— observations from the Blue Mountains Design Bureau —

Stockmarket Blues

Ever since the Stockmarket Cafe crash of 2011, I’ve been on the look out for new investment opportunities. That is, I need a new place I can reliably breakfast and lunch. I say reliably because an essential component of this arrangement requires the quality on offer, be consistent enough that I can return repeatedly and not be disappointed. I am nothing if not a creature of habit when it comes to food. Maybe this makes me a control freak with food issues but as someone who is a decent cook, I only want to pay for food which is better than I could make at home. Do not get me started on the many ways in which I have been disappointed by sub-standard nachos…

Which was never a problem at the Stockmarket Cafe because the closest Nic ever came to going south of the border involved an extremely tasty Mexican inspired black bean soup. I am not going to compound my sense of loss by detailing each of my other favourite menu items, just know that it’s been a long time between a half BLAT and chip combo.

Preferably, I’ll invest in an establishment that will be open seven days – I don’t want to have to remember that such and such isn’t open on such and such a day. The staff will be friendly but I’m not in the market for a new best friend. If they are also open for dinner, with or without children, then suffice to say I won’t be patronising the venue for long, as I’ll have died and gone to heaven.

In my desire to avoid a dead cat bounce, I’ve been attending seminars and holding interviews around town; it isn’t like I’m demanding instant results. So far, my research has taken up and down the Great Western Highway and the following is my report on the three strongest performers in a secular market. Please note, these bullish options are indicative purely of personal preference and are suggestions only. Check out the Cloudscape EAT page for more comprehensive reviews.

 lily pad A frame combo with view down the lane

Lily’s Pad: Great, generous breakfasts, which are available all day. I like the trio of poached egg on toast, muesli and fruit bread, with a side of bacon. Juices are made fresh to order, the coffee is Grinders and the staff’s barista skills are uniformly good. For lunch, you can’t go past the steak sandwich, though if you’re feeling like a lighter option is in order, there’s almost always three salads of the day, which are filing in just the right way. Most of the meals cater for the gluten free, and all the baked goods, jams and chutneys are made on the premises. The outdoor room is equipped with heaters and is marvellous for meals with children. High chairs, toys and a kids’ menu are available so for those looking for a child friendly environment, this is one of the Mountains’ best venues.

Located at 19 Grose St, Leura, but you can also enter from the Woolworths’ carpark. Lily’s Pad is open 7 days, from 8am to 5pm.

 interior exterior combo

The Elephant Bean: The menu is definitely more on the bean side than elephantine, but what it may lack in size and culinary choice, it more than makes up for with the town’s best coffee and scrumptious food done well. This is not the venue if you think breakfast means bacon and eggs but if you fancy homemade granola or spicy baked beans with chorizo, on Hominy’s famous sourdough, then you’ll feel more than satisfied. There are croissants and sweet treats from Hominy too, plus a superior range of toasted sambos. Highly coveted, the seats on the street provide superior people watching, which is an accompaniment I always enjoy with a meal.

Located at 159 Katoomba St, Katoomba, The Elephant Bean is open 7 days, from 7am to 4pm, with a 3pm finish on Sundays.

 interior exterior combo shot of brown's siding

Brown’s Siding: There aren’t many things in life that I can say with certainty, but a definite is that until recently Medlow Bath wasn’t known for its food. Luckily, all that’s changed with a one-stop shop that features a seasonal menu, lovely coffee, sweet treats, including orange and currant scones. And, the space doubles as a type of gourmet larder door – gift shop, so you can pick up provisions for the home, both delicious and decorative. The menu offers plenty of healthy choices. I’ve had to ban myself from the ham and cheese toasty, after a particularly indulgent approach to my last pregnancy and have moved onto pumpkin and pepita fritters instead. Just the mention of pepita seeds is enough to convince me of that my newest obsession is healthy. For breakfast, decisions are that much harder with perfect buttermilk pancakes on offer, smoked salmon on crunchy potato cakes with creme fraiche or the open breakfast sandwich (a poached egg with asparagus, prosciutto and gruyere on toasted sourdough) all fighting to fill my stomach. If Medlow Bath has never featured on your food radar, it’s time to readjust your repertoire and put Brown’s Siding on your list of places to eat.

Located at 1 Railway Parade, Medlow Bath, Brown’s Siding is on the other side of the Highway to the Hydro Majestic Hotel and is open 7 days, from 8am to 4.30pm.

All three of the suggestions above have a pleasing, rustic element to their food. There’s nothing too precious about being there and all specialise in making their patrons feel like welcome guests. The last is the most important quality to in any local eatery, cafe or restaurant and one that pays solid dividends in a volatile market. The food on offer can be as dependable as gold bullion but if the management aren’t invested in the calibre of their staff, then my shares are going elsewhere.

We’d love to hear about your favourite places to eat, so be sure to shoot us an email and let us know. And if you’re seeking fresh inspiration, check out the Cloudscape EAT page for more comprehensive reviews.


WORDS by Keris Macarthur IMAGES by Camille Walsh

2 comments on “Stockmarket Blues

  1. Great article guys!

    Love Lily’s Pad & Brown’s Siding, & have since checked out The Elephant Bean. Did you can get cactus nectar in your coffee there!

    • Cactus nectar is news to me! Must try it next time I visit the Elephant Bean, I’m intrigued. Thanks for reading the Cloudscape. KM

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