It’s not every day we see race horses training at a beach. But, if you have an early breakfast at The Pavilion Cafe in Warrnambool, you’ll see these beautiful creatures in action.
From the two storey building you’ll also overlook the bustling promenade, the Lady Bay and the breakwater with its moored boats.
As a family, we were looking for a hearty breakfast and a good coffee before we made our way home after a weekend touring the Great Ocean Road region.
By Cintia Gonzalez-Pell
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.
The two-story cafe has views to all sides from its upper storey windows and deck. To one side you 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. The morning we went it was bathed in the rays of the golden morning sun.
We were greeted warmly by the staff and seated. The breakfast menu was a pleasant surprise. We found 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 try.
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 crÃ¨me fraÃ®che 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 opted for the corn fritters, and I was extremely happy with my choice. The dish came with smashed avocado (cannot do without, sorry!) on toasted brioche, crispy bacon, poached eggs, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che and a beautiful, exotic spicy salsa which in itself made 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 cafe 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 cafe 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.
We left satisfied. Just like so many other things we encountered and discovered in Warrnambool and along the Great Ocean Road, the Pavilion Cafe 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.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.