Last weekend, C and I had a big drive home. A 16 hour round trip + 40 degree heat in one weekend is what I would describe a killer- but one of my good friends was getting married so the trip was totally worth every km. We could have flown, but in true country airline style, it was literally cheaper to fly to NZ.
Prior to a long trip, the Gran in me sometimes take over and I think about packing lunch. This is usually to ensure we don't have to eat at the Caltex/BP/ Fast food outlet, all of which would be very suitable for Sunday Shocker, but it was not Sunday and I'm not starting any new 'eating crappy food traditions.' I was pretty unorganised and so didn't get a chance to pack and when we arrived in Milmerran, It was time for lunch (or it wasn't but it was 1.5 hours till the next town.) I usually go to the Mil Bakery but this time we parked in front of the Passchandale B&B and Coffee Shop.
Stepping into the cottage was like a step back in time. There were farm style table cloths and old records all over the ceiling!! The owners were really sweet and gave us what could only be described as top notch country hospitality. We were seated and the given the menus but there were heaps of specials on the board. I stood up to look at the board and the owner informed me that he cooks the corned beef in ginger ale alone to tenderise the meat. Usually I wouldn't touch corned beef with a ten foot pole, but I was sold- so I settled on the corned beef and pickle sandwich ($6.90) (what I call a farm sandwich) and a homemade iced tea for $4.50/. C went for the Coffee Shoppe burger off the main menu and a lemonade.
Apparently the Coffee Shoppe is the place to stop because just as our drinks arrived, some friends who were travelling back up from Wee Waa stopped in too. Small world!
My Iced tea was ok- it was not overly packed with sugar and had a nice hit of mint which was really good, but it did have a little bitter twang.
The sandwich arrived and the corned beef was nice and tender. The flavour of the ginger ale didn't seep through and I'm not sure how healthy it is to cook in ginger ale, but what the hell! The sandwich was on fresh white bread but the disappointing factor was the store bought pickles. If homemade pickles had been used it would have transformed the sandwich into true farm sandwich fame.
C's burger was packed high with homemade patty and homemade coleslaw and all the trimmings. It was too big for him to eat as a burger so he deconstructed it. The patty was quite moist and the burger was a good solid meal.
What a treat! Simple home cooked fare, in a really cute coffee shoppe (which joins onto a B'n'B if you are in Mil and need to stay the night.) People expect prices to be cheaper in the country but this is sometimes not the case. I'd say the food was priced at city prices which was pretty reasonable. I think the total was about $22- probably a similar amount to if we had stopped at Red Rooster or an equivalent but much better service and homemade food.
The trip to the loo was interesting too. The 'dunny' was an outhouse in a very nice little garden but once you step into the loo- travelers and passers by had signed their names ALL over the interior of the toilet. I tried to make my mark but unfortunately had run out of ink and so only got half way through. There were some funny little poems and some witty character had written, KEVIN RUDD in huge letters on the toilet seat- quite the genius so it seems! Really, despite my political beliefs, I have to admit I did chuckle whilst sitting on the toilet seat! I have to say, the service was impeccable. Was it formal and starchy? No. But I think they had nailed the essence of customer service which was to make the diner feel comfortable and happy during their stay and the hosts certainly achieved this- it wasn't hard to be happy with their cheer in the room.
So tell me reader, is there anywhere you have eaten that is really cute with good old fashioned service and simple but yummy fare? And have you run into friends at a very odd place?
Coffee Shoppe and Passchandale B'n'B
57 Campbell St