So as far as I can see design is a part of everything we do, say, look at and think. It is everything you encounter through out your day, and eating is a big part of the day. I was brought up by a “foodie” and good food in a good space has become as important to me as the nurturance I need from the food to continue my existence. Mind you this is spoken by a women who has literally never been able to stick to a diet, ever.
I’m currently sitting in a very groovy seaside town in Victoria called Barwon Heads. Famous for being part of the set of the popular ABC “Sea Change” series Barwon Heads is a up market gem which has seen its property prices double and triple in the last five years. I mean, it is just so nice. Even in winter, right now when we are looking at 12 degrees, rain and wind. This town has a number of great shops, cafes and restaurants to hunker down in and chill out. I will admit that I am a little bias about this place (I grew up 20 minuets away by car), but in the last 5 years it has really out done itself when it comes to food!
I am most impressed by a little shop called “Annie’s Provedore & Produce Store- Natural, Fresh, Local”. This place ticks all the boxes. Firstly the coffee is great, consistently good. Not bitter, not small, and no sign of burnt milk, just really smooth good coffee in a great mug. Then there is the menu. It is beautifully understated, and is changed by the seasons. Lashings of Roast vegetables in the Beef Lasagne, Chicken & Feta burger in Turkish bread, and beautiful Polenta Pizza with different toppings depending on the produce for the day. Not to mention the fact that you can order yourself a Regional Produce Plate and a glass of wine to while away the afternoon. That's not the best though, Annie’s serves breakfast until 3pm everyday (with free range eggs!) The breakfast menu is as complete and diverse as the lunch menu and gives you the basics with a twist. The Avocado on Sourdough topped with Meredith goats cheese is so simple and mouth watering you could go back for seconds if you weren’t already going back for the French Toast and Maple syrup.
It is so simple and so beautifully presented that you think, “why haven’t I thought of that, I could do that at home!” BUT if you were to do it at home you’d miss the essence of the place. Recently renovated to add more space for seating, Annie’s is also a visual delight. This is where the design comes in and seals the deal. Big and small wooden tables running long ways invite you to sit in groups and meet the locals if that's what you wish. The stools and chairs all slightly different are all warm honey toned woods with the occasional ‘white painted rescued’ chair from a farm house kitchen. From the roof hangs garlic and boxes which once, many decades ago lovingly transported fresh foods and wines. There are also the weaved baskets and lengths of paper ribbon used to tie gifts in paper. Even the floor is beautiful! Rock concrete which has been laid and then rubbed back to a fine semi gloss smooth surface. The cool grey and blue of the floor plays beautifully off all the warm provincial wood tones. There are small well placed blackboards everywhere framed again in wood, which are practical, smart and crafty. I haven’t even started on the displays of produce! Stainless steel is limited but used as an accent to the farm kitchen vibes, beautifully displaying the cheese, local and from far a field. The display is inviting and smart, it looks like the open kitchen larder my mum dreams of, where every ingredient is placed in order of its use.
There is a warmth here that is not only about the lovingly created menu and food, but from the staff who are genuinely happy to be at work. The walls are lined with produce you can buy for home, Macedon sea salt and quince past to name two, not to mention the local beer, which is really VERY good. I really have fallen for this place. It is inspiring to sit here and watch this town go by with all its beautiful well groomed people and to eat and drink. I think its time for coffee number three and I’ve just spotted a Blackberry Shiraz homemade jam in the middle of the communal table I’m at, so I think its time to sign off and order the local Sourdough toast. Oh it is nice to be by the seaside.