Wodonga again? Yes, surprisingly I’m back in the Border after only two weeks away so that I could see the legendary Neil Finn and Paul Kelly perform at “A Day on the Green” at All Saints Estate. I have this rule that if an artist has taken the trouble to visit regional areas, then I’ll try my hardest to support their efforts and pave the way for other artists and theatre companies to come to the Albury-Wodonga region. So my self-imposed quest to find the Border’s best breakfast continues.
I wanted to catch up with a friend who was going to the Farmer’s Market so I thought about which cafes were in the vicinity and chose La Maison Cafe. If I think about the locality of this cafe, almost 250 metres away from the New South Wales boundary, it literally is “breakfast on the Border”.
La Maison Cafe has had numerous guises and owners over the past decade. It is located in an old pioneer style building in the Gateway Island precinct, with a rustic, wooden cottage feel. The breakfast menu is varied with plenty of options, including a delicious sounding French toast offering, but I needed to suffer for my art and try something new, so I chose the House Specialty.
Looking around the cafe and seeing very young male staff with casual attire and a laid back attitude, I started to have reservations about what would be served. I need not have worried or mentally entertained any similarities to metropolitan cafes; my breakfast was superbly presented and was almost perfection on a plate.
Two well-stacked mounds on the plate with each layer visible to the eye. I like to have my eggs poached hard, and they were cooked to my liking with just enough hollandaise sauce added to the dish. Although my expectations weren’t all that high to begin with, I was anticipating sliced smoked salmon from a packet and was extremely surprised that it was a smoked salmon fillet that flaked away nicely. Although cooked well, the wilted spinach had a bright green vitality and all these elements were perfectly complimented with two homemade potato rosti. The potato was coarsely grated and just cooked with a small element of crunch, seasoned with pepper and a hint of lemon. I couldn’t help thinking of my Baba (Grandmother) and the similarity between her own potato cakes that she made when I was growing up.
After finishing an excellent breakfast, it felt good to be reminded that great food isn’t dependent on decor. Bon appetite!