Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published August 15th 2012
Try a great cuppa Joe
Come with me, dear reader, into a fairy tale world of a cottage of goodies set in a fantastic valley of forest and river.
The cottage is Taylors Art House, renowned artist Jude Taylor's Studio and the Coffee House run by her children.
The cottage is a traditional bush cottage which has been adorned and decorated by found art - machinery, antique bits and bobs, including a magic lantern, examples of Jude's fabulous art, a privacy nook made of a galvanised iron tank and a variety of charming artefacts.
The whole place breathes warmth, eccentric charm and that ineffable feel of welcome.
The coffee house also serves breakfasts and luncheons and James and I dropped in on a wet and blustery day for lunch.
The menu is small but serviceable and at first reading our first reaction was dismay - dismay that we hadn't come early enough for breakfast, a mistake we intend to rectify as soon as possible.
We were seated at a rough hewn, thick slabbed table near an open fire - the tables vary is size and come with a variety of mis-matched chairs - this eccentricity is reflected in the chinaware. Most of the crockery is a neat uniform white, but the saucers contrast with the cups and with each other most effectively. One is almost reminded of 'playing dollies'
The lunch menu was varied and moderately priced. The 'Soup of the day' was priced for two sizes, of which I naturally chose the larger. It was 'Potato and Leek'.
Now I make a pretty decent potato and leek soup myself which is widely admired ... this was better than mine (he admitted through gritted teeth). A final swirl of EVOO set it off nicely and the flavour was just amazing.
James chose the burger (shown above) ($20) which came with some perfect home-made chips, a smattering of salad with a Caesar-style dressing, rosemary infused mushrooms and the burger itself between Turkish bread - rich, full of flavour and delicious.
On top of the patty was a spread of caramelised onions, which was worth the price on their own.
As a main we shared a tasting plate ($36) of Turkish bread (warm); EVOO and Balsamic mix; outstand chorizo (spicy and not overly oily); olives; Tomato and cheese and - extra special - a wonderful home-made paté topped with those caramelised onions.
Despite the array of cakes and other sweet things we just ended with coffee - which I am excited to tell you comes in cups, mugs and ... 'bowls'. At last, a coffee house that realises coffee lovers love lots of coffee.
Exceptionally good coffee.
Taylors Art House is an original, I don't know of another café quite like it, with its extensive gallery areas, its unique take on individuality as an art form and the devotion to service that seems instilled in the staff.
We ate indoors as it was pelting down, but there are quite extensive al fresco areas, where it would be delightful to drink and eat on a summer's day or even a dry winter's one.
Tucked away down a side road, Taylor's is a real find and well worth visiting, not only for the amazing food, ambiance and coffee but for the regular displays of local art - August sees a display of photographs and other art entitled, somewhat elliptically, The Other Half of the Sky…Women.