Weekend Herald - Canvas
A TASTE OF COUNTRY
WE ARRIVED: Here’s a place that describes itself as a cafe and farm shop and really is. With several others, it’s all faux country. Here, there’s fresh produce on sale (and being bagged behind you as you eat), home-made jams and preserves and a laidback vibe. The service is super-friendly and the Fatu Feu’u table that occupies the main dining room is a sight to behold.
WE ATE: It might have been uncharacteristically warm and sunny for a July Sunday but it’s winter, so we make the most of it. The Stray Dog Cafe doesn’t have a huge menu, it’s more a place for morning or afternoon tea or a light lunch. Four soups are available on our visit (Thai carrot, cumin and lentil, cream of broccoli and pea & ham — all $12 for a decent-sized bowl and a piece of seedy bread toast) as well as a couple of frittatas, bacon and egg pie, Sicilian pizza and dainty sandwiches. We have no trouble finding something to make me, my husband, fussy teenager and tween more than happy: carrot soup — loved the zingy fresh coriander on top — pea & ham soup, a slice of carrot cake, two pieces of shortbread ($2 each) and one of my all-time favourite biscuits, a florentine ($5).
WE OBSERVED: The art in the neighbouring Miranda Farm Gallery, which is holding its annual winter show with work by some of our top artists on display and sale. If renovations on our new house hadn’t blown our budget, we might have left with a Michael Smither’s print, a Jim Wheeler sculpture or an early Christine Hellyar painting. Instead I take solace in the view from the car park of the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula.