28 October 2016
BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW AT PAVILION CAFE, WARRNAMBOOLby CINTIA GONZALEZ-PELL
It is not every day that we see horses on a beach. A stunning sight, one that cannot be more typical for a weekend getaway on the Great Ocean Road. If you travel to this region you will see many unusual sights, go home with many unforgettable impressions.
The stunning beauty of the crumbling limestone cliffs. The raw untamed nature of the south Australian coast. Native animals frolicking in their natural surroundings. Historic villages that tell stories of shipwrecks and early pioneers, the warmth of a handshake you receive from the friendly locals.
We are in Warrnambool, a pretty weekend destination at the end of the Great Ocean Road. It is our last morning in this popular weekend destination, and we want to have one last memorable experience which we can take with us before we head back to Melbourne. To keep us going on our long drive home along the scenic route we need a hearty meal and some strong aromatic coffees.
For us, breakfasts and brunches are a big thing. It is a luxurious pleasure to sit down with the family and actually spend meaningful time together over a meal. Mornings are pure. It’s a fresh start every day, before the kids get on our nerves, before we feel the tiredness of a full day’s adventure weigh down on us. The light of the rising sun, the way it touches us and wakens us up, is special. We are not the ones for rushed affairs, we give our morning meal the attention it deserves. After all, we are on holidays.
Our itinerary leads us to a special place for our breakfast, the Pavilion Café. It couldn’t be situated in a better place in Warrnambool. Like a pearl in a shell it sits right at the beginning of the breakwater, a two-storey building with views to all sides from its upper storey windows and deck. To one side we can see the mouth of the Merri River with Merri and Middle Islands, home of the protected penguins. To the other side there is the beach and the breakwater, this morning bathed in the rays of the golden morning sun.
It is still spring in Warrnambool when we visit. One of those clear, frosty mornings where the wind is sharp and biting, the air fresh and clear. The Pavilion fits perfectly in this coastal setting. The windows are big and allow panoramic views no matter what season. In summer, a meal or drinks on the deck which is overlooking the beach must be a special treat.
We are greeted warmly by the staff and sit down for breakfast. The breakfast menu is a pleasant surprise. We find the usual staple foods, of course, such as bacon and eggs, eggs benedict, smashed avo with goat cheese on toast, and pancakes. You can order a full English style breakfast with eggs, sausage, spinach, tomato. But there is so much more to explore.
Quinoa, for example, with black chia and banana bircher, house-made coconut yoghurt, mixed nuts and blueberries sounds like a match made in heaven.
A spring breakfast salad – who would have thought? with seasonal greens, kale, buckwheat, toasted quinoa, seeds, pesto, lemon and a poached egg.
Or maybe a beetroot and gin cured ocean trout on mixed leaves and pickled radish, with poached eggs, horseradish crème fraîche and toasted brioche. Dishes that are innovative, creative and definitely not what you would expect from a weekend getaway destination like Warrnambool.
In the end I opt for the corn fritters, and I am extremely happy with my choice. The dish comes with smashed avocado (cannot do without, sorry!) on toasted brioche, crispy bacon, poached eggs, crème fraîche and a beautiful, exotic spicy salsa which in itself makes this dish an absolute winner. This is not a breakfast that you want to gulp down hastily. This is a dish that invites you to just sit back, relax and enjoy the views.
And the café allows you to do that. There is no rush here, no small tables, not the discomfort of other patrons squeezing through to reach their table. We feel we have our own little first-row space.
Granted, eating at this café comes with a price tag. It’s not the place where you would want to sip your daily latte macchiato. But for those special occasions, those memorable family vacations, those times when you seek a bit of romance and beauty in your life, it is the perfect venue.
In the end we leave satisfied and well prepared for our trip home. Just like so many other things we encountered and discovered in Warrnambool and along the Great Ocean Road, Pavilion Café has a lasting impression on us. We hope to return one day, maybe to test their lunch menu or for some cool drinks with a prime view of the coast and the setting sun.
Pavilion Café. 50 Viaduct Road, Warrnambool. http://www.pavilion.net.au