Fish Creek may be small, but it punches above its weight in terms of the choice of eateries in its township. This can make plumping for one of them difficult unless, like us, you arrive on the wrong side of lunchtime. Gibsons Licensed Cafe and Larder was clearly still open for business at a time when most of its noshery neighbours looked ready to shut up shop for the day. We peered through the window - the cafe wasn't exactly awash with customers.
My dearest husband and I were about to judge the cafe by its covers but thought of our options, which weren't many at such a tardy hour and stepped inside. We were greeted brightly and warmly and invited to sit wherever we wanted. Once we were seated, our cheery greeter, Michelle Gibson, the owner of the cafe, ran us through the day's specials.
The afternoon was decidedly chilly so I selected the dish (and vessel) with the greatest heat-imparting potential: the soup of the day. DH, who told me he'd gone past the point of feeling famished, settled for a mug of latte. The cauliflower and leek soup with blue cheese garnish was delightful and, truthfully, left me too full to eat anything else. But my eyes were hungry. I'd spotted a number of delectable-looking desserts in the food cabinet and managed to convince myself I still had room for one. I thought about sharing it with DH, who had been quietly eyeing my soup, his appetite apparently revived. Michelle evidently read both our minds as the slice of Lemon Berry Cake was delivered to our table with two forks and an extra plate.
Open for just twelve months Gibsons Cafe may be the new kid in town but sits comfortably in its charming, Fish Creek setting, embracing an artisan ethos in both the fabric of the cafe and the food/products it sells. Michelle Gibson, its likeable owner, seems to be as much a force for nature as she is a force of it. The cafe's breakfast and lunch dishes are homemade, using local, seasonal produce wherever possible and quality ingredients. Gibsons currently sells a range of its own preserves, such as jams and chutneys, and has plans to extend this further. A room adjoining the cafe is dedicated to the sale of the work of local craftspeople, such as Andrew McPherson, who made the eye-catching wall lights and shop counter in the cafe from timber salvaged from its renovation.
Some of the locally-produced crafts for sale in the cafe shop
Last weekend, we again found ourselves in the vicinity of Fish Creek, this time early enough to qualify for brunch. We were both keen to re-visit the Gibsons Cafe to see whether it was as good as we'd remembered. It was a Saturday and I was surprised to find the cafe, though busier than before, still had plenty of free tables. Once we'd seated ourselves, however, it became clear that what the cafe lacked in dining-in customers was made up for by customers dining out, both outside in the courtyard at the rear and in the form of a steady stream of people buying food and coffee to take away.
Pondering over menus, my DH and I discovered that we liked the sound of each other's meal choices as well as our own, and agreed to share. You really have to know someone pretty well to share soup....but the same combo of cauliflower and leek I'd eaten previously was on offer and DH was determined to sample it, his taste buds still tantalised.
I fancied tucking into a pie, eminently more shareable, and opted for the homemade, free-range chicken and leek pie with salad and pear chutney. The soup was still very good - though I could have sworn I enjoyed a bigger serving last time and it had been served with a roll, not toasted bread. No, on this occasion, the star of the show was definitely the pie with its salad and pear chutney accompaniments, all of which were scrumptious.
I was sorely tempted to renege on my agreement with DH to share, but a promise is still a promise...and fundamental things apply even if you'd rather not let a pie go by. Next time, though, I'm having one to myself.