Veer off the Hume Highway in northern Victoria and you won’t be far away from a country town ready for exploration. First in this northern Victorian series is Benalla. It has a bakery that boasts they have the best vanilla slice this side of Kansas. I guess it’s subjective as I find them small and they taste no different from other good vanilla slices. The centrepiece of the town is the Botanical Gardens that wrap around part of Lake Benalla, which on this summer’s morning sees a small group of swimmers doing a circuit of the lake. Sitting on the deck of the Benalla Gallery Cafe, I have pole position of said swimmers. Sharing the building with the Benalla Art Gallery, the cafe seems like a favourite as locals pile in not long after opening time. It’s barely past 8am and there’s a batch of scones on the counter. I assume they are at least yesterday’s as they are dry and unappetising, even on an empty stomach. The jam is stock standard strawberry and the cream luxuriously double thick.
Tea: A basic selection of loose-leaf Temple Tea served in a small teapot.
Overall: Great location overlooking Lake Benalla.
Ph: 03 5760 2619 benallagallerycafe.com
Reviewed December, 2017