Food’s in fashion



The conversation while dog-walking at my local South Freo park is, like the dogs, free-roaming and eclectic.

As dogs sniff bums, chase balls and run about, owners congregate and, as Lewis Carroll said, talk “of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings”.

And more importantly of great places to eat.

Which is where I heard about Hamilton Hill local Fenella Peacock and Nell’s Emporium and Cafe on Glyde Street, Mosman Park.

Peacock’s background is in fashion and she remains part of UK-based Antipodium, despite branching out into her own fashion line Fenella Peacock.

Food and fashion are housed in a cute weatherboard cottage, built as a church in 1890.

The lure of gorgeous clothes and interesting bric-a-brac makes getting to the rear outdoor eatery a slow but enjoyable, process.

The cafe is like a secret garden, sheltering under a mish-mash of shabby-chic corrugated iron, held aloft by a massive, sculptured tree–with a towering real one nearby.

It can be a bit brisk at this time of the year, but an old pot belly takes the edge off.

Nell’s is so relaxed a couple of customers arriving early had the fire roaring by the time the owner arrived after dropping the kids at school last week.

How she got from fashion to food is a mystery even to Peacock, who has no formal qualifications as a chef.

“Our family has always been around food,” she says, adding she’d worked in a Sydney restaurant for a while.

Both food and fashion are  “textural”, she adds: “And I love it.”

And it shows in the small but interesting menu.

D’Angerous’ Moroccan eggs ($14) arrived sizzling in the pan, beautifully runny, with a tomatoey mix full of herbs, spice (lots of paprika) along with dukha and hummus.

He was so rapt he insisted I try some, and despite an aversion to eggs I had to agree it was pan-delicious.

Mum and I ordered a tart apiece ($14), a blue cheese one for her while I plumped for a pumpkin and feta version.

Both were mouthwateringly flavoursome, and the puff-pastry casings crisp and light, thanks to Peacock’s French hubby Jamel, who caresses the pastry into submission.

The side salad was pretty good too, an unusual mix of vegies, some oven-roasted, a lovely light oil dressing—and a liberal sprinkling of Nell’s trademark paprika.

We shared a trio of pastries/cakes, around ($4.50 each), all of which are sourced elsewhere.

The almond croissant was served warm, and the almond filling was moist and rich, while the lemon team-cake was sharp, light and fluffy.

But the stand-out was the walnut and maple syrup pastry, which almost led to bloodshed as we fought over the last morsel.

Nell’s has Friday theme nights monthly.

The next one coming up is a combination of those past, including Moroccan, Spanish and French, combining all the flavours for a night of mouth-watering tapas tasting plates.

Nell’s Emporium
15 Glyde St, Mosman Park
open 9am–5pm Mon–Sat
9284 6009 

• Smugglers’ paradise

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