It's renowned as one of the bogan capitals of Australia, but over the last year and a half, Colac (on the Princes Highway halfway between Geelong and Warrnambool) has had quite an injection of class. Idiosyncratic by name and by nature, Oddfellows Restaurant, Bar and Beer Garden is a fine establishment that could hold its own against some of Melbourne's most loved institutions, making its moustachioed and monocled logo a beacon to both locals and passers-by.
A mere snippet of the quirky decor to be found at Oddfellows.
Delightfully decked out with quirky collections and strange arrangements, Oddfellows has an appealing style and mode of service that is both fun and comfortable. The venue is comprised of a central bar which flows through to the beer garden, a charming restaurant area and a front café space, and caters to the breakfast and lunch crowds, as well as evening diners and drinkers.
The menu is pleasing and reasonably priced, with an extensive breakfast selection, a range of premium bar food, lunch specials of a daily gourmet pizza and fresh hand-crafted pasta, lush salads, grazing plates, tapas, a good assortment of main meals and a list of incredibly tempting desserts. There are also some choice morsels available for purchase that you can take home with you, such as a few agreeably quaint confectioneries and conserves.
Lady Anna's salad with pinenuts, pumpkin and Persian feta.
The wine list is canny and well-balanced, encompassing the classics as well as a couple of intriguing additions, while the beer and cider list incorporates a comprehensive variety of premium international and Australian brews, including four that are locally produced.
Pizza of the day with blue cheese, pear, caramelised onion and candied walnuts.
Oddfellows also ticks the nightlife box, with live music and assorted entertainments more frequently found in St Kilda or Prahran. This is undoubtedly a boon for a community whose evening social pursuits were heretofore primarily centred on a dubious nightclub called Hush. Previous Oddfellows events have included cabaret burlesque, stage hypnotism, and a Spag and Drag night. News about upcoming entertainment can be found on Facebook, with further information about the venue soon to be available on the website.
All things considered, the only real drawback about Oddfellows is that it's not so easily accessible to those who don't live in the town of Colac. It is, however, a gem of a venue worthy of a detour, and is made all the brighter for being something of a rarity in the region.
This place sounds like an excellent excuse to visit Colac. Bogan, no more.
It's amazing how much of a makeover many Victorian country towns have had in recent years. My old stomping ground in Gippsland would have once provided Colac with serious competition for the Bogan Capital crown. These days it's a classy foodie haven.