I’ve been to Poachers Pantry a few times for lunch and dinner, but have never managed to go for weekend brunch until last weekend. Fortunately, after a whole week of rain, the Saturday morning we had booked in for brunch was sunny and warm. Poachers Pantry is about a 25 minute drive from the city and well worth the visit.
I love the simple entrance surrounded by greenery and the sense of being in nature.
The theme of green continues when you reach the cafe with its green roof and pillars. It has a quaint country and homely feel to it. There are golden fish swimming in the little pond by the door of the cafe, tables and sun umbrellas set out for brunchers sitting outside and more foliage.
Inside, there are smooth wooden floorboards, a black fireplace and chimney, wooden tables and chairs, and large windows looking out at the grass fields. I always feel at home in this cosy spot. There’s another fireplace in the extended back room to provide warmth in winter. My favourite room in this cafe is the chilled meat and cheese room. Poachers Pantry is a smokehouse so its cured meats are a must try!
We were still waiting on some friends when our waitress asked if we wanted any coffees. I ordered my soy mocha ($4) which came out in a large cup. This was deliciously thick and frothy on top, and most importantly, it stayed frothy the entire time. I have a nespresso at home and use the milk frother but soy milk always seems to go flat after about a minute. I really enjoyed this mocha.
It was still a slightly chilly morning so a breakfast of shakshuka baked eggs ($20) with sweet peppers, tomato, spinach, creamed fetta and toast was exactly what I needed. When this came out, I immediately noticed the oil slick covering the top of dish. The eggs were unfortunately overcooked and the yolk a little hard. I didn’t think this was a great start. I tore off a chunk of toast to dip into the sauce and everything was made right again. The tomato sauce tasted fantastic! The sauce was slightly sweet (but not sickeningly sweet), absorbing the flavours of the sweet capsicum. I found this was a very unique kind of sauce and I’ve never had one that tasted like this. I love the creamed fetta in this dish and it balanced out the sweetness of the sauce. I was disappointed that there was only one piece of toast to mop everything up, though I think the cafe would be accommodating enough to provide a second piece if I had asked.
Food porn of my friends’ dishes
Several varieties of tomatoes and other vegetables are grown on the property.
I had to include this shot of an old sheep-shearing shed? So old but with a lot of character.
I always enjoy visiting Poachers Pantry where my worries seem to fade away. Maybe its the fresh air and the massive property the smokehouse cafe sits on. I like looking at all the items in the mini-store such as marmalades, chutneys, oils and rocky road. There’s also plenty of wine on offer with a cellar door onsite. Before leaving, I headed into the meats cold room to buy a few things for lunch. The classic prosciutto ($8.30) was a big hit with my partner and myself. Great quality prosciutto, great colour and flavour, a little smokey and polished off very quickly. I always wrap prosciutto around rockmelon, a popular summertime treat with my family, to provide a lovely balance between saltiness and sweetness. Simplicity at its best.
The smoked chicken breast ($6.50) with tarragon and lemon zest, the recipient of many medals, was so soft and succulent. Smoked and ready to eat, all I had to do was snip the plastic wrapping, let the juices run out and slice. Simple flavours that work so well together.
My last visit at Poachers Pantry was for dinner as part of the Fireside Festival which I’m looking forward to again this year. The atmosphere is laidback with people enjoying the gorgeous weather and socialising over breakfast. Poachers Pantry is also family-friendly with little kids safely running around outside.
Something to try if you feel like going for a bit of a drive, getting some fresh air and a decent feed. Don’t forget to try the smoked meats or get it to go.