Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published May 27th 2016
Fine Food and Fun in an Historic Setting
Imagine my surprise when I stepped into the Wonthaggi Workmen's Club for a bite and found myself in a replica mine shaft. Reminiscent of the town's coal mining history, the carpeted hallway leading into the club is lined by timber wall and ceiling beams, some is shored up with rocks as you might expect were you truly underground. A coal truck sits to one side, and on the other a life size painting depicts a man leading a pit pony. There is a map of the town's mines, a projection of photos from mining history, mining tools and other historic paraphernalia. I confess I thought it a little bit special, but the best was yet to come.
The Mine Shaft Styled Entrance (Photo from Wonthaggi workmen's Club Facebook Page)
A towering foyer is designed to replicate a poppet head, the frame at the top of a mine shaft that supports the winches. The silver top gum timbers rise 12 metres. The theme continues throughout and old time hand tools hang from beams. Walls are adorned with framed photos of the town's history. If you aren't already tempted let me tell you about the food.
The Towering Foyer and Rustic Bistro (Photos from Wonthaggi Workmen's Club Facebook Page)
The Bistro menu is substantial and varied. Be prepared to feast, the servings are generous. Set to tempt is an array of starters, house made pizzas, pastas and risottos, stir fry, chargrilled steaks, chicken dishes, chef's specials, seafood, and salads or indulge in the club's speciality, no less than 12 different gourmet schnitzels, all made on premises and plate grilled. Tantalise your tastebuds with a Camembert and Caramelised Onion Schnitzel or Apricot and Macadamia Chicken Schnitzel. Tuck into a Farmers Chicken Schnitzel served with bacon and a gooey egg and topped with melted cheese.
The Chef's Specials would not be out of place in any fine restaurant. For the traditionalists there is Lamb Shank in Red Wine and Rosemary. For an international taste why not try Chorizo and Prawn Paella or Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry.
Children are welcome and two enclosed playrooms are easily viewed from the tables. The Children's Menu offers ten dishes which includes two varieties of kid's schnitzels.
A Well Stocked Bar (Photo from Wonthaggi Workmen's Club Facebook Page)
A twelve page wine list provides selections from around Australia as well as local South Gippsland wines and there is an impressive line-up of spirits and liqueurs at the bar. Freshly made coffee, tea, hot chocolates, milkshakes and juices are also catered.
Keep an eye on the specials boards and particularly on the desserts. What will it be today, the brandy basket, an exotic cheese cake, sticky date pudding, or some other delight?
But wait, there's more. The Club runs theme nights in conjunction with its usual menu. Tuesday is Gourmet Schnitzel Night, Wednesday is Roast and Flake Night, Thursday is Build Your Own Pizza Night and there is a Carvery on Sundays. Seniors Lunches are offered Monday to Thursday.
The Pit & Pony Bar where you can Play the Pool Tables for Free (Photo from Wonthaggi Workmen's Club Facebook Page)
For those not wanting a meal, relax on comfortable lounge seating in the café. If you fancy a drink and a game of pool, trot over to the Pit and Pony Bar where the lounge area features a gas log fire, three pool tables, a juke box, large screen televisions, and a TAB facility.
Views of the Bass Coast at Kilcunda on the way to Wonthaggi (Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The Wonthaggi Workmen's Club is at 65-75 Graham Street, Wonthaggi. Wonthaggi is charming town and the business hub of Victoria's picturesque Bass Coast. It is just over an hour and a half easy drive from Melbourne's CBD. The Club is open daily from 9am until late. The Bistro is open daily between 12 and 2pm for lunch and 6 and 8pm for dinner. The Club can be contacted on (03) 5672 1083 or via their website. Private functions, weddings and conferences can be booked. Should you want to spend a weekend on the Bass Coast, and you won't regret it, reasonably priced accommodation is available at the Wonthaggi Motel or the Coal Fields Caravan Park. I have stayed at and been happy with both.