Long Track Pantry

Hearty: Enjoy country fare, old-fashioned milkshakes and great baking.
Hearty: Enjoy country fare, old-fashioned milkshakes and great baking. Photo: Sally Webb

Riverside Drive Jugiong, NSW 2726

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Opening hours Wednesday-Monday 8am-4pm
Features Family friendly, Cheap Eats
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Phone 02 6945 4144

I often have an argument with my children about whether or not they can drink a whole milkshake. I suggest they should order kids' sizes - smaller, less wastage - but Archie and Lulu always think otherwise.

Thanks to Long Track Pantry, we've now put that argument to bed. They launch into their chocolate malted and caramel shakes respectively, served the old-fashioned way in tall aluminium containers, polishing off about half each before coming to a grinding halt. Next time, they agree, they'll stick to the smaller size.

We've come to Long Track Pantry, a charming country cafe and providore in the tiny town of Jugiong between Gundagai and Yass, for a quick road-trip lunch. It has long been an essential pit-stop during our regular trips between Sydney and Melbourne, a journey we make at least twice a year. Indeed, we've been known to time our drive to stop here, if only for a coffee - the best on the Hume Highway - and some seriously good country baking displayed enticingly under glass bells on the counter.

Dish of the day: Long Track Lunch Plate.
Dish of the day: Long Track Lunch Plate. Photo: Sally Webb

We've also been known to do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping here; the place is stylishly crammed with homewares.

It's busy when we pull up. The lunchtime crowd is piling in, the old fly-screened door banging as customers enter. The pick of the tables on the shady verandah is full so we opt for one of the wooden tables inside. I fear our scheduled hour's stop might blow out, but the system is efficient - you order and pay at the counter - and service is quick. The milkshakes arrive in a jiffy with food close behind.

Archie and Lulu both choose pies - the house specialty - which are hearty bundles of flaky pastry enclosing beef slow-braised with red wine and bacon, served with a simple mixed leaf salad. They'd make better work of them had they not been full of milkshake, but at least there are leftovers for me.

A delicious lentil salad combines lemon-zesty pulses with sweet currants, fresh herbs and creamy Meredith dairy goat's feta, with triangles of fried flatbread to scoop it all up.

The Long Track's steak sarnie is generously sized with deeply caramelised onions. The meat's a tad gristly but the flavour is good, especially the sweet relish. Preserves and chutneys are a bit of a Long Track Pantry signature - jars of the stuff, with attractive red and white labels, decorate the shelves.

Dish of the day is the Long Track Lunch Plate, a wooden breadboard piled high with thinly sliced rounds of pancetta, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, wedges of pistachio-studded chicken terrine, a dollop of smoked trout pate, chunks of house-marinated sheep's feta and soft, pale baguette. Try as we might we can't finish it. I blame it on the milkshakes.

Do … take a shopping bag, the homewares are enticing.

Don't … go home without some preserves, condiments or a frozen pie.

Dish … Long Track Lunch Plate.

Vibe … CWA meets Vogue (or at least Country Style).

http://www.longtrackpantry.com.au/