For me, travel is all about the people I meet and the dining places I find. Sure, we go to places for the stunning landscapes and seascapes and that popular shot with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. But what makes travel more intense are the sounds, smells, and flavours. Here are our dining finds during this 9 day roadtrip. Here’s hoping that you find them too, if you decide to go this way….
1. Seven Seeds, Melbourne – The obscure entrance belies the throbbing and vibrant interior of this cafe. To my eye, the patrons look like they were entrepreneurs of start-up internet companies, or musicians, or writers. Or simply people who love great food and even greater coffee. Seven seeds make their own coffee on the premises. “They have a coffee laboratory, mum”, observed my 14 year old. Prices are reasonable. My two slices sourdough bread with two poached eggs cost $11. The brioche french toast with poached peaches is a must! The total brekky experience? I would say it’s one of this trip’s Top 5 highlights next to the 12 Apostles. The experience was that memorable, or maybe that’s just me.
2. 12 Rocks Cafe and Beach Bar, Port Campbell – This pub is busy and waterfront. Port Campbell is the closest town to the 12 Apostles and it’s where you should stay, I reckon. At 12 Rocks, there is a long queue to order. Simply because the lady at the counter manually takes your order down and manually adds them up before ringing the total at the register. Why this is so is beyond me. The wait for our meal was about 15 mins. It was all worth it. While away the time with their in-house brewed beer. My Thai salad with crispy wontons was delightful. I have never seen wontons presented this way. Ariel’s baked salmon and vegies with caesar dressing was delicate in its perfection. Yes. We swap plates midway in every meal, don’t you?
3. Ocean Corner Cafe, Anglesea (along the Great Ocean Road) – Anglesea was our lunch stop on the drive from Port Campbell to Melbourne. What a find, this one. From the outside, it looked like your regular fish and chips shop. But it’s not. Their specialties are homemade cakes and meat pies. The boys’ $5 bacon pies tasted like grandma’s. Ariel and I had a bacon and potato soup. I tell you, it was most hearty. My tired body was soothed and my heart swelled. I had to eat the soft bread that came with it, dipping it into the soup felt just right. It was like having soup by a fireplace. A simple meal that was full of homemade love.
4. Hahndorf Kaffeehaus, Adelaide – For the first time, I ordered something that was not in the menu. Being on the go meant eating fast food fare. So I try to find whole food as much as I can. I asked if this cafe had a salad. “Yes, we can make a garden salad for you. Would you like to have chicken or smoked salmon with it?” I smiled inside. It felt good to be given a choice. I’d like it with smoked salmon, thank you! Ariel thought that his Reuben sandwich was underwhelming. But since I was happy with my choice, Kaffeehaus deserves a callout indeed.
5. Robertson’s Bakery, Hay – It was 7.30am on a Friday and we ventured out to the one main strip in town looking for this Tripadvisor find. Despite my misgivings of any shop to be open in the middle of a 45°C heatwave, this bakery opened as advertised at 7am. There were plenty of bread and cake choices that looked like what your grandma would make. I devoured them all with my eyes. The pleasant surprise was the coffee serving that came in a mug. Generous in portion, the coffee itself was sublime. Don’t miss this place when you make for Hay!
6. Joe’s Kiosk, Henley Beach, Adelaide – We make it a point to have breakfast where the locals go. This brekky find is right on the beach where the local bikers converge for good ol’ big brekky. I was mildly surprised that their big brekky price was the same as in Sydney. The boys’ bacon and eggs came in generous portions. Ariel and I ordered eggs on toast with coffee. I easily paid $60 for 4 plates. The nicest thing about this place is you can idly watch people on their morning walks/jogs along the beach. Most of whom have dogs in tow.
Do leave me a comment and tell me about your experience if you manage your way to any of the above dining finds.