Somehow Dear Reader, I've become one of those people. You know those people, the kind that wears gym gear to run errands. I used to look at people wearing lycra and spandex and wonder where they had just been or where they were headed. Well, it turns out that I know exactly where they are headed, for a walk or some sort of physical activity in an effort to stave off any extra kilos from eating a big lunch. And yep that's me entirely nowadays...
Elly and I were headed towards Abbotsford, a suburb I hadn't visited in years, guided by lovely reader Heather's recommendation to try Prato Cafe Diner. Located on Great North Road amongst a residential area, it's run by barista Danny Acioli and Brock Coffey formerly of Rockpool Bar and Grill. Heather told us that the charming 1910 building called "The Pavilion" was on the former Nestle factory site and this building served as their canteen. Rose coloured framed photos showing the old building are displayed on one wall. It's a light, airy space with a few tables out the front, a large communal table and group tables inside but when the sun is shining, the back verandah opposite the tennis courts is the perfect sun dappled perch.
Service is very friendly and welcoming and we take a seat on the verandah. The menu makes things hard to decide and it's unassuming too-we later learn that they buy in a whole free range pig and do their own smoking and pork products from scratch yet there's just a small mention of house made products at the bottom of the menu. All of the sauces, butter, peanut butter and jams are also made in house and our waitress tells us that they don't even own a microwave (possibly a point for parents visiting who need bottles warmed). From the 7th of August they will be open for dinner from Thursday to Saturday.
Campos Chai $3.50
After much dithering we order drinks and food. The chai is a smooth, perfectly sweet and aromatic chai and I thoroughly enjoy it. And I had to talk myself down from ordering another one straight after.
Crumbed free range pork with apple coleslaw and dijon mustard $18
Elly's choice, the pork schnitzel may actually ruin schnitzels for some as it is a perfectly cooked number with the quality of the pork being apparent from the first bite. It's crumbed and fried but not greasy and topped with dill. Accompanying this is a little dab of dijon mustard and a fabulous apple coleslaw. My only complaint? I could have eaten a whole bowl of this coleslaw. And it's not really nice if you eat all of your friend's dish when they offer you a taste....
Lamb Burger with Beetroot, Smoked Yogurt, Eggplant Relish and Fries $18
There were two burgers on the menu-a regular cheeseburger or a lamb burger. I was steered towards this one by staff and I do appreciate that both burgers come with fries. The sesame seed topped roll is soft, the lamb mince patty has a good flavour without being muttony and it is served with beetroot, smoked yogurt, a spiced eggplant relish and a generous serve of home cut fries.
Brussel sprouts with speck and parmesan $8. Taken on a Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS lens, focal length 33 mm, ISO 100, 1/40s
Whenever Elly and I dine out, we have a little project where I get her to try things that are new to her. She's tried chicken's feet and preserved duck eggs so far and she mentions that she hasn't tried brussel sprouts before so we order this as a side. The speck is one of the house made pork products and comes as fat, flavoursome pieces on top of pan fried brussel sprouts and melted parmesan. They're well cooked and Elly declares herself an unabashed fan of brussel sprouts now.
Caramel Oat Slice $4.50
The home made selection of sweets is displayed near the counter. The cakes are on the left under glass domes and look tempting and are great value at $5.50 each but the smaller sweeties hold appeal as we're quite full from the savouries. The caramel oat slice is a flaky, crumbly slice with a generous centre of smooth, thick light coloured caramel and a sprinkling of biscuitty crumble on top. It's sizeable, buttery and sweet.
Pistachio cookie $3.50. We took a bite out of it, it didn't come like this ;)
The pistachio cookie is dense and nutty with real pistachios with a citrus highlight to it. It would be great with a coffee but of course exercise beckons and there's no rest for the wicked!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever wear exercise gear when you're out and about? And do you ever feel self conscious about wearing lycra or is that just me? And do you like brussel sprouts?
378 Great North Road, Abbotsford NSW 2046
Monday to Friday 7 am to 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 4 pm