Iconic Australian artist Norman Lindsay's private life and artistic works were seen during his life time as rather unconventional and controversial. With diverse artistic works stretching from the children's books featuring the Magic Pudding to World War One propaganda to nude etchings and statues, I was hoping that the café that adjoins his former residence at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains might reflect his eclectic personality and output.
While the house is set in formal gardens interspersed with Lindsay's collection of nude statues, the café is situated in a more traditional Blue Mountains bush setting. Shaded by trees and seating both indoor and out, it's a very pleasant and quiet location where one can enjoy the Blue Mountains ambience for a meal with friends.
As a kookaburra laughs in the distance and Mr and Mrs Duck waddle by with their clutch of six chicks, we peruse the substantial menu.
It's not quite the eccentric menu I'd hoped for but there are enough menu choices to prick the diner's interest at lunch time. The drinks on offer certainly suit a Lindsayesque sophistication chiefly distinguished with a range of teas and coffee that would impress any connoisseur. Then there is a long list of soft drinks, imported waters, juices, smoothies, wines, beers, ciders and some home made specialities.
Service is swift and before you can say Bunyip Blue Gum, we find out that the table for four has barely enough room to fit all four plates and drinks.
Thai Fish Cakes
Twice Cooked Duck Crepe
A tart of goat's cheese, semi dried tomato, caramelised onion and basil is topped with a roquette, Spanish onion and parmesan salad. It's not attractive with its hat of rocket leaves. I struggle to detect the goat's cheese or the caramelised onion. It all tastes OK but its not a war winner. The opposite is true of the Thai styled fish cakes served with a huge salad. The fish cakes possess super strong flavours and the neutralising dipping sauce provided is needed here.
The 'de-hatted' Goats Cheese Tart
The Asian inspired Twice Cooked Duck Crepe is a more inspired creation altogether. Served with a complex salad of crispy noodles, roasted pistachios, mesclun, cherry tomato, cucumber, capsicum, Spanish onion and bean sprouts with Thai basil and sesame oil dressing. Luckily it's on the on-line menu as there is a lot of ingredients to remember. The 'pulled' duck pieces and salad mix are an absolute sensation and I loved the crunchy roasted pistachios amongst the mix.
Even though we are tempted by a genuine magic pudding on the menu, we just settle for the coffees. Nothing striking to report apart from the option of the Dirty Hippy, a chai latte consisting of a shot of espresso with a honey option. I was hoping for a triple hit of flavours but at $5.50, it didn't quite fulfil my dreams.
And maybe that's what didn't quite make Lindsay's café a skiting experience. With all the advantages it has located in the shadows of this National Trust listed property of a famous Australian artist, its proximity to the Australian bush, the possibilities of a truly striking and original menu, finding a balance between the bland, adventurous and pricing...ahh the eternal struggle of cafes and restaurants.
Lindsay's café may not be iconic, magic or controversial but it's unlikely to disappoint a Lindsay's aficionado with eclectic taste buds.