Bad JK – it was about six months ago I got to eat a lot of food in this great country town milk bar/ cafe/ restaurant all-rounder in Stroud, NSW. Good friend Brooke, her munchkins and your’s truly headed to the Hunter Valley are for a weekend of fun, wine and food. We had a ball at the Hunter all day on Saturday picking grapes and indulging in wine. Brooke’s old nanny (now good friend), Corinne, met us in the morning and took the kids and then drove for us so we could drink. On the Saturday night we went back to Corinne’s town to stay the night and try the delights from her mum’s eatery, LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE.
Stroud is a small country town one hour north of Newcastle. It is part of the Great Lakes Council area. The major road through Stroud is the Bucketts Way. Stroud’s population is less than 1000 people.
The township of Stroud can trace its beginning back to the late 1820s when it became the headquarters for a public funded company known as the Australian Agricultural Company (A. A. Company). In 1824, this company received a grant of one million acres (4,000 km²) of land between Port Stephens and the Manning River. This land was to be used for agriculture.
Stroud was a self-contained village by 1832 and, as early as 1836, the Company’s storehouses and much of the convict labour force were located there. By 1850, it had become the Company’s headquarters. Land was subdivided for private settlement in 1849, with settlers arriving from England the following year to take up land grants there.
It has remained a smaller town with basic needs and the joyous slower paced, recuperating joy of the country towns. Mill Creek, that about a kilometre up the valley becomes Karuah River runs along the side of Stroud and this adds to the lush green fields and sublime agricultural land. It’s magic.
LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE VENUE:
LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE, is an oversized milk bar/ cafe/ restaurant and the most popular food outlet in town out of what I think was two or (maybe) three places. It is a large, maybe heritage building, with some outdoor and indoor seating. On first glance it’s a simple milk bar that does takeaway chips and burgers, on further inspection I found one of the biggest menus I have ever seen. The breakfasts cater to all, the burgers menu is huge and Lynda is quite famed for her scones and fairy cakes. Add to that she whips up a storm a couple of nights a week with things like Thai night or Pizza night. Check out their Facebook page for diets (listed at the bottom of the article). Open from 630am to 730pm every day with a 5pm close on Sundays Lynda never sleeps, how she does it I will never know.
For a tiny town of less than a thousand people I was surprised at how many people come and go, not only the locals but the abundant travellers that drive through on their way elsewhere.
FRENCH TOAST AND SCONES:
I only photographed the scones but seeing them come out of the oven all fluffy and full of steam was amazing. I wish I took video to do them justice! My breakfast was the most amazing French toast, something you MUST ORDER if in the country, that thick country bread makes you drool. The amount of maple syrup I poured on top was quite embarrassing but it went so well with the bacon on the top – just loved it! The basil was a pretty contrasting garnish but not something I would eat with bacon and French toast.
BACON AND EGGS:
Corinne ordered bacon, eggs and tomato on toast, she may have been told by mum to make it herself :). Being Lynda’s daughter Corinne does some work in the cafe and lives over the back fence with the most amazing giant poodle (Sapphire). You will most likely see Sapphire sitting out the front of the cafe when visiting. Corinne’s breakfast provided some great egg porn but please excuse her abundant love of pepper :).
I would have shot more breakfast pics but I couldn’t quite explain to the kids to allow me to shoot their food. If it’s on the table it needs to be eaten was the general mimi-person consensus.
The breakfast menu is vast and they do a grand coffee. Make sure you read the signs about coffee next to the machine, they are hilarious – I have posted them on the Spooning Facebook page. Example: “We are sorry? We don’t speak pidgon Wookie, Klingon or Starbucks – our coffee is small, medium or large.” You should have seen Corinne’s father’s face when I asked for a decaf mocha haha.
The night before, after we arrived from a lot of wine drinking in the sun at the Hunter Valley the most awesome Lynda whipped us up whatever we wanted from the menu. I am pretty sure Corinne had told her I was a food critic and would take pics. After such a long day I am sure the last thing she wanted to do was spend time cooking for us but she was amazing, even after I had one of the most embarrassing food photographer faux pas of all time. My camera batteries were all flat as she started to cook. I had to shoot the burger on my phone, I was mortified.
But the lovely Lynda forgave me and feasted with us. I wanted something different so went one of the gourmet burgers. Lamb, beetroot relish, hummus, gourmet lettuce and tomato on a panini. It was HUGE and absolutely delicious!! And the country fried chips were heaven. Fluffy on the insides and crispy on the outside.
LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE has such a huge list of burgers, larger than more than half of Sydney’s burger joints, I highly recommend you give one a try on the way through town.
As you can see in the below pic the burger is nearly as big as my head, I somehow managed :). Huge thanks to Lynda and Corinne for fantastic hospitality while we were in town. Lovely eating with the maestro herself.
The fresh produce in the area is epic, the soil is fertile as all hell and mostly everywhere I looked it was incredibly lush. Before we left Corinne drove us just out of town to a little place called Limestone Permaculture – a permaculture farm and farmgate. I was mind blown at all this produce on roids. Corinne grabbed some herbs and vegetables for LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE and I bought a bunch of baby squash pumpkins. But have a look at this zucchini I worshipped while I was there – they were all like this. Food just wanted to grow here. Check out their website – they have a cool video on what they do – also gives you a good look of the area.
LYNDA’S CAPITOL CAFE is a country eatery, it isn’t nuanced silver service and compared to high end Sydney restaurants it would score low. But this is a country venue, it is no nonsense, it is welcoming, it is honest and the food is fresh and made with love. It was a damned nice bonus the food also tasted delightful.
Lynda’s Capitol Cafe Deets:
75 Cowper St, Stroud NSW 2425
Phone: (02) 4994 5222
Mon – Sat: 6.30am to 7.30pm
Sun: 6.30am to 5pm
NB: We purchased our breakfast and the venue comped us our dinner and all drinks.