My husband’s office use to be up the street from this hidden gem of an eatery. I would initially meet him for an early lunch or late breakfast, depending on your fancy but now that he is on the other side of town, our visits are reduced but they are still memorable.
Over the past few years, I have enjoyed the birds cuisine but I must admit that the quality has improved with the latest management take-over . Today, the café is experiencing a rebirth under the helm of Leigh Trout and Kevin Mink. No joke, those are their real names and they might just open another set of restaurants using their surnames once their bird café is 100% under their wing.
So far so good. The café has truly evolved in the past six months. The furniture, made of crates with hessian pillows and ply-wood trestle tables, is still around but the space has taken on a new aura. The dining area now looks into parts of the kitchen where hanging curtains have been replaced with beautiful square hewed logs (reminiscent of my Canadian log home heritage).
No more hiding behind a curtain since we can now watch the chefs’ every move.
The food has also become more refined. My last two meals were noteworthy by being local, seasonal and full of flavor. On my initial visit, I was in the mood for some soup but felt a tinge of trepidation when I was told that it was an asparagus cream soup. My fear was unfounded and my bowl of velvety green, spring has sprung, heavenly liquid still remains etched in my taste buds.
I was not feeling 100% so I also ordered a ginger tea that was served with real slices of fresh ginger and local honey.
Paul, my lunch date, had a lovely layered chicken salad. Every part of the sandwich was fresh and the homemade chips were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. No pre-made, frozen chips in this establishment!
My return tasting, this past week, left me once again wishing for more. The fresh apple, celery and parsley juice concoction was an ideal start to what ended up being a green lunch. I ordered a green fetuccini, which arrived in a locally made bowl teaming with every possible green, seasonal vegetable, cooked to crunchy perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Drooling yet?
Due to a pressing engagement, getting out of town before the closing of the city for the opening of parliament, I had to skip the luscious desserts that I watch being served at neighboring tables. I will have to get back sooner than later to feast on my favorite part of every meal…sweets.
Just one last word for those who give a hoot about our precious earth. There is no plastic to be found. Leigh and Kevin do recycle their glass. They also buy lots of their vegetables from Steve the veggie man in Porterville.
Finally, this is a bonus for anyone wanting to share in the weekly veggie box scheme. Birds Café is a point of distribution for Harvest of Hope. Pop in, have a coffee and a scone and walk away with your pre-ordered veggie box. You might even be able to get a recipe out of these guys if you are stumped by something in your box.
Birds Cafe and Gourmet Eatery
127 Bree Street
021 426 2534