Saturday, March 26, 2011

millhouse cafe, pemberton

short order review

The best of a limited choice of cafes in the Pemberton township.  Since the closing of the cafe at Fine Wood Craft Gallery, Millhouse is one of the only options for coffee and outdoor dining.  Further afield, boutique wineries such as  Hidden River Estate and Silkwood offer bucolic views and pinot with your caffeine, or for  fat scones and pancakes head to the Lavender & Berry Farm.

Millhouse Cafe's food is unapologetically simple.  You nana would understand every word on the menu, and delight in gazing over the roses with her "farmhouse" toasted sandwich, or corned silverside and curried egg roll.  For special occasions, she could splash out on the marron and trout platter at $100.

The staff are mainly backpackers, some with more smiles than English. Coffee was ok, but can't have been that memorable as I didn't even take a photo of it.  Must have been carried away with the roses.

Open 7 days on Pemberton's main street. 

cape kitchen, busselton

gourmet foods, gifts, kitchenware, books & coffee
Fig Tree Lane, Busselton, Western Australia

beans : Fiori organic fairtrade & 5 Senses Harmony
leaf : T2 leaf selection
soy : yes, organic Vitasoy
dunk : thin almond biscotti
fork : dense hedgehog slice $4.50
spoon : linzertorte; plum, star anise & vanilla jam in an almond meal crust $7.50
knife :
muffins baked daily

footprint :
leather flats, comfortable baking shoes
price :
service : owner occupied, all female team, knowledgeable and friendly
open : Mon - Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm, Sat 9.00am - 2.30pm, Sun closed
buzz : If you want to gaze longingly at food "porn" and paraphernalia while sipping a smooth organic coffee, drop everything and head to Cape Kitchen.  The laneway location is vaguely Melbournesque, and the lack of an external view allows you to focus on the array of beautiful kitchen accessories, gourmet ingredients and Busselton's best range of cookbooks.  That is if you can get your head out of the magazines provided for your reading pleasure; food, and design publications from South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia, or if you must, the daily paper.  Coffee is consistently good, with a choice of two beans, ground to order and brewed by caring baristas. 

A small selection of rolls and deli items are made each morning in-store, and a loyal mercantile crowd make haste in their lunch hour.  Sadly, this isn't the place for a vegan lunch, as salad is not served as a stand alone option.  For those with more time, you can share the comfy red couch with strangers and compare your plump muffin with their almond biscotti.  Bar-style seating is available in the covered laneway, but while you are people watching you can't keep your eye on the polka-dot teapot or French wicker basket that your so covet. 

The gourmet food range includes well known quality imported products, national names such as Herbies spices, Simon Johnson, T2,  and 5 Senses, and locally made sauces, jams, chutneys, cheese and charcaturie. They are stockists of Yallingup wood fired bread, free range eggs, and a range of Cape Kitchen condiments. The next time you read a recipe that requires Persian fairyfloss, sumac or puy lentils, don't be scared, you will know where to go, and if you have a foodie in your life, I am certain a voucher for their next birthday will be well received.

Friday, March 25, 2011

order up

I have been tirelessly stepping out in the cafe world, struggling through fruit toast and soy lattes, wearing out my shutter finger and stressing my adrenal glands with caffeine.  Not to mention time in the Country Road Kitchen, baking morning tea for swimming teachers and in-laws.  All in the name of love and giving.   I have a backlog of photos and reviews to share; here is a sneak preview of what is to come.  Hope you all get a chance to enjoy some cafe time this weekend. 

coming up on crema
Yallingup Coffee Company, Dunsborough
Boho Bar, Margaret River
The Raw Kitchen, Fremantle
Fat Duck, Busselton
More, Busselton

