Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cafe Woodworks, Bungendore (NSW) by Bureaucrat

Oh boy, oh boy!  I'm so excited to share with you Cafe Woodworks in Bungendore, which is about 30kms east of Canberra.  It had been about seven years since I last ate at the Cafe Woodworks.  Prior to that, when I lived in Canberra, I'd eat there almost every few weeks.  In hindsight, I wished I had eaten there every weekend!

For those who are unfamiliar with Bungendore, it's a small town just outside Canberra, and it's usually a place where people stop off from their drive to/from Canberra, Sydney or the NSW south coast.  The cafe is attached to the Woodworks Gallery - an absolutely exquisite shop that's renowned for its Australian made wood art, sculpture, art, crafts and furniture.  I love their furniture - if (or rather, when) I win the lottery, I'd furnish my home with all the beautiful dining tables, bed frames, cabinets and anything else they have!  Until I win the lottery, I satisfy myself by buying smaller wooden trinkets from the gallery - small photo frames, bookmarks and vases, and the like.

In addition to loving the gallery, I love the cafe.  The Cafe Woodworks was a god-send to me when I was living in Canberra.  If you've ever lived/worked in Canberra for a while, you'll realise quite quickly that there aren't many true cafes (or at least, the cafes I'm used to in Melbourne).  They're few and far in between.  So when I came about the CW, I was ecstatic.  Delicious cafe-style food in a lovely environment, with friendly, happy staff.  And over the years, the food has been consistently good - which is a big plus for the CW.

As the Lawyer is also a fan of CW, he ordered his all time favourite dish from there - seafood fettucini.  What I love about the place is that they're generous with the seafood!  Despite being landlocked, CW always use fresh seafood in its dishes.  Lots of plump scallops, prawns, squid and fish.  The sauce was garlicky and with lots of fresh tomatoes, finished with a touch of herbed cream.  The pasta was perfectly al dente.  And, as always when we're here, the Lawyer practically licked his plate clean.

In the past, I tended to order the salt and pepper squid (perfect!), the steak sandwich (with lots of caramelised onions, yum!) or the beer battered and saffron fish and chips (more please!).  As it had been seven years since I last ate here, I thought I should at least try something else on the menu.  As such, I chose the zuchinni, carrot and feta fritters.  Three big, light and fluffy fritters, with a pleasing crispiness but it wasn't oily or greasy at all.  It came with sour cream, a really chunky and savoury relish and garden salad.  While the fritters were nice, I was a bit dismayed with the presence of cumin  - which, is my least favourite spice.  

While we were eating, we noticed that a few tables around us had ordered one of the specials - seafood chowder.  Weighing up that we don't know when we'll next visit Bungendore (and feeling greedy!) we ordered a serve to share.  The picture above shows half a serve of the soup.  The staff had kindly served the soup in two bowls for us.  I was surprised at how big the serve was.... initially when they had brought the two big bowls to our table, I thought they had got our order wrong.  It came with two big slices of crunchy, garlic bread.

The chowder was incredibly delicious.  We were so glad that we had ordered it!  Thick and velvety smooth.  It was creamy but not unhealthily so.  Deep, garlicky and oniony flavours.... we could drink this forever!  It had quite a lot of seafood.  In each bowl, there were two medium sized prawns, two scallops and a melange of fish.  Two thumbs up!

Despite being really full, and that we had to continue our car trip so that we'd reach Beechworth in Victoria by dinner time, I had to get a slice of cake to go.  It was several hours later that I ate the nice fat wedge of lime cheesecake, which survived the trip.  The pastry was subtle and not overly sweet - a nicely nondescript background for the luscious, creamy and twangy limeyness that was the cheesecake filling.  

The cappuccino was robust and deep in flavour.

Inside, it's a largish space that's flooded with sunlight.  All the furniture is made from wood...

...and the place is decorated with lots of artwork from the gallery.

Food - 10
Ambiance - 9
Service - 9
Price - 8

LOVE Cafe Woodworks!  If you're ever in the area, you must stop off and try it.  Great, fresh cafe food, set in a lovely surroundings.  I'm so happy that it's kept its standards after all these years - it's been consistently great.  After your meal, you can meander around the Gallery and the other shops in Bungendore.

Every now and then, I think to myself, it's only eight hours to drive to Bungendore.  Yes - the food and the place are that good that I would do a 16 hour return trip just to eat there.

Cafe Woodworks
22 Malbon Street
Bungendore  NSW 2621
Telephone: 02 6238 1688  

Woodworks Cafe on Urbanspoon

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