When I was in primary school, I loved the quirky Split Enz song, “Six Months in a Leaky Boat”. Although I had no idea what I was singing, over the years through my love for pub trivia, the one particular lyric I do remember is “the tyranny of distance, didn’t stop the cavalier”. I have no idea whether the inspiration for the name of this café came from this song, or from the famous book on Australia’s history, but not even the threat of heavy rain was going to stop me from walking the entire length of Chapel Street to check it out.
A petrol station in a former life, Tyranny of Distance is located in Union Street, around the corner from Chapel Street in Windsor. Their mission is to provide great, tasty food with all products in their dishes, made in-house and from scratch.
Tyranny of Distance is laid back and unpretentious, with eclectic collections of tables and chair settings and furniture. There’s a fabulous homage to the previous business, with several old gas bottles stacked upon one another to create a unique and colourful artwork, from which four gas heaters provide heat for the dining area that used to be the garage.
The service is also somewhat relaxed. I saw one table as I arrived, stand up and get their own menus and try to attract someone’s attention to place their coffee order. I had been seated for five minutes before I was served, but from that moment on, the service was friendly and attentive.
The menu has a particular focus on egg dishes with offerings of baked eggs, scrambled eggs, omelette, herb eggs and that’s before you get to another sub-section underneath, with the heading of “eggs”. There are also a number of gluten-free specialities, including French toast, bircher muesli and “tyranny stacks” of differing compositions.
I liked the sound of the first stack which consisted of house cured salmon, beetroot relish, horseradish romesco, spinach, two potato rostis and two poached eggs and put in my request for breakfast.
The first thing I noticed when my dish was served was the wonderful smell of fresh dill wafting up to greet me and that sent my appetite into overdrive.
I was pleasantly surprised at how thick the fillets of cured salmon were on top of the rosti as I began demolish my stack. The thick texture and rich flavour of the fish helped balanced the two dense rostis, which consisted of coarsely grated cooked potato, fried to a rich golden brown colour, and with a nice crispy crunch on the outside. The eggs were hard poached, just as I had requested when ordering and served with fresh dill. All in all, the quantities of the salmon, eggs and potato in the dish created a substantial meal.
The beetroot relish was served with one rosti, underneath the salmon, while the horseradish romesco was served with the second rosti. The romesco was creamy white in colour and had a smooth texture but I honestly couldn’t detect any horseradish in the mixture. Similarly, the beetroot was moist but its distinctive flavour and sweetness seemed to be missing. Despite this, breakfast was still delicious and extremely filling. Feeling satisfied and having enjoyed my breakfast, I was very thankful for the long walk back home.