The Turret, Ballarat

This is my first (and possibly last) post on restaurants in Ballarat! At the beginning of the year Cam and I moved here for my uni course. The thought of  living out of home in a friendly town was really exciting, until we got here.. Social isolation from friends and family (inc. all new uni friends commuting from Melbourne), terrible drivers, rude people, and a complete lack of good food! Sure, there are a few places in Ballarat that I’m sure are great – but honestly there is nothing here that you can’t find in Melbourne.. In your own suburb, even. This sounds a little harsh, and maybe if I didn’t have a love for foreign foods it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the fact that there is no Asian grocery here (the tiny shop with about 10 Asian ingredients in which you can get at the supermarket anyway does not count) says a lot. Anyway, I thought it was about time I be more positive and try out some of the local dining here in Ballarat, in particular one place which I had an interest in for a while. Food blogger Winnie from Biting Travels was in Ballarat so we decided to meet up and have lunch together. My first food blogger friend, yay! :) See here for her lovely version of this post!

The Turret

 The Turret, located in an old, charming building.

We started off with drinks. A pretty standard drinks menu with complimentary self-serve water infused with various fruits.

Bravo Rasperry and Cranberry Drink

Bravo raspberry & cranberry drink.

Vanilla Chai Latte

Vanilla Chai Latte.

Immediately their specials board caught my eye… Duck risotto. Yes please! I have had epic cravings for duck and thought this would tide me over until I was in Melbourne next.

Duck Risotto

Duck risotto.

Oh boy, how I was wrong! This was the worst duck I have ever had, let alone the worst risotto! I don’t even know where to begin with this one. The duck was extremely overcooked, to the point where only half of it was edible, the skin and meat were both tough and overly oily. This must have been cooked a few days in advance then re-heated in the oven or something (not confit style!). The risotto was bland at best. There was no seasoning, it just tasted like semi-cooked rice with mushrooms and spinach. Boring! The only good thing about this dish was the plating, although even then there was a big clump of spinach just chucked on the side of the dish. Major let down. :(

BLT Sandwich with Avocado
BLT with avocado.

Winnie had a BLT which looked much more appealing than my meal, although at the same time it didn’t appear to be anything special. I didn’t try this one, however Winnie said it was nice.

Feeling pretty underwhelmed, I decided to skip desert, although they did have a nice selection of treats.

Selection of Deserts
Deserts on display.

Overall I wouldn’t go back to the Turret, mainly because there are other places I would prefer to try first. My dish was possibly just a one off, as occurs in most restaurants, however the service wasn’t anything special either, and I just felt like the atmosphere along with my disappointing dish would be enough for me not to return. I did have a receipt for the prices, however I seemed to have lost it, so my apologies! The dishes ranged from $15 – $25 for lunch mains, so while they were not that cheap, they did give generous portions.

The Turret
802 Sturt St
Ballarat, VIC
(03) 5334 4744

Turret on Urbanspoon

19 comments to The Turret, Ballarat

  • Oh dear, what a shame that it was so disappointing!

  • Aww pity you’re not enjoying Ballarat much :( I love the town, probably cos of my lovely friends there. We had great group cooking sessions, but yeah food options there is limited. Never mind, not long to go :p Your photos are beautiful, I’ll make a link from my blog when I get home (I’m at the airport waiting for my flight).

    • Bink

      Yeah, I think it would help if I had some friends here, and had contact with people who weren’t just plain rude. The town is so pretty, it’s just a shame that’s all it has to offer for me :( And aw, thank you for your lovely compliment :) have a safe flight!

  • Such a shame about your risotto. Awesome in theory, not in Ballarat though :( the duck does look well and truly murdered

    • Bink

      Haha, Nic, you are spot on! And oh, I think that is the nicest possible photo of that risotto! When it first came out my immediate thoughts were ‘oh god that looks really dry :O surely not!?’ and then when I poked it with my fork it was like it was made out of stone or something, haha!

  • Awwwww, that is so disappointing :( Oh well – it’s a sign! Back to Melbourne you come! ;)

    • Bink

      Must be! So glad I will be back in December :) cannot wait. I am hijacking you at some stage for a personal tour of the Dandenongs and Yarra Valley :P

  • the duck looks good in the photo but it ended up terrible… oh NO!

  • Hey that raspberry drink looks yummo, gotta look out for it somewhere haha… I was shocked to read that your risotto tasted awful cause your photo was SO nice, how deceiving!! Well, at least you got to meet up for lunch with a new friend that day hehe. Ballarat is sooo far away!! =/

    • Bink

      It was pretty good! You know what other fizzy drinks are great though? Phoenix Organic! Their cola is amazing. Haha, thank you, perhaps I should’ve taken a horrible photo of the dish? :P And yes, it was lovely to make a new friend that day :) Ballarat is pretty far away, although only about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne CBD. I come from the Eastern suburbs, so it takes me like two and a half to three hours (one way) when I travel back to Melbourne to visit friends and family every fortnight! Next year I will have to drive that two days a week as I will be back home in Melbourne, but still going to uni in Ballarat, eep! At least it has put travelling into perspective, though. People complain that Melbourne CBD is so far away from them when they live in the INNER suburbs LOL… For me, nothing is far away now! I don’t mind driving :)

  • ah no! Well, at least you photos are amazing as usual and you can at least tick that restaurant off your beloved Ballarat list! LO

  • Aww.. how sad that you had a letdown over here… Sad about Balla’s though.. I would have thought they would be much nicer up there…

    • Bink

      I know, you would think that they’d be nicer but nope! It’s really not a little country community or anything as a lot of people think, though. Its really just a mini Melbourne CBD with worse roads and drivers haha.

  • I was going to ask you via Twitter if you were studying in Ballarat but you have already answered my question! Are you not originally from Melbourne either? I guess it must be hard studying in a country town away from family and friends. How much longer do you have to go?

    • Bink

      I am originally from Melbourne, and did my entire undergraduate degree there, but unfortunately I didn’t get into psychology honours at the end of last year as it’s extremely competitive. So this year I’ve done a bridging program which gives me guaranteed entry into honours next year assuming I get a GPA of 5.5 (a mid-credit average), which is much lower than what you need to get in straight from an undergrad degree. Ballarat uni are the only uni in Australia who offer such a program, and only take about 20 people each year for it. Luckily I was accepted so I forked out $6K and moved over here with my partner (who amazingly pays for everything as he works full time in the CBD). Next year I will be back at Ballarat uni for honours, although we are moving home (back to the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne) early December, so I will have to drive to and from Ballarat two days a week for uni! It is really hard being away from family and friends, and I now know what it’s like for so many international students! Although, I don’t even have any friends here as everyone in my course lives in Melbourne and commutes, so it’s been a very lonely year. Phew, sorry about the essay! ;)

  • Oh dear… that meal does look a disaster! My favourite restaurant in Ballarat is Japanese Restaurant Kambei. It doesn’t look that much from the outside but the food is consistently amazing, very authentic and pretty good value too. If you’re every back in Ballarat give it a go!

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