AFTER a morning exploring glorious forests and beaches in the south west of WA, we were well and truly ready for lunch.
And who should we meet in the cute village of Nornalup but old mates Rod and Cheryl, so we headed to The Nornabar cafe/restaurant to talk about old times.
This picturesque eatery is located in a 1900s house with a funky, modern interior, and has a rambling cottage garden.
A sea change 20 years ago saw owners David and Vicky Higgins renovate the old timber house and turn it into the Nornalup Tea House.
It was a rip roaring success and an afternoon tea there, many years ago, still has a four-star rating in my head.
Gypsies at heart, the Higgings moved to Albany and opened the York Street Cafe, and the Nornalup tea house fell on hard times.
But they’re back and have turnaround its fortunes with a new name and menu.
“We had to rebrand, we couldn’t go back, it didn’t feel right,” David Higgins says.
Keen to try the cake, I kept my meal small and ordered the bruschetta ($14.50).
The classic Italian dish comes in a variety of forms and the toasted sourdough was loaded with heaps of black olives, fresh tomato, red onion and a sharp and crumbly Danish feta.
I’m a sucker for a balsamic glaze and this one was spot on, with a nice mix of sweet and sharp flavours.
D’Angerous Dave had the traditional Sri Lankan fried rice ($18.50) while Rod had the prawn version ($26.50).
Both dishes were flavoursome and hearty, and the chilli paste on the side really cleared the sinuses.
Cheryl fancied the prawn pasta ($26.50), a huge bowl of al dente linguini.
I thought its rich southern Italian flavours were perfect, but my friend has northern Italy connections and prefers a more white wine-based sauce.
“But it’s good,” she added. And I noticed she finished every last morsel.
For dessert I had the citron yoghurt cake ($10.50), a light and fluffy slice of heaven with just the right amount of sharpness.
The dark chocolate and hazelnut mud cake, with berry coulis and vanilla cream ($12.50), was so rich it stopped even chocoholic Dave in his tracks.
Rod shared his apple, berry and red wine crumble ($10.50), with berry coulis and vanilla ice cream, with his beloved, making her very happy.
The Nornabar is currently open six days (closed Monday), but there are plans to open evenings.
by JENNY D’ANGER
6684 South Coast Highway, Nornalup