While living in Brisbane has an advantage of connectedness with the rest of the major capital cities of the East Coast, one thing it naturally lacks is woeful cold isolation. I suppose you’d have to travel to parts on the NSW coast to be bequeathed such solemnity and Tassie a true expression of that.
In the Great Southern of WA by contrast, such isolation is effortless, and feeling lost there, sanguine.
I’ve waxed on more than the Karate Kid about Great Southern wines, but what are the food options in cold isolation?
Albany is the regional centre for the Great Southern region and there you can find a generous small bar that shouldn’t be embarrassingly far from Perth (or Melbourne for that matter). You’ll also find a typically stubborn little French eatery that I wished was closer to Brissie. Lavender Cottage.
Opening for lunch service Monday – Friday and their only dinner (by booking four weeks in advance) on Friday night, the approach to service and lifestyle is respected in the region.
They conduct a lunch menu that has a laser focus on regional produce of the highest order, cooked in within the cottage’s cute kitchen (which you have to walk through to get to the restrooms). We chose a combination from the tapas-inspired menu ranging from escargot to fried Albany sardines, all executed with precious accuracy and delivered by tempered smiles.
As this restaurant is actually a renovated cottage, the rooms are small and fit nicely in the mould of provincial surroundings. When the wind is scouring Princess Royal Harbour there is a nourishing comfort being coddled next to a potbelly stove with a superlative Raspberry and vanilla crème brûlée. Like Amélie, there is something optimistically satisfying about splintering the carapace of perfectly scorched pudding.
It’s also BYO, so you can cellar-dive for something that’ll match the French fare, or, call into one of the Great Southern cellar door wineries before. And if you chance upon something else in the region, which is BYO that could best Lavender Cottage, I’ll shout you a bottle of wine.