Cafe Martini at Wangaratta

Berry Pavlova Martinis

When I was growing up, the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney meandered through dozens of little towns and several cities that are now bypassed. Travellers used to park their cars in front of milkbars in little towns that only had a main street to buy an ice cream and stretch their legs, or to get a mixed grill for lunch from a service station cafe. It used to take up to an hour during the holidays to get through the twin border towns of Albury and Wodonga and there were motels and caravan parks in every town for travellers.

We always stopped at Holbrook and climbed the submarine (mind you, Holbrook is at least a six hour drive from the sea), stopped again at Gundagai to look at the statue of the Dog on the Tuckerbox and again at the Big Ram at Goulburn. There was also all of the Ned Kelly tourist traps at Glenrowan including the big Ned Kelly (Australians like big tourist attractions), an aeroplane museum at Wangaratta, a windmill near a hotel in some little town I’ve forgotten the name of which was supposedly a ‘House of Ill Repute’ (we didn’t know what that was but stared out of the car window at the windmill and hotel anyway) and the Ettamogah Pub. It always took us two full days to get anywhere and it’s a wonder our trips didn’t take longer.

These days the Hume Highway is a dual lane separated highway that goes all the way between Melbourne and Sydney without going through a single town. I expect the travelling time would be at least half of what it used to be.

Usually when we travel we pull in to rest stops on the side of the road or fuel up at the huge service stations in the middle of nowhere, and quickly get going again, in a hurry to reach our destination.

Recently though, we were on our way home to Melbourne from interstate and as we had a holiday the next day, pulled in to Wangaratta for a meal and randomly chose Cafe Martini, at the Bull’s Head Hotel.

Martinis 2

What a find! The staff were friendly, the decor was lovely (the photo above is of plates which have been signed by anyone remotely famous ever to have eaten at Cafe Martini) and the menu was good. He who eats all of our leftovers had the Pork Belly with salad and chips and enjoyed it enormously. I had Garlic Prawns on Rosti and if I had been at home, would have licked the sauce from my plate.

Then came dessert. I ordered the Chocolate Roulade and he who eats all of our leftovers ordered Berry Pavlova. When the desserts came out, he who eats all of our leftovers looked sorry for himself and scraped off all of the berries, so I offered to swap desserts with him. He should have known better than to order it, because the waitress warned him the pavlova came with a berry sauce and he hates berries, but his loss was my gain. I scraped the berries back on again in order to take the photo at the top of the pagevand dug in.

The Berry Pavlova was the best I’ve ever had (sorry Mum). The pavlova was lovely and crisp, just how I like it and the berry sauce was a wonderful mix of sweet and tart.

Chocolate Roulade Martinis

He who eats all of our leftovers was just as happy with his (my) Chocolate Roulade (photo above).

Entrees at Cafe Martini are about $15, mains between $15 and $30 and desserts about $10. I can’t wait for our next trip up the highway to visit again.

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