We stopped by the Berry Sourdough Cafe on the way back from a camping trip in Jervis Bay. After two days of drinking excessively (what else is there to do while you’re camping?) and eating nutrition-poor food such as sausages, chips and lollies, I was really hanging out for some fresh, tasty and healthy food. Well this little cafe definitely ticked the boxes.
I wasn’t exactly sure if I was walking into the right place at first, because it’s located on a suburban street and from the outside looks like someone’s barn-like house. Only the soft notes of baking dough wafting out onto the footpath told me I was at the right place. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a cosy, warm and inviting ambience – defined by the gloriously orange tulips, rich wooden tables and chairs, white brick walls, high ceilings with low hanging lights, magnificently framed art, and dark red brick floors. One thing in particular that caught my eye was a beautiful large painting on the far wall that looked like it was set during the renaissance period, with an open book and feather quill – it was absolutely stunning.
It was nearing 1pm on a Sunday and the place was bustling with people. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table, but it was a pleasant wait. We were finally seated on a long table out on the front porch by the neatly trimmed hedges and crawling vines.
The cafe is known for its artisan sourdough and pastries. So for entrée we ordered the ‘sourdough bread with a selection of dips’ and ‘fries with mustard aioli’. I ordered the ‘seared scallops cucumber and melon salad with pancetta vinaigrette’ along with a skinny cap. Tom ordered the sourdough pizza special of the day with chorizo and mozzarella, along with his usual long black.
You can tell the bread was baked fresh that day; it was warm, sweet and soft with a crisp, powdery crust (I managed to get the crust’s white powder all over my mouth and cheeks, so be careful). The dips consisted of hommus, baba ghanoush and a pesto dip. I didn’t care too much for the dips – there seemed like something was missing in all three of them – especially the pesto one. The hummus was probably the best of the three. In the end we ordered balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dip the bread in and that was much better. The fries were perfect and lightly golden – crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, with just the right amount of seasoning. The mustard aioli was probably one of the best I’ve had – it had a yellow tinge to it and was rich and creamy. Our coffees weren’t too bad either.
Once we were done with our entrées, it took a little while for the mains to come out and our entrée dishes and coffee cups weren’t cleared away, so that when the mains came there was a bit of awkward fumbling around. But my main made up for all of this. The scallop salad was amazing – fresh tasting and the scallops were seared to perfection, coming out a lovely golden brown colour. And they weren’t stingy on the scallops either. The melons were a mix of rockmelon, watermelon and honeydew and were a wonderfully sweet match to the scallops. If I had one complaint, it would be that I wanted more of the pancetta vinaigrette dressing.
For me, Tom’s sourdough pizza was too thick and doughy. Tom likes to eat a lot and even for him, it was a struggle to finish due to the thickness of the base. The chorizo was a nice smoked flavour and the tomato base rich in flavour, but it was overpowered by the sheer amount of bread.
We were too stuffed for desert, but decided to take something to go from the bakery because the pastries not only looked to-die-for, they smelt it too. We decided on the raspberry tart and about an hour later as we were making our way towards Sydney, I entered pure heaven as I took my first bite into it. It was crunchy on the crust yet soft and crumbly in the middle – ah-maz-ing. For the rest of the drive home I was regretting I didn’t buy more (and that I had to share it with Tom as I wanted it all to myself).