When a food outlet hits just the right spot: gets it right, in pretty much every way, a certain magic happens. I guess that’s what’s driving the exodus out of our houses and out into the streets. And especially on weekends, it’s brunch!
Hard on the heels of our Sunday roast, and the phenomenon of our dining boom replacing the mining boom, Annie’s Kitchen represents most items on that list. In a good way.
We were in Melbourne, to begin with. Then hit the coast. It was Sunday. The only trouble was, we’d just eaten lunch at Front Beach Café, after a late start down in Torquay. Well, it was the day after a wedding, after all. And my friend Lynne, being the consummate host, took me back to Melbourne via Barwon Heads.
This tiny seaside resort is high on the radar these days, and the real estate is stratospheric. Main Street sports a shiny collection of cafes, up market boutiques, and an ice-cream shop. So we wandered the street, admiring the vibe, and there, in mint condition, was the T-Bird my Daddy took away! Oh Beach Boys!
So humming the song, we bounced a little, and Lynne settled at an outside table at Annie’s Kitchen.
Now this little place is a bit like an Aladdin’s cave of foodie delights. Beginning with the outside tables: tasting jars of jams and preserves sat proudly flashing their wares. What a neat idea? Probably needs a sharp eye for maintenance, but while waiting and ordering, what better way to spend the time than tasting?
And inside? Yes, cave-like, divided into several sections by mountains of produce that requires some real leisure time perusing and selecting. The ceiling is replete with baskets, dried herbs, hams and garlic garlands that create an almost secret-seven type of atmosphere. The produce, and displays, are layered. Perfect.
I have no idea who Annie is, but she must be a lady who loves food, likes it healthy, and set out to do her own thing. She succeeds on all counts. The service was cheerful, amenable, and quick. The menu is still a bit big in my book, but the serves are well presented, tasty, and coffee? Excellent.
I loved the feel of the place. Warm, homely and inviting, in a sort of shabby chic way without being try hard. And the absolute peak of my day? I just wanted an ice-cream, in a cone. While they had some tubs in a freezer, nothing took my fancy, so I asked, in a small voice, would they mind terribly if I got an ice-cream over the road and brought it back here? While my friend enjoyed her coffee and delicious fruit bread?
“Of course! No problem,” was the answer, so I schlepped over and back and sat, read the paper, and soaked up the sun. You might ask what’s so amazing about this? Well, in these times of stiff competition and amateurish outfits, it takes a really confident management to allow this minor breach of café etiquette.
And it’s the sort of place that understands sometimes, a customer might really appreciate a little depart. Of course, the request is something you wouldn’t do in a high end restaurant, or many other establishments. But this isn’t those. It’s a cool place, and confident. I’ll be back, and so will my friends who live there.
Has Annie’s Kitchen come up on your radar? I hear their smashed avocado is 5 stars, so I’ll be back. It’s worth the trek, and it’s so good to see such a clever and well-run place lift the seaside grazing options up so many notches.