Its been a long time since I’ve hung out in Dulwich Hill, an area I spent a lot of time in during my early uni days. So on a lazy Friday afternoon of the 4-day Easter weekend, we head out on the recommendation of one of our Coco and Vine followers, to try out The General Eatery and Supplies. As we pull up out front, I am surprised at the change to this small inner-west suburb of Sydney that seems to be having a renaissance of sorts. What was once dodgy-looking take-away shops and basic local services such as dry cleaners, corner stores and butcheries, has given way to a café and foodie destination.
But, it’s The General that certainly stands out. Once an old butchery, the owners Dave Moran (ex-Baron) and Josh McPhee (ex-Jonah’s) have artistically converted this into an industrial-chic space. With a background like these two, I can’t wait to get my hands on the menu and see what they’ve created in their first venture together. And what luck we are in – today is the first day of their new menu!
It’s around 2.30pm, a very late lunch indeed, and we’re starving! There are so many great things on the menu, it is really hard to choose, so I go to my comfort zone and look at what’s on the coffee list. My eye is drawn to the Coffee and Tonic and anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a G&T (that’s Gin and Tonic) kind-of-girl, so how could I resist?! Across the table, fellow Coco and Viner, Steve, orders a Chai Latte – he’s always on the hunt for a good one.
As we are still deliberating on food, the Coffee and Tonic arrives, and I am momentarily distracted as I am dying to know what this flavour combination will taste like. This is a cold brew, of Single Origin Roasters beans, served with tonic water and a slice of lemon. And, I can tell you that I didn’t miss the alcohol that usually accompanies this drink…well, kind of…I did have the fleeting thought that a shot of it would make a great cocktail (can’t help myself!). It’s a fantastic twist to the latest trend of cold brews, and the combination is fresh, robust and who would have thought that coffee would be the hot, new mistress to the long marriage between gin and tonic?
Steve’s gets stuck into the Chai Latte and between indulgent sips, I hear him comment that it’s light and frothy with the right balance of sweetness and subtle spice. A great way to start the afternoon, before placing our order.
We’ve decided on food, and it seems we’ve chosen well. I thought the only thing to match my new non-alcoholic drink, was the Healthy Start. I know, I know it’s lunch time but, I’m on holidays! It lives up to the expectations I had reading the ingredients, and as I make my way around the plate trying each one, I am loving the taste sensations in my mouth. The cauliflower has a peppery spice with a hint of chilli, and, the quinoa and kale mix blended with pepitas and sunflower seeds is perfectly nutty, as it is crunchy. The butternut squash is warm with a hint of spice and it’s all matched with the freshness of a boiled egg and cherry tomatoes. Don’t be fooled by all the ‘vegetarian’ ingredients – this is a filling dish! Don’t forget the lemon – squeeze away with abandon, as it adds a great tang.
Now forget all those painful childhood memories of bland, overdone brussel sprouts – you didn’t have The General in your kitchen! Served in a stainless steel dish, the Burnt Brussels and Fennel Salad is outstanding. Uncomplicated, earthy flavours are the base of this meal – leaves of radicchio are showered in lentils and the charred brussel sprouts add crunch and smokiness. Delicately shaved fennel, with generous dashes of parsley and mint, give freshness and, it is perfectly dressed in a citrus, sweet vinegar dressing that is the right balance to this wholesome selection.
Sitting back listening to the great soul, rhythm and blues playing in the background, I decide to order a cappuccino. What? It’s the holidays and I can go bouncing off the walls late into the night…I don’t have to go to work tomorrow! Just as the coffee and tonic paid homage to the humble bean, this coffee is strong and bold – no double shots needed here. Its creamy, smooth layer gives way to an expert brew and I am fully satisfied.
So what can I say? Thank you Ms Ruby Keller for making this recommendation and all hail The General – the atmosphere, food and coffee was just sensational. Knowing you are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner is the perfect way to start the weekend…