Anniversary Dinner at Masons of Bendigo

Last year, we spent a few days touring Ballarat. Then, a kangaroo wrecked my car, we moved house and needed to purchase a lot of stuff for our new home, went to Melbourne a couple of times, went to Sydney to process some very important documents, and went to Wodonga (unplanned) to attend a friend’s wedding. All that left us with not enough extra cash to spend for another out-of-town anniversary celebration holiday.  Therefore, we decided to stay home and just go out for a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. Might be a little pricey compared to the usual everyday meal, but not as expensive as an out-of-town holiday.

I recently had a conversation with someone about wedding anniversaries. During that conversation, my mind processed a million thoughts and I concluded that wedding anniversaries deserve much better celebrations/pampering compared to birthdays. With most people I know, they often spend a fortune celebrating birthdays or pampering birthday celebrants, but spend their wedding anniversaries with a simple night out or, worse, a simple exchange of greeting cards.

 But the thing is, given it’s God’s will that you don’t die yet, you can spend the whole year being lazy and selfish, or making everyone hate you passionately… and still turn a year older.  With wedding anniversaries, however, there’s a lot more effort required (including the bazillion times that you have to be patient and forgiving with all the super-annoying things your spouse does, intentionally or unintentionally) during the year to be able to make it to the next anniversary date.  With all that hard work that the two of you put into your marriage, don’t you think every wedding anniversary is totally worth celebrating as a reward to you two? I think so.

 There’s this lovely restaurant in the heart of the city called Masons of Bendigo. It’s not your ordinary restaurant in this city. If you go to TripAdvisor, you’ll find it ranked 1st among the best places to eat in Bendigo. I was quite intrigued about it, so I suggested it to hubby and he agreed to dine there for our anniversary.

 From what I learned, on the very spot where this restaurant is located, there used to be a glass shop ran by the Masons family (not related to the owners of the restaurant). By this, I mean a shop that sells glass for windows, etc. The shop was there for a very, very long time, so it was well known in Bendigo. Then, for some reason, they decided to close down the glass store. Because they had been there for a long time, as a sort of a tribute to them, I guess, when a new restaurant was established in its place, the owners of the new business called their restaurant “Masons of Bendigo”.

 On Wednesday afternoon, I went to the Masons of Bendigo website and made a reservation for the next evening around 6:30pm. Then, I did my homework and tried to decide which dishes to order. Because I had no idea how the various dishes looked like and how much would be enough for us two, I Googled images of their dishes until I was able to pick a few ones that I found interesting.

 The next day, I received a call from Masons during which I was informed that they didn’t have a table for two at 6:30. I was given two options, (A) be reserved a couple of seats at a long table (shared with others) at 6:30, or (B) get a table for two at 8 pm.  I asked if they have a table for 2 available on Saturday instead, but was told that Saturday was fully booked. (I learned later that if you want to eat in there on weekends, you’ll have to reserve waaaaayy beforehand.) Now, if it was an ordinary meal that we’re having, I wouldn’t mind sharing a table with strangers. But this is a wedding anniversary dinner, so we NEED a table that’s only for two.  I picked the second option to come it at 8pm.

 We came in a little bit before 8pm and were ushered to our table. The paper place mats  on the table had the restaurant’s menu on the other side. Hubby and I decided to order a number of small dishes, as opposed to ordering 1 main dish for each of us, because I saw that others (online) have done that to be able to taste as many of their dishes as possible at one visit. I was unsure how much would be enough for us, so I told the waitress about my little predicament and asked for her suggestion. She was nice and friendly and helped us out with our questions, making the experience quite lovely.

 While waiting for our orders, we were given complimentary bread to munch on, as we also enjoyed the view of waiters, cooks and chef, who were busy as bees in preparing and serving dishes. These are some of the dishes we had for the evening:

  Tempura Fried Morton Bay Bug Tails

George’s Fried Cauliflower Cheese Zucchini Flowers

 Satay Chicken Pot Sticker Dumplings

 Crispy Fried Soft Shell Mud Crab

 Hervey Bay Scallops

Passion Fruit and Lychee Brulee

We were very happy with our experience dining at Masons of Bendigo. The staff members were very lovely and made us feel quite comfortable even though it was our first time to dine there. The food was divine. Each spelled perfection in my book. The whole experience was totally worth the price tag. We’d definitely be back and highly recommend this place.

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