Tuesday, February 22, 2011

white elephant, gnarabup beach

beach side cafe 
Gnarabup Beach, Gnarabup
Margaret River, Western Australia

beans : organic Rubra, served at 70 degrees
leaf : pyramid silk tea bags
soy : yes, extra 60c
dunk :
giant melting moments
fork : mini lemon meringue tart

spoon : bircher muesli with banana, strawberry, grated apple, honey, yogurt & toasted almonds ($11) 
knife : buttermilk pancakes with fresh banana & strawberry salad with vanilla yogurt ($15)
plate & bowl : elephant vego breaky of grilled polenta, poached eggs, roasted tomato, mushrooms, avocado, asparagus & persian feta ($19)

footprint :
bare sandy feet
price :
service :
casual, happy holiday workers, no table service
open : 7.30am - 4.00pm, 7 days

buzz : If only every day could begin like this; an uninterrupted view of the ocean over my latte, the chatter of early morning customers and rustling of the newspaper the only gentle distractions from my beachside joy. Seriously pleasant.

The White Elephant was named to define and defuse an enduring and passionate debate surrounding a less than attractive building built in one of the country's most stunning and prized locations.  Last summer, the White Elephant's fate was unknown, with murmurs of demolition. A plee to support and protect the idea of a beach cafe at Gnarabup was launched to the community with the promise to "serve the people well and not detract from the view".  It was met with rousing response and after a summer of discontent and temperance, a new lease was granted and renovations began in earnest.

The elevated deck extends to the sand, with chunky jarrah benches offering the front row view over Gnarabup Bay.   Casual and unpretentious, sandy dogs and kids blend with tourists and dedicated locals. Weekends and holidays are busy, but the turn over is swift.  If you can't stand to wait a minute in this environment, take a good hard look at yourself.  Run by the same owners as Margaret River's renowned Gnarabar, White Elephant Beach Cafe offers the same high standard of breakfast and lunch,  and can cater for functions up to 150 guests. 
Go for coffee, breakfast, juice or cake; take a book, your laptop or the whole family; just be sure to go at least once this summer. Long live the White Elephant.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ootong & lincoln, south fremantle

 258 South Terrace, South Fremantle

beans : Fiori organic fairtrade
leaf : organic leaf tea
soy : yes
dunk :
lemon shortbread ($3)
fork : chocolate oblivion cake ($6)
spoon :
rose & almond cake ($6)
knife : coconut milk pancakes with tropical salsa ($15)
plate & bowl : mushroom, tomato, feta, rocket and basil pesto on toast ($16)

footprint :
vintage flats
price :
service :
hip & relaxed
open : 7 days, 6.30am - 5.00pm

buzz : I spent my childhood embarrassed by our laminex table, vinyl chairs and olive green lounge. Time has passed and now retro is hip, marbled laminate is covetable and brown Tupperware collectible.  Walking into Ootong & Lincoln I felt a wave of reminiscence, like I’d come home, except home had morphed into a bright space with a design edge and great coffee.  Concrete, steel railing and exposed electrical cables lend a relaxed industrial feel, and the upturned washing baskets and preserving jars as light shades are a nod to upcycling.  The inside bike rack encourages two wheel travel, if you can stand hanging your steed next to the gorgeous vintage examples.

As a newcomer on the South Freo strip, Ootong & Lincoln have wasted no time gaining favour with the locals.  The breakfast menu has the usual suspects at reasonable prices, and my thick slices of fruit and nut toast with self-service jam were a delight. It is understandably a weekend drawcard, so if you want a quiet breakfast with the paper, go during the week.  The casually hip patrons sport everything from bathers and lycra, to vintage threads befitting the 1950's theme.

Fresh lunch fare is on display from mid-morning; including a selection of salads, rolls, patties and savory muffins, made daily using organic ingredients where possible.  Croissants,cakes, muffins and biscuits are baked in house and congregate around the till to tempt even the toughest of wills.   

For some reason they are very elusive with the name; it isn't printed on the menus or anywhere inside, we had to go out and look on the facade. I wonder how many people remember actually remember what it is called?  
With honest food, smooth Fiori coffee, magazines and a chair for every mood, Ootong & Lincoln is deserving of its early cult following.  I would go back just to gaze over my soy latte at the lady with the balloons.

Ootong & Lincoln on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the crowded house, south fremantle

25 Duoro Rd, South Fremantle

beans : "Crema" 20% robusta, 80% arabica
leaf : "Rubra" leaf selection
soy : yes
dunk : crisp almond croissants
fork : plum & almond tart with creme fraiche & oat crumble ($14)
spoon : chocolate mousse with peaches, honeycome & basil ($14)
knife : thick slabs of freshly baked bread, lightly toasted with jam ($5.50)

footprint :
sneakers, flats or sandals
price : $3.80
service :
familiar & friendly, with the owner on the floor
open : 7.00am-3.00pm M-F, 8.00am - 3.00pm Sat & Sun

buzz : In a short time, The Crowded House has gathered momentum and a loyal band of customers.  Their bread is the stuff of legend, sliced thick like a door stop, toasted to present a crispy exterior and a soft middle. The building echos a classic Freo limestone house, pared down to the essentials, with separate rooms for dining, and lounging, depending on your mood.  The back room is more casual with an elevated communal table and stools at centre stage, and french doors opening onto the (as yest unfinished) outdoor courtyard. From here you can see the chefs and barista at work on your order.  The front room is set with cutlery and glassware for more serious diners, and a leather lounge that will no doubt be hot property in the winter months.The warm minimalist scheme is a classy combo of leather, red and cream, with contemporary light shades, whitewashed sideboards and original artworks.   On a stunning summer's morning I felt a bit closeted with a lack of connection to the outside, but the cool interior would be welcome come later in the day.
The breakfast fare is hearty and befitting their claim that "all happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast."  The lunch menu has one vegetarian option in both entree and main (no vegan), with the remainder driven by more unusual land and sea creatures.  Think octopus, rabbit and garfish. Coffee is great; hot, strong & smooth.  All the better to dunk your croissant or toast in.  Fresh juice and leaf tea also available for non-beaners.  My friend ordered a second flat white and through a misunderstanding we were both delivered another cup. I of course scoffed it, then almost levitated out the door.

Not far from the heart of town, The Crowded House is a fresh vibe in Freo cafe culture that is definitely worth a visit.

The Crowded House on Urbanspoon


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