It’s brunch time
IT’S interesting how some food businesses open their doors and hit their stride from day one while others slowly evolve, making subtle changes as the diversity of their market is revealed to them. The Aproneers is one of the latter. While their underlying real, sustainable food ethos remains unchanged, they’re now as much a cafe/ eatery as a grocer/ providore.
Some of the big warehouse crates of vegetables and fruit have been moved to the footpath, the long communal table has been replaced with a scattering of smaller tables inside, plus a few outside – with plans for more – and there are expanded a la carte breakfast and lunchtime hours and menus, as well as monthly winemaker degustation dinners.
Apart from the original concept, one of the owners’ best moves was to appoint the talented and passionate Kurstin Berriman ( ex Synergy in Launceston, Edge of the Bay at Coles Bay, and Piermont in Orford) as chef.
She’s recently been joined by manager John Botha, from South Africa, who brought with him chef and restaurant management experience from England, Cyprus and the Caribbean.
With Michael Chung still doing the providore sourcing and buying, they make a great team.
The busy, committed and successful team caters to an amazingly diverse customer base doing its shopping, snacking, lunching and coffee- ing, and serves up to 100 covers for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
From an extensive breakfast menu, which ranges from eggs every which way to their own baked beans and croquet monsieur, Berriman said the most popular dish was her huevos rancheros – or “ranchers’ eggs”, the menu’s literal translation.
And it’s not surprising. For of the many, newly fashionable, Mexican- influenced dishes around town, this, for me, is the best.
With her mild but authentic- tasting tomato salsa topping a thin tortilla, in turn topped with two soft- poached eggs and cheese, accompanied by little bowls of chilli- dusted sour cream, sliced and peeled avocado, a sliver of chilli and wedges of lime, it makes for a wonderfully flavoursome start or savoury pick- up to anyone’s day.
From the small blackboard menu we also enjoyed our first- of- the- season asparagus with eggs and shaved parmesan, and a beautifully dressed salad of twice- cooked duck and duck livers, accompanied respectively by deliciously fresh watercress and miner’s lettuce grown above the snow line in the hills behind Snug.
And, of course, supplementing the daily menus is a wide selection of lighter luncheons and ready- to- go dishes that, on the day of our visit, included a very tempting quiche of Elgaar quark, olive tapenade and tomatoes, and an unusual blackened and baked, cous cous-stuffed whole pumpkin.
The array of cakes and cookies are baked by Berriman’s chef husband, Allan, the croissants and danishes are sensibly bought in from Daci and Daci, the bread from Pigeon Hole, while the coffee beans are freshly roasted by the excellent Villino.
In addition to Berriman’s talent, it is the approach to sourcing the very best of what they don’t do themselves that makes eating there such a pleasure.
At the table you can enjoy your choice of local wines at shelf prices plus $ 5 corkage.
Salads from $ 5.50; quiche $ 6.50; menu dishes $ 15 to $ 25; desserts about $ 6.50.