Piggery Café – Sherbrooke, Melbourne

Owned by Shannon Bennet (of Vue de Monde), this countryesque venue is still a work in progress but the essence is there. IMG_2038

The café is all charm and no pretention, the fusion of farmhouse character with industrial chic and a splash of European sophistication hinting at the menu. It’s extensive, but not expensive. The menu of the week, offering two courses for $39 is great value, although you could lunch very well with a sausage and brioche roll or ham hock croquet Madame for half the price.

IMG_2039I’m all set for the lobster roll … until I get a whiff of the smoky barbeque wafting in on a light breeze. I start with the prawn cocktail – sizeable, perfectly succulent, smoky and slightly sweet prawns with a fiery little sauce.

The real surprise here is the bed of rocket, itself chargrilled, giving it a slightly caramelised flavour and toning down its pepperiness. I can’t wait to try this at our next barbeque.

IMG_2041It’s a close call between the crumbed quail and the Asian flavoured lamb salad for mains, but intrigued by the idea of chargrilled mango and lightly pickled Nashi pear, I opt for the lamb. If you don’t know what Umami is, this is the dish for you.

The Piggery’s lamb hails from Tasmania’s Flinders Island and the tender flavour of the meat gives up its diet of saltbush and milk. I thought the saltiness would have done well with a slightly more acerbic accompaniment and wouldn’t have missed a little heat, but that’s just me.

No doubt I’ll return – for the beautifully scenic drive, the quail, anything with truffles when they get them going and another cup of their sublimely aromatic coffee.