GYPSEY and Musquito were Australian bushrangers in Van Diemen's Land. Musquito was Aboriginal, Gypsey was British, and their story — the fight for indigenous rights — sounds like a mini-series waiting to happen.
Things "Australian" are the inspiration for Anna Ingle and Kirilly Stewart's excellent new cafe. "I think being in Australia, we should use what was here originally," says Ingle, who uses wattleseed and quandong from South Australia, leatherwood honey from Tasmania and bush tomatoes (for chutney) from the Northern Territory.
The simple space has whitewashed walls, timber shelves, naked globes and a communal table at the back for the modern pursuit of Mac-tapping (Wi-Fi is free).
Beverages include six types of bush tea — smoky billy tea (a good deal gentler than the campfire versions), Australian mint and "myrtle magic". There's Sunzest orange juice, too.
Of course, to be a successful brunch spot, it's all about the eggs. Ingle uses Beggs' eggs, organic and free-range, and she's a master poacher. Each egg is perfectly soft.
Spud fans will go mad for the herby asparagus and potato hash, baked and browned on the edges, the potato soft. A good amount is stacked on toast, with lots of free-range bacon, two of those eggs with rich orange yolks that spill satisfyingly over the lot and a sparky hollandaise that's laced subtly with lemon myrtle.
"Anna's granola" is a busy mix of wattleseed, macadamia nuts, bush berries and chunky oat clusters, the crunchy combo roasted in apple juice for three hours, served with buffalo yoghurt, spiced poached fruit and a drizzle of leatherwood honey. I wish you could take this home; I'd eat it every day.
"Brekkie items in a skillet" arrive in a mini cast-iron pan, a higgledy mix of bacon (the fat cut off), torn pieces of toast, field mushrooms, tomato and a crocodile sausage — good for novelty effect but I wasn't a huge fan of its pasty texture — and the toast went a bit soggy. Still good, though, and dotted around the pan are grape-like confit native riberries.
Another plate brings another creative dish — groaning on one slice of toast is a fantastic piece of thick, seared double-smoked Tasmanian salmon; a mound of ripe avocado; rocket tossed in a sour-cream dressing; tiny, citrusy orbs of native finger lime; and two poached eggs (again, perfect). It's a busy dish and each element could do with more elbow room.
During peak breakfast times, dishes may take time — worth it — but the service is switched-on and will keep the water and coffee coming.
Salty chicken and sweetcorn pastry "boxes" (a take on the pie) are creamy with bechamel and homely for lunch, or there's an Angus steak and mash version, plus tuna patties and rolls.
All cakes are made on-site; the buttercake lamington is hearty, as is the buttercake-style friand, with soaked clove-rich fruit.
All that's left are casting decisions. Bryan Brown as a bushranger, perhaps? And who will Bill Hunter play?
- Cuisine - Modern Australian
- Author - Nina Rousseau