puree, sultana dressing and candied ginger, and my girlfriend had the fried cuttlefish with a salad of smoked trout, eggplant, ruby grapefruit and yoghyrt dressing. Both were amazing!

wardens3 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

wardens4 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

For mains we chose the venison regu, flavoured with clove and cinnamon, with swede mash and beetroot relish, and the barramundi on black olive potato puree, mussels, confit fennel, baby leeks and orange. We shared broccoli with hazelnut dressing and ricotta. I loved the ragu, while my girlfriend enjoyed the fish but thought the combination of hot fish and mash with cold mussels and salad was a little strange, although the flavours were delicious.

wardens5 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

wardens6 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

wardens7 dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

After tasting many wines that day I did not need more than a glass of shiraz to accompany the ragu, and there was an excellent one on the list. The only criticism I can make of Wardens is that its list of wine by the glass is extremely small, while the bottle list is extensive. As we generally prefer to try different wines and match wines to courses (buying a bottle is something we rarely do in restaurants), our choices were limited. By every other measure Wardens excelled and we left extremely satisfied.

dinner at Wardens, Beechworth

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