Wild Pear Cafe

Check out the specials board for desserts such as the Banoffee Smash.
Check out the specials board for desserts such as the Banoffee Smash. Photo: Anthony Johnson

658 Old Northern Road Dural, New South Wales 2158

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Opening hours Daily 8am to 4pm
Features Accepts bookings, Licensed, Outdoor seating
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Phone 02 9651 6600

Wild Pear is fast becoming a destination cafe. That is, people don't just pop in to Wild Pear because they're in the area. They drive to Dural, often from across the city, to go there.

It hasn't always been that way for the eight-year-old cafe, a weatherboard cottage nestled in a leafy nursery. However, word of its pretty, fairy-floss-covered desserts has spread quickly on social media and, in the past few months, the local clientele has had to compete for tables with visiting foodies.

Lorraine Solomon has been overwhelmed by the sudden growth of her cafe "in the middle of nowhere", which she co-owns with her sister-in-law, Jeanette Takchi. It is larger than most cafes in the city, with about 25 tables. Still, it is advisable to book in advance, as it is full most weekends and the wait can be up to an hour.

Sought after spot: The wrap-around verandah.
Sought after spot: The wrap-around verandah. Photo: Anthony Johnson

When we visit, we almost drive past the unassuming entrance, which can be difficult to discern from the many homesteads and nurseries in semi-rural Dural. It has a homely feeling that emanates from the friendly staff, many of whom are family, as well as the charming setting.

Ordering proves a challenge, as the menu is extensive and there are tempting Middle Eastern ingredients, such as haloumi, pomegranate and tahini, in every dish.

We almost unwittingly bypass the much-loved desserts, which are on a separate, seasonal menu. Much of Wild Pear's sudden popularity can be attributed to its Turkish-delight smashed pavlova, a photogenic mound of meringue topped with strawberries, watermelon, cream, ice-cream, Turkish delight, crushed pistachio, rosewater syrup and pashmak.

Grilled haloumi stack with local figs.
Grilled haloumi stack with local figs. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Sadly, we're told the smashed pav has gone on a brief hiatus and the waiter recommends that we instead order the rosewater milkshake, which is also topped with the signature pashmak, a Persian fairy floss made from sesame. The striking pink drink is not as sweet as it looks and has an appealing nutty aftertaste.

Like everything at Wild Pear, the desserts are full flavoured and the portions are large. We order a smashed banoffee, which has replaced the pavlova, and banana bread from the specials board. The grilled bread is served with a generous smear of tahini and fresh honeycomb, which together tastes similar to peanut butter, and a pile of sea salt to cut through the richness. For half-hearted sweet eaters like myself, these are best shared.

Everything at Wild Pear, including condiments, is made on site from fresh local ingredients. Located in a region of bountiful produce, it has good relationships with local farmers who often pop in to say hi and drop off some vegetables.

Rosewater milkshake topped with Persian fairy floss.
Rosewater milkshake topped with Persian fairy floss. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Breakfast items such as the Spanish eggs, sweet-pea falafel and baked beans are cooked with local free-range eggs and served with toasted wood-fired Italian bread. The flavours reflect Solomon's Greek and Takchi's Lebanese heritage. They both previously worked in hospitality and love trying new twists on the food they eat with their families.

The menu switches from breakfast to lunch at 11.30am and morning meet-ups are replaced by groups of local women catching up over a glass of wine.

For lunch, there is a wide range of proteins, such as barramundi, salmon, chicken saltimbocca and lamb cutlets, as well as plenty of vegetarian options. We enjoy light corn and quinoa fritters served with grilled king prawns, chilli jam and avocado, and an indulgent roast pumpkin mascarpone and ricotta lasagne.

To finish, we try the Wild Pear affogato, which is beautifully served in a brandy glass with toasted almonds, maple syrup and biscotti.

With views over the nursery that shares the site, tables on the wrap-around verandah are the most sought after. Even in nasty weather, heaters and plastic blinds keep the outside dining comfortable.

Wild Pear is not the sort of place you will want to rush in and out of and, if you're tempted by their selection of wines and imported beers, you could easily spend a few relaxing hours there.

THE PICKS Grilled haloumi stack; dessert specials; affogato; rosewater milkshake.

THE COFFEE Caffe Migliore's Linguaglossa Arabica blend.

THE LOOK Charming weatherboard cottage with wooden floorboards.

THE SERVICE Friendly and professional.

THE VALUE Reasonable for the size and quality.