The Shaggy Cow is located in the heart of Mittagong, the gateway to beautiful rolling hills known as the Southern Highlands. Located only 1.5 hours away by car from Sydney's CBD, and, with many local attractions including the scenic Mount Gibraltar Reserve (with 4 different lookouts!), the township of Mittagong makes for a great short trip away without needing to spend an unreasonable amount of time in the car in return. There is plenty of street parking available in adjacent streets, in addition to a public car park located behind the cafe.
Eddy pictured outside The Shaggy Cow again, with a different perspective.
The Shaggy Cow opened its doors to customers in early 2014, and as such, is a relatively young cafe. In fact, The Shaggy Cow was awarded Excellence in a Cafe in the Southern Highlands Business Awards before celebrating its first birthday! They have since racked up a number of awards and/or nominations since then, including:
2015 Southern Highlands Local Business Awards (Finalist)
2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
2016 Southern Highlands Local Business Awards (Winner)
2017 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide
An impressive number of awards, in addition to acknowledgement to local businesses in their help in establishing The Shaggy Cow.
Mark Wilson, the Manager and "Restauranteur" of The Shaggy Cow, has extensive experience in the field, with an "instinct for finesse and warmth of hospitality". His previous ventures include Manly's iconic The Bower Restaurant, the award winning prestigious Watermark Restaurant at Balmoral Beach, and the Bar Ristretto Cafe's at Warringah Mall, Bondi, Macquarie Centre, Chadstone and more recently, T2 at Sydney Domestic Airport. Being the son of a navel diplomat, Mark attended lots of stylish cocktail parties from a young age, and even jokes that he "grew up with a tray in [his] hand"!
Before The Shaggy Cow came along and filled the gap, The Southern Highlands, in particular Mittagong, was craving a relaxed, yet vibrant licensed cafe destination. With a relaxing atmosphere that, in contrast, is one of the most popular restaurants and cafes in the region, The Shaggy Cow easily entices new customers to give them a visit and to keep on coming in the years to come. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available at The Shaggy Cow, both of which provide a comfortable and relaxed ambience for customers. The walls inside the cafe are lined with, true to their name, photos of cows - or more specifically, true to their location, photos of Southern Highland Cattle!
Photos of Southern Highland Cattle, with lots of solo customers relaxing with a cuppa.
There is also plenty of outdoor seating in a little brick lane adjacent to The Shaggy Cow. There is plenty of shade under large canopy umbrellas, and coupled with an easily accessed cool breeze due to the outdoor seating being situated in an open laneway, it's a great place to relax and enjoy your meal, even in the summertime.
What food options are available at The Shaggy Cow?
The Shaggy Cow's food menu is split into two main categories - 'Morning Grazing' and 'All Day Grazing'. Morning Grazing, which is served "mostly all day" (ask staff for more details on specific dishes), is further divided into 'Something Light' and 'Something Hearty', which should be self-explanatory! There are heaps of options to choose from, whether you are looking for a small snack or a full-blown meal. The 'All Day Grazing' menu starts from 11:30am, including starters and side, 'Shaggy Cow Specialties', and gourmet wraps and sandwiches. There is also a 'Kids Brekkie' or 'Kids Lunch' option for patrons 12 years and under. The Shaggy Cow caters for all dietary requirements, with vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian option and gluten free optional choices on the menu.
Just stopping by for a quick meal, I opted for the Cheese Plate from the 'Starters & Sides' section of the All Day Grazing menu - white mould cheese and aged clothbound cheddar with Lavosh crackers and Pinot Paste. It was beautifully presented, and believe it or not, tasted even better than it looked!
What drink options are available at The Shaggy Cow?
Seeing as The Shaggy Cow is one of the best cafes in the Southern Highlands region, it's a given that they have an extensive range of coffee available, brewed using Italian Illy Coffee - get your 8th cuppa free by collecting stamps on their reward card! There is also a range of loose leaf teas available, served in a pot, in addition to cold drinks such as freshly squeezed orange juice and house-made natural flavoured soda! On the same page as the drinks menu, The Shaggy Cow has also kindly provided a 'glossary' of terms that customers may come across in the menu and not understand. For example, the Cheese Plate I ordered had aged clothbound cheddar - although I knew this was cheese, I didn't know what type (a fresh, smooth cheese made from cow's milk) it was until I referred to the glossary. Very useful!
Being a fully licensed venue, The Shaggy Cow also has an extensive list of alcoholic drinks, including sparking wine, white wine, red wine, cocktails, domestic beer, imported beer, and cider. For bottles, please ask for the full wine list!
They sure are - as long as you and your pooch are sitting outside. The Shaggy Cow is not just dog tolerant, but is actually dog friendly - staff are as attentive to doggy patrons as they are to the human customers, and even provide each dog with their own bucket of water. Not just a normal dog bowl, but an actual bucket that will quench the thirst of the thirstiest of dogs!
Is there anything else worth mentioning about The Shaggy Cow?
If you're looking for the perfect gift for a foodie and/or cooking enthusiast, The Shaggy Cow has available for purchase "The Southern Highlands Cookbook" in store - pick up your copy today! They also offer vouchers to the value of your choice, which is yet another great gift option.
Cookbook for sale at The Shaggy Cow - photo taken from The Shaggy Cow's Facebook page.
The Shaggy Cow also has a literal 'secret' - pour water over the correct brick tiles in the outdoor seating laneway, and be one of the few people to read the hidden poem here at the cafe! It's a great activity that will keep the kids entertained, and pique the adults' curiosity.
Watering cans provided - good luck!
Thanks for a wonderful time, The Shaggy Cow - Eddy and I can't wait to be back in Mittagong to try out more items on the menu!