When I was going to school, a trip to the canteen always brought with it a sense of breathtaking excitement. It was a rare chance to ditch the boring and predictable lunchbox of its neatly cut triangle sandwiches and processed cheese stick to sample what felt like the thrilling food temptations of a burger, hotdog or chips that were on offer behind the counter of the canteen.
All of these memories come flooding back when I visit Walton's Pantry. The one-time former Gap Football Soccer Club canteen has been given a fresh facelift, where basic burgers and tomato splattered hot dogs have been abandoned for the more modern offerings of a contemporary cafe.
I found Walton's Pantry after leaving the CBD behind (by 6 kms) and venturing along Waterworks Road towards the leafy suburb of The Gap. After crossing Walton's Bridge, once a meeting place for the local indigenous people as well as a resting area for bullock teams travelling west, I begin to see the expansive green grass and goals of the football ground and know that Walton's Pantry is in my reaches.
Walton's Pantry is casual and comfortable with a local, laidback style.
It has retained the familiar exterior besser and breeze blocks of the former canteen structure which have been painted khaki green. The cafe is outdoor dining, only where brown, wooden bench tables, each with a vase of fresh daisies, are shaded by a black shade tarp and outdoor umbrellas.
The hilly views to Mount Cootha and its neighbouring television towers along with the grassy fields of "The Gap Gators" soccer field make for a pleasant backdrop on a clear day. The Gap can get a little chilly in winter, so be sure to bring a jumper on a frosty morning.
Faux grass makes Walton's Pantry a favourite among parents with kids as well as fur mamas. There were at least 5 well-mannered dogs at the cafe during my visit, perhaps wanting to take advantage of the free dog treats and dog bowls. A selection of kids toys are available to amuse the little humans. The box of building blocks and a cup of Chuppa Chuppas are sure to occupy the restless and energetic.
The Breakfast and Lunch menu Walton's Pantry is counter service and offers the promise of fresh local produdeli-stylei style goods. The menu features breakfast and lunch items familiar to most cafes such as:
For something sweet, the cakes are tempting with flavours ranging from Oreo, Red Velvet and Chochlate ($4.50 per slice).
Coffee and juices help to wash them down.
Unfortunately, in my experience, the service was a little off par (my coffee didn't arrive) an oversight which went unnoticed. Oh well.
Look out for the bunches of fresh flowers from "Janie" which have found a place beside the counter. Bunches range from $20-30. Walton's Pantry offers a loyalty program where guests can buy 5 coffees and get the 6th one free.
Community notices with information advertising local events like pilates, local fairs and cooking workshops add to the local vibe. Walton's Pantry is tucked behind a shopping centre, so if visiting be sure to follow the winding car park to the back of the shops where free car parking is available. Walton's Pantry is open 6 days.