18 August 2008

Cliffy’s Emporium

28-30 Raglan St, Daylesford.
Ph: 5348 3279
Open: Sun to Fri, 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-10pm

IMAGINE the most stereotypical country café you can. If you’re on the same wavelength as me, it has local produce to buy, mismatched antique furniture, bright cushions, an open fire, great coffee, flawless service and perhaps even the quirky touch of menus written on brown paper bags on each table.

Well, imagine no more, because at Daylesford’s Cliffy’s Emporium all of the above is just the beginning.

In a different part of town to Daylesford’s busy main café and shopping strip, Cliffy’s is where the locals hang. Thankfully I had some inside knowledge and was able to find refuge there on a recent wintery Saturday arvo.

We were lucky to get a table because clearly this joint is the type you could easily spend an hour or two. Set in an old house the front room is a jam-packed providore with plenty of goodies including a range of Mount Zero olives, local goat’s cheese, preserves from the Ruffy General Store and, my favourite, Murray River salt. There’s also a fridge full of take-home meals.

But it’s in a room to the side of the providore where the action (and the open fire) was. The space is classic country. As I’ve said, the furniture was classically mismatched, the cushions bright and the combo of the burgundy walls, the quirky artwork and the chilled music fitted the vibe perfectly.

The daily menu was written on a brown paper bag on each table and featured treats including a soup of the day ($8.50), charcuterie plate ($20), a daily cheese plate ($15) or local olives with sourdough ($9.50). But for me the seasonal bruschetta ($12) of fromage, roasted beetroot and cress was the pick of the offerings and I was on the money. Crusty bread, generous lashings of goat’s cheese and perfectly roasted beetroot was a divine snack.

For him, it was the lamb pie which after the first bite he declared it was “exactly like mum’s roast lamb, just wrapped in pastry”. The Ruffy General Store’s mint chutney to accompany the pie was so divine we even bought a jar from the providore on our way out. And it’s already been tested on lamb chops to similar success.

So, next time you’re in Daylesford steer clear of the main street and head to Cliffy’s. Trust me, you won’t want to leave.


- zoe