This gem of a café is located in Yamba, a resort town on the Clarence River just opposite Iluka, the fishing village I raved about in my previous post. It’s not on the main drag, but tucked neatly away up a side street. Don’t you get a bit of a thrill from discovering something, well, just a little bit off the beaten track? And we really did stumble on this one purely by chance.
Yamba, though, was a deliberate choice. In fact, this is where I originally envisaged us staying on our road trip up the coast. Ages ago, I read that Yamba had ranked first in the 100 Best Towns in Australia, and thought “There must be something in this.” Then Cowrie Cottage in Iluka, on the other side of the river, popped up in one of my accommodation searches and I opted to stay there instead. Especially since there is a regular ferry service on the Clarence between the two locations. And the possibility of spotting dolphins on the way.
Daddy Ickle had the privilege of seeing those magnificent mammals frolic in the bow waves on our ferry trip across the river; I saw a few – way in the distance – on our return. Ickle, alas, missed out on this occasion, but actually all she wanted to do that morning was run free. It was a pretty quick journey, thank goodness, as there’s not much room for toddler antics on a small, old-fashioned ferry.
We had a gentle stroll to the beach on arrival in Yamba, but really the main reason for our trip was to find a nice café for lunch. Nothing too fancy, but not too basic either. After all, it’s not every day that Mummy Ickle turns 40. Yup, that defining moment of middle-agedom happened in Yamba, and Beachwood Café was waiting for us to celebrate in style.
We were greeted at the door and seated by a lady who later turned out to be the owner and chef, as well as front of house and author of a couple of cookbooks (the ultimate multi-tasker). Originally from Turkey, her tiny café immediately transports you to another world. There were old-fashioned roses on every table, and herbs and vegetables growing on the bank opposite. The menu is based on fresh local produce and changes every day.
I opted for slow-roast lamb, which arrived on a bed of mixed salad and leaves, with a generous smear of baba ganoush hidden underneath, whilst Daddy Ickle went for the zucchini fritters and salad. And Ickle picked and chose from each plate at will and, more importantly, sipped on her chocolate milk. The desserts were divine – oh to have been able to sample them all! After much deliberation, we selected meringue with cream and sour cherries, and Turkish dumplings with caramelised figs and cream, both drizzled with rose petal sauce and sprinkled with pistachio nuts. Feast your eyes on this!