TREAT FOR ALL THE SENSES
Alex and Christa Smit from Albury’s The River Deck Café have found the perfect place to settle down.
Alex and Christa Smit are leading a team which brings food and service at a level equal to the views at Albury’s The River Deck Café.
AFTER years of travel, Alex and Christa Smit have found the perfect place to settle down. Belgium-born Alex has experienced all types of foods and cultures across the many countries he’s lived in during his 43 years, including Canada, France, Malaysia and South Africa. He finished school in Australia and attended Melbourne University before continuing to travel the world for another decade with a consulting firm.
After meeting Christa, the decision to settle down in Albury was clear. Combined with operating a small business and looking after young family members, they haven’t travelled much in the years since. Instead, they’ve concentrated on making The River Deck Café in Albury an exciting food destination.
The pair has operated The River Deck Café on the banks of the Murray River since an opportunity to lease the kiosk arose in 2011. At the time, it was open only from November to April. However, they had a vision, which with the help of a redevelopment in 2014, transformed the kiosk into the modern venue it is today.
“We wanted to showcase the magnificent parklands on the Murray River in Albury all year and provide year-round employment for our great team,” Alex said.
“Having worked in hospitality in Melbourne for several years and hailing originally from Europe, we wanted to create a bistro-style venue where you could have a glass of wine, delicious food and a beautiful outlook.”
One of Alex’s favourite features of the location is the stunning view that changes to create unique and exciting atmospheres seasonally. However, it brings the challenge of finding a menu that perfectly complements the outlook.
“Although I’m an avid cook at home, the cooking at the River Deck is done by a professional and hardworking team,” he said.
“Our head chef, Ludo Baulacky, never rests his creativity and is always looking for new dishes and ways to portray his love of food to our customers. Our challenge is always making sure that our food and service is equal to the view.
“We change our menu regularly to reflect the seasons and availability of produce and expect to continue that into the future. Techniques like sous vide and molecular gastronomy afford us the ability to reframe ingredients and present them to patrons in new ways.”
As is the case every year, spring is an exciting time for the café. With fresh leaves on the trees and flowers blossoming, comes fresh produce to inspire new dishes and activities. A long lunch on the riverbank was held under the trees last spring to allow patrons to celebrate great local food and wine with good friends, and is likely to feature on the program again this year.
words Freyja Postlethwaite photos Marc Bongers/ Mark Jesser/charlie Brown