Long black, ham and egg roll and a chocolate brownie for dessert.
I’ll cut right to the chase. If you are looking for excellent, well-priced food and coffee in the Southern Highlands, do yourself a favour and get over to 2 Park Road, The Corner Store in Bowral and place the aforementioned order. Trust me, they have got you covered.
Tucked away from the main drag in Bowral, this cafe is a hit with the locals and I make no hesitation in saying that Nick serves THE BEST COFFEE in town. 2 Park Road serves a simple breakfast and lunch menu and a range of delicious house-made treats to tuck into with your coffee. People flock here also for their freshly-carved leg ham and house-made corned beef, which is available for purchase by weight. The cafe doubles as a general store where you can find all your essentials (Southern Rise bread, local eggs, milk, magazines and even nappies!) and a great range of locally produced preserves and take-home meals.
The great news is that 2 Park Road is now operating a take-away coffee and snack window on Sunday mornings which means that we can FINALLY get decent coffee all weekend!
Where: 2 Park Road, Bowral, 2576. Opposite Bowral High/Bowral Tennis Courts.
When: Monday – Friday 7:30am – 5:00pm, Saturdays 8:00 – 3:00pm, Sundays (Coffee window only) 9:00am – 11:00am.
Easter is a special time of year for so many reasons, not least for the abundance of delicious treats that tend to accompany the occasion – including my favourite the Hot Cross Bun.
Knowing the Southern Highlands has loads of great bakeries and patisseries, I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to munch my way through some stellar buns in hunt of the region’s best. It was a tough sampling process…(HAH, as if!) but I managed to narrow it down to the top 4:
1. FLEUR DE LYS | MOSS VALE
Not necessarily the prettiest, but most definitely the yummiest! Satisfyingly dense and sweet, with a pleasant fruit mix of currants and raisins. Best feature – the rich custard cross! Totally blows the old flour and water paste right out of the water. YUM. $2.50 a pop.
Where:254-262 Argyle Street, Moss Vale
When: Opening hours a little vague..just pop on by and try your luck!
2. FLOUR WATER SALT | BOWRAL
Dark and fruit toast-ish, not too sweet, and best enjoyed warmed just enough to smell the spice and served with lashings of butter. This plump-looking bun has the added bonus of being crafted from organic spelt flour. Available in classic fruit or decadent dark chocolate. $3- a pop.
Where: 374 Bong Bong Street, Bowral
When: 8am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday
3. GUMNUT PATISSERIE | BERRIMA
More of a sweet brioche than a bun – but hey, ain’t no one saying no to brioche! Fluffy crosses, very lightly fruit filled and covered in a sticky glaze. These buns ought to be shared, as they verge on the sickly sweet side of the pastry spectrum. $2.50 a pop.
Where: Shop 1, Post Office Corner, Hume Highway, Berrima
When: Open 7 days 9am – 5pm
4. SOUTHERN RISE | ROBERTSON
Simple and more classic, this bun is perfect for kids, or for those who prefer something a little more plain. At $1.50 a bun, you can’t really go wrong! Available in choc or fruit.
Where: 34 Hoddle Street, Robertson
When: Monday – Saturday 5am – 5pm
Now go forth and eat some buns, you can thank me later!
I’ve never been to Japan so I won’t claim to know what I’m talking about, but I will say that Akira Sushi in Bowral makes some damn tasty Japanese food. I got the tip off about this little gem when some dear friends of mine mentioned they were going out to eat some delicious sushi (in the Highlands? Say whaat?). I promptly invited myself along to third wheel their date night and I have no regrets.The takeaway selection is great if you’re on the run, but I would recommend eating in and having yourself a feast among the cute origami paper styled wallpaper.
The sushi rolls are enormous and made fresh to order (like seriously, you can share these). The ramen and broths are piping hot and hearty and none of that all-noodle-no-goodstuff kind of nonsense from food courts. And if it’s just too difficult to decide, have yourself a Bento box! If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of their 2:30pm staff meal and wonder why they don’t put THAT on the menu too. Go for gyoza udon or the grilled salmon roll.
Where: Shop 6, 328 Bong Bong Street, Bowral (behind Gloria Jeans Coffee).
When: Monday – Saturday 10:30am – 9:00pm, Sunday 10:30am – 6:00pm.
Markets like these are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Every second Saturday of the month the grounds of Bowral Public School are inundated with people, pets, plants and produce and the playground is transformed into a bustling marketplace. These are by far the best attended markets in the district, both in terms of vendors and the general public. It’s a real comfort to see such gusto in the community’s support for something like this.
The atmosphere is super relaxed and the selection of stalls feels like a perfect mix between Glebe and Paddington markets in Sydney…with less beards. Here can be found good coffee, cute clothes, weird seedling varieties, colourful fresh flowers, organic vegetables, damn good pho, talented buskers, tulip bulbs, turkish towels, foie gras…and the list goes on! You may even catch a glimpse of Geoff Jansz the man himself!
If you can time your visit to the Highlands with these markets, your weekend will be all the better for it I promise you. Go for a caramel shortbread from City Biscuits, spuds from Highland Gourmet Potatoes, and – if your budget allows it – leather ware from the cute boys at Paterson and Salisbury.
Where: Bowral Public School, Bendooley Street, Bowral
When: Every second Saturday of the month, 8am – 1pm
It’s reassuring to discover smalltown charms that have not yet been lost as time passes by and the little guy gets weaker. The Exeter General Store is a strapping example. Housing a general store, a café, a community notice board and the local post office, this place is really the hub of the town and is a great reason to visit Exeter (population approx. 400). Plus the drive out here is seriously beautiful!
A small selection of local produce is available, including Robbo potatoes and garlic, as well as papers, magazines, cute cards and various other stylish pantry essentials. The café provides a tasty selection of fat sandwiches, chunky pies and quiches, cakes, scones and tea and coffee. Gluten free options are available. Go for peach tea, a savoury pie or a serving of scones and marvel at the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books to peruse at your leisure.
When: Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:30pm, Saturday-Sunday 8:00am-4:30pm
Where: 1 Exeter Rd, Exeter
There is no shortage of bakeries in the Highlands so let me narrow down your quest for baked goods and direct you straight towards Flour, Water, Salt in Bowral. With outlets also in Milton and Berry, this pokey little bubble of orange on the main drag of town is bursting with energy. It’s worth checking out even just to boost your feel-good levels if you are a bit dusty first thing in the morning, though I highly doubt you’ll leave empty-handed.
As the name of the business suggests, this bakery keeps things simple. They do a few things and they do these things well. A handful of sweet treats, sandwiches and bread loaves, and a small collection of bubbly drinks and bottled preserves to take home. Oh, and they do coffee, of course. It’s all delicious, and the staff are all so sweet you just want to take them home in your pocket. Go for Dutch speculaas, fig and walnut loaf or an egg and prosciutto tart.
When: Tuesday – Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm.
Where: 374 Bong Bong St, Bowral