In Food + Drink

The Q Train Serves Up Vintage Dining Cart Glamour

Stuck for a romantic date night or weekend getaway idea? The Q Train on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula has opened six refurbished carriages (once used on Queensland’s The Sunlander) for a journey that brings back a bit of the glamour of rail travel.

Collecting guests three times weekly from the historic Drysdale Station (roughly 15 mins from Geelong) the vintage train consisting of two dining cars, a bar, kitchen and two ‘first class’ dining carriages (formerly sleeper carriages).

The experience is an Australian first, a gastronomic heritage train journey along the Bellarine Peninsula to Queenscliff with a stop or two along the way to jump out, stretch your legs and grab a photo or two, before making the return trip back to Drysdale, passing by vineyards, olive groves, and paddocks of sheep, cattle and horses along the way. All up, the journey takes just under four hours.

Guests can book for one of two experiences enjoying a six-course degustation featuring local Bellarine produce as well as local wine, beer and cider while enjoying the views of Swan Bay and the Bellarine. The Q Class dining experience takes place in one of the two dining cars, one seating 44 passengers on tables of two, four and six, while the other seats 28 on tables of two and four with bar available.

For those keen on something even more special can book into one of the First Class dining carriages, which are converted sleeper cabins and offer a private and cosy dining experience for just two. It’s rather romantic and very old school and the six courses comes wine matched for this special experience.

And the fare on board, is amazing. Award-winning actually, as it’s just been recognised at the 2018 Savour Restaurant and Catering Awards as the best tourism restaurant in Victoria as well as the Customers Choice award. Two awards, no doubt head chef Chris Egan takes pride in.

The menu, described as “Australian themed degustation with an Asian influence” uses ingredients sourced from the local Bellarine and Geelong region and all meals are prepared on board in the The Q Train’s kitchen. Prior to The Q Train, Egan worked at two chef hatted restaurant Ezard and at Masons of Bendigo and at the The Brougham Arms Hotel in Bendigo. In 2014 he was named the Victorian Chef of the Year at the Golden Plate Awards.

In between the courses you can sink back and watch the scenery roll by or hop up and make your way to the Bar Car for an extra cocktail with retro 80s music setting the vibe. There’s a mini dance floor in the bar and its easy to see why this train could easily suit a private party, wedding celebration or even a corporate event.

Those keen on making a weekend experience of it can also take advantage of the travel and accommodation packages put together in partnership with other local businesses such as the Sail, Rail and Dine package where guests can enjoy a ferry trip departing from either the Melbourne Docklands with Port Philip Ferries or Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula with Searoad Ferries to be transported to Drydale for the Q Train.

There are also overnight packages for those looking for a romantic weekend away where the dining experience is partnered with one of the Bellarine Peninsula’s hotels, the historic Vue Grand Hotel in Queenscliff. Packages can be booked via the Q Train website.

You can board the Q Train every Thursday (lunch), Friday (dinner) and Saturday (either lunch or dinner) and tickets for the six course degustation experience will run you $119 per person for Q Class or $159 for the First Class private carriage with matched wines.

Published 21 August, 2018