The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
‘Hidden gem’ wins major accolade
An online travel company has rated a Wimmera café among the top 10 percent of restaurants worldwide.
Salingers Café in Great Western has won a Tripadvisor 2021 Traveller’s Choice Award.
The award recognises accommodation providers, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked among the top percentile of properties on the website.
Business owner Heather Ahchow, who runs the café alongside husband Bruce, said news of the award came as a ‘shock’ for the establishment that they had been operating for less than three years.
“We are totally stoked. When I first found out I thought it was a gimmick and someone was playing tricks with me to say you were in the top 10 percent,” she said.
“It’s incredible to think we have received this recognition just by giving a nice smile and acknowledging people, and we could make that much of an impact on someone that they would leave a good review.”
The restaurant has a four-and-ahalf star rating out of five from 139 reviews on the website.
Reviewers have described the cafe as a ‘hidden gem’ between Melbourne and the South Australian border, producing ‘outstanding meals’.
Mrs Ahchow said the café’s location and its focus on sourcing produce from the Grampians were key ingredients in its success story.
“A lot of people make Great Western their halfway spot,” she said.
“But we also don’t like to pull things out of the freezer onto the plate. We like to put a lot of love into the food.
“We source our produce locally as much as possible, our bread is from Great Western and veggies from the region. We only have local wines in the place as well.
“We pride ourselves on training our staff, so the coffees are consistent.”
While quality produce was front of mind for the restaurateur, Mrs Ahchow noted head chef Bryden Buckingham was a major driving force behind the café’s positive reputation.
“Our chef is young, enthusiastic and always open to new ideas to add to the restaurant,” she said.
“He puts his heart and soul into this place and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Ararat born and bred chef Mr Buckingham, who has been in the industry for the past six years, said his passion for food motivated him to strive for nothing but the best.
“I’ve been passionate about food my whole life. I love to eat and I love to cook,” he said.
“I just work hard and its nice to be involved in such a highly rated restaurant.”
Mr Buckingham said the cafe’s pork-belly benedict, rueben toasties and home-made sauerkraut were among popular food items on the menu.
The restaurant will celebrate its third year in operation in September.