Thursday, March 17, 2011

dark moist spice cake

sea gardens, prevelly park

beans : organic & fairtrade 5 Senses
leaf :
Rubra leaf
soy :
extra 60c
dunk :
potluck muffins baked daily
fork :
pear & almond tart
knife :
Valrhona brownie
plate & bowl :
"Bombie Brekky" eggs, asparagus, avocado, mushrooms & roma tomato on rye toast
footprint :
thongs by day, casual scuffs by night
price :
$3.90 medium, $4.20 large
service :
young, inexperienced & meek waitresses, backed by a vivacious and casual French manager
open :
7.30am - 9.00pm, woodfired pizza from 5.30pm

buzz :  The poorer cousin to the White Elephant down the road, Sea Garden's ocean view is across the carpark, over a few rooftops and through the trees.  The refurbished terrace is a pleasant spot for a lazy breakfast or casual meal, seated at a wooden table and shaded by peppermint trees.  The food is beach kiosk fare with names like "The Zorba", "The View" and "Box Wrap" served on a plate rather than in a cardboard box.  Yellow chips accompany almost every meal. and the servings are generous.  At night woodfired pizza is added to the menu. The kind of holiday food that is fast disappearing as the Margaret River region snubs the lower echelons of  dining.  Gluten free and vegetarian options are available, but little for the vegan punter.  Cakes are a winner, baked on the premises by the patisserie chef.  Be quick, as locals are onto the daily "pot-luck" muffins with a coffee after a surf or on the way to work.
The service was appalling, and it took three repetitions of our order (one pot for two of soy chai please) to the doe-eyed waitress before she drooped away.  The chai was luke warm, weak and didn't fill two cups, and came out with a cow's milk flat white that we didn't order.  The French manager was taking orders while leaning on the table and yelling across the terrace.  I thought there must have been an emergency.  No, just a Frenchman.
It is dog and kid friendly, and the Sea Star's proximity to the caravan park ensures it is pumping during holidays and long weekends. Family's looking for a casual cafe that will suit the burger, chip and pizza eaters need look no further, but you can find me down the road at Gnarabup.

Sea Gardens on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

lavender & berry farm, pemberton

short order review
open 9.30am - 4.00pm, closed Tuesday
Browns Rd, Pemberton, Western Australia
This is grey nomad territory, the kind of place you would take nana for morning tea with confidence. However, there is no age limit on big, fat scones with homemade berry jam and cream.  People travel from afar to fill up on comfort food at friendly prices, and the visitor's centre make claim that the pancakes with warm berry sauce  and ice-cream are the font of all happiness. The coffee is good, served in basic mugs or handled latte glasses, and light lunches are prepared fresh daily.  The patio seatin area is rustic and a little rough around the edges. Cottage style at its most casual, with sprigs of lavender, views of the rose garden, and a pot belly stove for the long winter.  At certain times of the year you can pick your own berries, otherwise take a jar of jam home and ask mum to make you a batch of scones.

simple vegan orange cake

Saturday, March 12, 2011

purist gallery & espresso bar, yallingup

gallery, jewellers, boutique gift shop, espresso bar
Blue Orchid Crt, Yallingup, Western Australia

beans : Biobean organic
leaf :
T2 selection
soy : yes, Vitasoy
dunk : hundreds & thousands sprinkle biscuits
fork : mini pecan pie
spoon :
individual lemon meringue tart

footprint :
casual weekend flats
price :
service : husband & wife team give personal attention when they step into their barista shoes
open : Wed - Sun 10am - 5pm

buzz : An intimate and peaceful bush setting with the best selection of design, interiors and art magazines in the region, make this a favourite locations to extend my margin of leisure.  Max Ball and Penny Hudson have created an enviable lifestyle business; a model I aspire to when I grow up.  A contemporary shed, designed by ex-architect Max, sits discreetly in three acres of bush; kangaroo paws, sheok and grass trees are an arm's length from the outdoor cafe area. Natural light pervades the gallery and shop space, where Penny 's paintings and Max's jewellery and objects are exhibited, along with design books, art supplies, and products from Mud ceramics, Mozi, and Tonic
The cafe is simple, so as to complement rather than divert attention away from the gallery.  Sweet bits are baked at Cookies Galore in Margaret River, the coffee is organic and smooth, and tea is served in a fine china cup with saucer, befitting the quality of the leaf.  During the week you'll most likely have the place to yourself, and a few hours can slip by reading magazines in a retro chair, with the relaxed feel of a friend's backyard.

postscript : sadly Purist is now closed, I am still mourning the loss and hope they didn't just throw out all of those design mags when they left.


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