Bottega Cafe and Deli, Armidale NSW.
January 15, 2011 § 13 Comments
I have a secret for you! But please don’t tell too many people, it’s already a struggle to find a seat after 10am. My secret is called Bottega.
‘Bottega’ means atelier, shop, artists workroom, and this little cafe/deli in the heart of New England is certainly a space for stylish tastes.
Established 3 years ago by Phil and Donella Tutt (who you might remember from the Elephant Bean cafe in Katoomba or at Solitary Kiosk in Leura), Bottega brought to the town of Armidale the ‘casual eatery’, showcasing regional produce and local flair. While the eatery was sold in early December 2010, it hasn’t skipped a beat. From the kitchen you can still expect simple and elegant meals based around regional produce, with honey from Tenterfield, organic Pasture Perfect Pork from Ashford, and lamb and beef from the properties just outside town. When rainbow trout is on the menu it will have been sourced from nearby Arc-en-Ciel at Hanging Rock. At Bottega, the dream of Paddock-To-Plate is coming true.
I’ve come back home to Armidale for a few days, to catch up with the family before NB and I choof-off to America. The area has always been known for good land, which means good meat, cheese, potatoes, berries and fantastic cool-climate wines, but seeing it all exhibited together on the one menu – well I was both impressed and proud of my little town!
This morning’s brunch was in the delightful company of The Duck and Major General CFC – Saturday morning regulars of the cafe. We took a seat at the back of the room, which is light and airy thanks to two walls of windows facing the tree lined street. Within moments Major General CFC had conducted a nifty eyebrow conversation with our friendly barista Steve, which basically said we’ll have the usual (extra extra extra hot lattes with extra hot milk on the side). Impressive, I know! The three of us like to think of ourselves as the EXTRA HOT LATTE Muskateers, yet rarely do our journeys end in really hot milk. I didn’t believe The Duck when she said that Steve is a magician on the machine, but oh oh oh was she right! The milk was hot, not burnt! The grind was strong, not bitter! The crema was rich, not frothy! I am considering offering this man a space in my suitcase!!
After our cafe au lait we ordered breakfast. The menu is succinct but quality, with options for sweet or savory tastebuds. Perhaps you’ll order scrambled eggs with fresh basil, tomato and prosciutto, sourdough with mushrooms and sauteed spinach or rich fruit toast with ricotta and Hanks Jam. Lunch is a number of different toasted paninos as well as a tempting daily blackboard special. The Duck and Major both stayed true to form with poached eggs, prosciutto and toast, while I savoured the most delicious slow baked borlotti beans that I have ever eaten, must I really share?!?!
The Major and I both have a sweet tooth that is hard to tame so we couldn’t help but order one of the giant homemade chocolate brownies ($7), with two scoops of icecream! If chocolate at 10am is too intense you might like to try the polenta, lemon and almond cake, a slice of apple and pear torte or a piece of the baklava ($4.50).
On your way out, pick up some goodies to take home from the selection of relishes and jams, Doodles Creek dressing, vinegars, cheeses, cured meats, Morpeth sourdough and pannetone, just to mention a few.
So tell me Blushers, what’s your local secret?!