I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who – in idle moments – on the bus, hanging out the washing, sitting in a dodgy watering hole – passes the time imagining her own bar. Mine is a wine bar in Blackheath called The Rumpus Room. It’s furnished with cool mismatched chairs and couches from op shops and the walls are covered with cheesy old posters, especially those National Parks ones we all had in the 70s that featured NSW macropods and parrots. There’s packs of cards and Mahjong and Cluedo and Pictionary and Mastermind to encourage people to dig in and hang out for a while. There’s a little gravelly courtyard out back where people can play boules or Finska. Four local wines, one beer, one cider. Maybe a perry when the mood takes me. And I do one dish a day. Something big and comforting and slow cooked. A tajine, a casserole, a chile… And a cheese and salumi board. We’d have trivia nights and film screenings with popcorn. (You’ve got to keep the rumpus in The Rumpus Room.) As you can see, it’s a very well developed fantasy bar, and I’d do it too, if not for really wanting to go to bed earlier and drink a whole lot less.
I haven’t got a fantasy café, but this summer I have at least come up with its signature breakfast dish. I’m calling it Salted Baklava Toast. It’s simple, sweet and salty and I’m sure that it would give Michelle Bridges the screaming hives. If that notion appeals to you, here’s how to make it.
Toast a slice of sourdough, butter it, put on a handful of pine nuts or slivered almonds or crushed walnuts (it’s very adaptable), pour on some honey, sprinkle with lemon thyme and any fancy kind of salt, just not, you know, iodised regular cafeteria salt. You need something with a bit of personality. I’m not sure why I think that’s important, but I do.
That’s it. If you really want to go all out, make a thick proper Greek/Turkish coffee to go with it. I reckon this would be a great brekkie on the morning after a modest night on the tiles playing squiffy Cluedo in my Blackheath wine bar.