A six-minute drive south of the sleepy seaside town of Dunsborough, set in the dense Australian bush, is Goanna Bush Café and Gallery. With its recycled timbers and rustic design, the café blends into its picturesque, natural surrounds.
“When would-be passersby stumble upon us and pop in, they feel like they’ve discovered a hidden gem,” says Gallery Manager Nicola Macklin. “We’re very much away from the hustle and bustle – it’s a very quiet, peaceful environment.”
Nicola says the fact that Goanna Bush Café is off the beaten track is part of what gives it its charm. “Being a little bit away from it all means we not only have a big space for the café with lots of outdoor tables, but we’ve also got the art gallery where we are lucky enough to be able to showcase the talent from local artists that people otherwise might not get to see,” she says.
The Goanna Café is co-owned by husband and wife Duncan and Alison Timmons and their business partner Tim Meikle. When the three of them took over the business seven years ago, their aim was to offer top quality food and coffee in a relaxed family atmosphere.
As part of their commitment to ensuring they serve the highest quality, the Goanna Bush Café staff recently went along to a Grinders Coffee training facility to learn more about their craft.
“I think it’s really important for everyone in the café to have a sound knowledge of each product and be able to speak confidently about it to the customers,” Nicola says. “Attending the workshop really lifted the element of expertise consistently across the team.”
Goanna Bush Café serves Grinders Coffee’s Fair Trade Organic blend on a Rancilio two-group machine. “The Organic blend has a rich sweetness with an aftertaste of fruit and chocolate,” Nicola says. “Buying an organic coffee from an Australian roaster is fitting to our business ethos.”
Chefs Duncan and Tim exercise the same practice when choosing ingredients for the kitchen, with a preference for using the best local suppliers.
Despite working together in a Michelin star-winning restaurant in London, the duo focuses on creating simple dishes at Goanna Bush Café. Nicola says the Indo Breakfast is a favourite among regulars. The dish is a combination of spiced coconut rice with a fried egg, spinach, and avocado, served with a basil pesto and sweet soy dressing.
The team launched Goanna Gourmet Catering in 2012, meaning the cafés fare is now being sampled at functions, weddings, and other events around the area. “It’s wonderful that more people are trying our chefs’ food and then often coming in for the whole dining experience as a result,” says Nicola. “The down-to-earth nature of the café means people happily hang out all day – you know you’ve found a great workplace when you’re coming in on your day off.”