In Short: Country hospitality, warm and inviting, Allpress coffee, Brassiere bread, fresh salads.
I have been travelling up and down the Federal Highway for the past 25 years, and have always driven past the Collector turnoff. You see, if you’re heading to Sydney, Collector is just 45 minutes into the journey from Canberra so it’s too soon to stop, and if you on the way down from Sydney, it’s just so close that you would just continue on that last little bit to Canberra. But it was the little sign to ‘Some Cafe’ placed on the Federal Highway on the last leg of our trip to Canberra, that piqued our curiosity, and drew us in for our first visit into Collector. The town’s history dates back to the 1820s and was the scene of a shootout between bushrangers and the police in the 1860s.
Today, Collector is surrounded by farming communities and a burgeoning wine industry. Some Cafe is housed in the old Collector General Store and Inn which dates back to 1829. On a warm spring day, you’ll find tables outside, but also there is ample seating indoors to escape the icy winter mornings that are common from May through to September. There’s a real country cottage theme to the cafe and fits in perfectly with the surrounds.
After 3 hours of driving, I can’t wait to launch into my pretty looking flat white. The coffee ticks all the boxes. It’s warming, with the robust flavours of the coffee nicely coming through the well poured and textured milk. Some Cafe uses Allpress coffee from Sydney and I have been a fan of their bolder flavours. There’s a gentle froth that gives a nice body to the coffee. A quality flat white that would stand up to any flat white that is served in the nation’s capital just 50 kilometres down the road.
Mavis is going all out with a bit of a weekend treat with the iced coffee. It is served in a tall glass with a nice, tanned-coloured coffee topped with a generous serve of vanilla ice cream. As she sneaks off to peruse the Shiraz and Chardonnays at Collector Wines next door, I took in a couple sips. The drink is creamy and sweet, and just a little naughty. I love how the coffee strength isn’t too diminished by the ice cream and milk. I can imagine during summer, that this drink would be a hit and rolling off the counter at a rate of knots. Definitely one of the better iced coffees I have had.
Some Cafe is a relaxed place to chill out after being confined to the car for hours. It’s the kind of cafe where you can place your order, and then wander in and browse the local produce which includes locally sourced chutney, honey, and sauces. I also loved the attractive ceramics on display, which are a local product of the region. You can also scamper next door to do a spot of wine tasting or, simply just relax at the tables outside and watch a magpie steadfastly protect its nest by swooping the passing cyclists. These are the places I love, because you don’t feel you’re rushed, and you can really enjoy the company you’re with, while taking in the surrounds.
Our food arrives and I’ve chosen the salad of the day, the zucchini and almond salad. Perfectly grilled zucchini slices are combined with toasted almonds, pearl barley, and whipped feta. It’s perfectly sized with the pearl barley being soft with a nice structure. There’s a creamy, tangy hit from the feta, with texture from the almonds and their distinct, nutty flavour and the dill provides a herbaceous infusion. It’s a well-rounded salad that sates the appetite, yet is still light and super tasty.
Our second choice is the ham, tomato and cheese toastie. It’s an attractive toastie with the glistening red of the tomato, and the pickles on the side are begging to be included in the sandwich. I love the thick cut ham with the tomato doing it’s job of cutting through the richness of the meat. The pickles are just the perfect partner to a hot, cheesy sandwich. We’re also huge fans of the Brasserie Bread sourdough, and Some Cafe have theirs delivered daily for their toast and sandwiches.
You would know if you’re a long time reader of our blog, there will invariably be a sweet treat that makes it into our review! So we finish up with a slice of berry custard cake. It’s a luscious offering with spongy custard, that is mildly sweet, and the sharpness of the berries balancing out the flavours. I particularly loved the intensity of fruity flavours coming through from the raspberry. It’s a delightful conclusion to our meal.
Some Cafe is a bright and fresh inclusion on that well driven arterial that connects Canberra to the Hume Highway. With an emphasis on seasonal produce, and fostering a paddock-to-plate philosophy, Canberrans and Sydneysiders alike should make time to stop in at Collector and Some Cafe.