Thursday, August 13, 2009

CAFE SPLAT! Queenscliff

Cafe SPLAT..what can I say? What a great name ! A few weeks ago, I happily discovered Cafe Splat whilst on a jaunt to Manly with the kids. Parking is a nightmare down there, and this was a sunny 21 degree winters Sunday, so EVERY MAN and his DOG was out there soaking up the rays and as such there was little chance of parking ANYWHERE within coo-ee of Manly promenade. There was a few spots but it was limited to 2 hours which anyone with kids will know is not enough time to get the herd back to the car before the parking cops get you and on a day like this, with such an enticing stretch of promenade (we made it almost to Fairy Bower on scooters), we had buckley's and none of getting back within 2 hours (we ended up spending 5 hours down there just for the record). So, off I went to the northern end of the beach, and up the winding hills in search of an un-timed parking spot. Curving up Queenscliff road, I took a sharp right and came across a spot at the top of some stairs..perfect! No parking restrictions, and just a few steps down, and across a the Stuart Sommerville bridge and I was at the beach. As we circled the block, my head was turned by a cute corner cafe called SPLAT! Again, those with kids will understand that it isn't about you, it is ALL ABOUT THEM so even though I was BUSTING to get to Splat, I knew that with the water shimmering below us, and scooters eagerly at the ready, there was no blogging or latte-ing for mum today! I simply had to file it in the memory for later on. Happily I skipped down to the water and had a lovely day, and even saw dolphins playing up and down the beach so all was good with the world. 4 weeks later, with a lunch date cancelled, and another sunny winter's day on my hands, what else was I to do, but revisit Cafe Splat? With just the lad and myself to amuse, I knew I could work it so I got to get a nice hot brunch in before enjoying the park down at Manly Lagoon. The day was beautiful, perfect for our outing. I found a close parking spot, just around the corner from the cafe, so when the lad got cranky that I hadn't packed the bucket and spade, then I realised there was nothing left to do but go eat? We wandered in to the cafe, it was open, airy, light, easy going, cool music, nice staff (I think the man that served me was actually the owner after looking at their website). As the lad had his sad face on, there was no negotiating on what he wanted to order, so we took a seat outside, and looked down at the beach (I thought it wise to keep him segregated from other diners but really wanted to be inside as it was cosy and chilled out which was what I wanted to be at that moment). The owner took my cue and brought us a huge strawberry milkshake with an old-fashioned paper straw (more about that later), and my a chai latte. A bit of jolly-ing, and a menu, and we were left alone. The lad wouldn't give an inch, so I ordered a bit for me and something I knew he'd like. There is a great all day menu, which includes b.l.t, (the regular bacon, lettuce and tomato), b.l.a.t (add avo), and even b.l.e.a.t (with egg too!). All of their produce is local and fresh, organic and environmentall where possible, back to the paper straws. Whilst drinking the milkshake, the lad asked me "what is that mum?", it was just a paper straw, but I realised he hadn't ever seen anything but the regular brightly coloured plastic ones before. The owner explained to him that he liked to skin-dive and that he saw lots of plastic straws in the ocean, and the fish ate them and died, then other fish ate the dead fish and died too, so he decided never to have plastic straws in his cafe. The lad was totally intrigued with this idea and many questions ensued. Great, we were making headway with the big freeze. It came to ordering, and the lad still wouldn't budge, so I ordered two free-range poached eggs with ciabatta toast, a side of their award winning pumpkin and lentil sausages ( I ordered a side of one and was given two at no extra cost), and a potato cake. MMM, the poached eggs were tasty and done to perfection. Not too soft, not too hard. They really were just right. The lad pinched the toast, and tasted the potato cake which was less of a hash brown and more of a fantastically fresh herb ridden pattie. Again, YUM. The sausages were really tasty, not fatty and a bit peppery. I would have liked less pepper, but thats just because I love pumpkin and its soft taste. All in all, it was really delicious and healthier than many similar fry ups I have had in other cafes. I think the real philosophy here is healthy quality food, served in a relaxed atmosphere with a little humour thrown in. Feeding of the soul type of atmosphere? As we ate, we spotted some "interesting books" that were just inside the window. There were books on sea life that weren't just pretty kids books, but very informative as well as bright and interesting. Many more questions were thrown up by the lad, and this really was responsible for the big thaw, and by the time I'd polished off my latte, we were good to go! The owner and I had a quick chat about the change of attitude that had evolved during our brunch and decided it was a good result all 'round. We paid the $21.50 and away we went off down the steps to begin our days beach adventure. The cafe is small, and is in the ground floor of an older style red brick apartment block. It has those great bi-fold windows that allow the sea breezes to amble through, a surfboard hangs lazily above the counter, and the Bob Dylan was drifting around in the background. From every seat inside and out you can see the beach, and if you just want to just grab a coffee on your way down the hill you enjoy it on the custom built viewing bench out front and check out the surf as you enjoy your coffee. If you were stressed when you came in, you would be certain to be more relaxed when you left. The service was attentive, and with a quiet humour. If you visit the website you will get and idea of the vibe of the place. Warnings like "this place may have traces of nuts, they own it", and the lost and found section advising that anything left in the cafe that isn't the size, colour or taste of the owners, will be posted on the website! Love it. You are guaranteed of a happy experience, not just good food, but the whole feeling of wellbeing when you visit Cafe Splat. Found at 68a Queenscliff Road, Queenscliff 9905 0600, it is open 7 days, from 7.30 until 3.30ish (dependent on mood of the owners, weather and traffic!). Make it a must visit next time you are down Manly way, it is well worth it. Happi eating!


  1. What a gorgeous little find and interesting about the straws! Good to know that the lad changed his attitude by the end too! :)

  2. Wow you find the most interesting places! The owners sound like the best kind of eccentrics with a great attitude. Love all your photos but the one with the seagull against the cloud = speechless !

  3. I think that if good food and humour can't change your attitude, then we have no hope at all!! LOL