CHRIS FERREIRA’S got a thing for forests.
The indefatigable sustainability guru from Hami Hill had barely finished launching his subdivision project (four houses and 40 trees on a standard block) when he was already into his next one; a groovy “pop-up forest” at the Kerry Street Pear Tree cafe.
It seemed a perfect opportunity to head back down and check out the cafe’s menu while watching Chris and his team transform the drab concrete footpath out the front into a wonderful, shady alfresco area.
My lunch companion and I eased our way into a booth seat, enjoying the casual feel the timber furniture gives to the place (it will be a perfect companion to the pop-up forest) and the slightly jungly look of the neighbourhood through the big windows (something for the new greenery to aspire to).
Pear Tree has an app allowing you to order from your seat, which is a great idea, but that level of technology was apparently beyond me that morning. My luddism was rewarded with a warm, unpretentious greeting from behind the counter that matched the atmosphere.
The cafe’s renowned for its great woodfired pizzas, but I can vouch that the oven pumps out a delicious, firm and chewy ciabatta roll when it’s not being put to that noble purpose.
Mine was wrapped around some tender and juicy Amelia Park lamb shoulder and a sweet cheese onion jam ($16) that attempted an escape down my chin only to be hauled back by a greedy tongue.
It was accompanied by a pickle and some crunchy sweet potato chips. I’m not even a pickle fan, but it was delicious.
Across the way, the lamb sanger also proved popular with a table of autumn ravers enjoying a politely uproarious get-together; they were later replaced by the next generation of immaculately draped young families who greeted each other in such an uber-relaxed vibe it seemed almost Freemason-like signals.
Thus grows Hami Hill.
Meanwhile my companion was praising her beautifully done eggs on sourdough toast ($11), saying the bread had been done “the right way”, unlike many of the faux-sourdoughs floating around.
We both tried the juice of the day ($7) and while I was splendidly happy with mine, she did feel her local cafe’s seemed a little more “juicy” and bigger for not a lot more money.
But her chocolate brownie ($5) restored her enthusiasm and what she couldn’t get through got wrapped up and taken home. I enjoyed my apple cake ($5) but can’t really over-enthuse as it wasn’t in my top 10. They’re supposed to be a little gooey in the centre, but this could have been a tiny bit firmer.
A super-sized creamy coffee ($4.20) was so delicious I had to have a second, which worked out well as my companion had had enough of me and my boss unexpectedly walked through the door with news about the long-expected ructions of our local news media so we sat down to work(ish).
The shop, which used to be the local deli, has been an arts studio and almost became the local community centre, but I think it’s really found its mojo. The final piece in the puzzle was transforming that cracked concrete into something special. I love the fact Chris referenced the area’s market garden history by sourcing some authentic, old-style garden stakes to make a thatched roof.
by STEVE GRANT
Kerry Street Pear Tree
1 Kerry Street, Hamilton Hill
5–8pm Wed–Sun for