IN TUNE WITH NA­TURE

FILL­ING LO­CAL TUM­MIES WITH NU­TRI­ENT-PACKED FOOD, SERVED IN A SUS­TAIN­ABLE FASH­ION, IS A CHAL­LENGE VIL­LAGE CAFE ON COLLINS HAS RISEN TO.

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Pas­sion. It is a word bandied about by restau­rant own­ers at­tempt­ing to show cus­tomers how much they care about what is on their plate. In many cases they are in­deed pas­sion­ate in an all-en­com­pass­ing way, eg. “I re­ally hope you like what we are of­fer­ing.”

Some­times it is a sur­vival­ist no­tion. “If you do en­joy your meal you are more likely to re­turn and to rec­om­mend us to oth­ers.” Oc­ca­sion­ally it is al­tru­is­tic. I be­lieve the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind Vil­lage Cafe on Collins falls into this cat­e­gory. Cyn­ics may think it’s a gim­mick, but there is a lot of eco info on their web­site you wouldn’t nor­mally bother with un­less it was your ob­ses­sion. One snippet states: “Vil­lage Café on Collins is our op­por­tu­nity to marry hospi­tal­ity with a sin­cere de­sire to see busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity take no­tice of the need for all of us to make a greater ef­fort in our day-to-day prac­tices to pre­serve the won­der­ful en­vi­ron­ment in which we live (and our planet for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions).”

They then walk the talk, us­ing sus­tain­able take-away con­tain­ers (no plas­tics) and keep the shop mantra, “re­think, re­duce, reuse, re­cy­cle, re­spect”, flow­ing in words and prac­tice across the busi­ness.

Shop­ping lo­cally, the own­ers Mark and Caro­line also claim, “We en­joy the re­la­tion­ships we have with our pri­mary pro­duc­ers and pur­vey­ors and sup­port the eth­i­cal treat­ment of their an­i­mals and sus­tain­able prac­tices they have adopted.”

You’re get­ting the drift. But what you re­ally want to know is, what’s the food like? The short an­swer is, very good. Home alone for the weekend with son num­ber two, we take the op­por­tu­nity to head out for Sun­day brunch.

It ap­pears other par­ents have the same idea, with no short­age of young pa­trons sit­ting at ta­bles star­ing into screens. That’s qual­ity fam­ily time for you, but we’ve all done it in the des­per­ate quest for a quiet life.

Kids’ pan­cakes with blue­ber­ries, maple syrup and vanilla yo­ghurt is a sub­stan­tial heart­starter for the lad. Throw in a hot choco­late and he’s set for the af­ter­noon.

I’ve opted for the lunch special of zuc­chini and leek frit­ters with smoked salmon (no skimp­ing here), capers, roquette and red cur­rant crème fraiche.

We share a fork­ful of each and agree both are qual­ity. We sus­pect his blue­ber­ries are of the frozen packet va­ri­ety rather than fresh, but that doesn’t de­tract from the stack of thick fluffy pikelet-sized pan­cakes.

There’s a short wait as dishes are in­di­vid­u­ally pre­pared, sug­gest­ing no short­cuts and the pre­sen­ta­tion of both dishes is al­lur­ing.

Ex­cel­lent Sip­ping Duck cof­fee tops off a charm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

There’s a short well-priced wine list, along with beers, for those with a leisurely day ahead of them. One dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tion of pas­sion is, “bound­less en­thu­si­asm”.

Yes, I’d say these guys are pas­sion­ate about their ven­ture.

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