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Blackwood River Valley
EAT I N G OUT IN BRIDGETOWN
SERVING UP SOME HISTORY WITH
Bridgetown is the only heritage-listed town in the
south-west of WA, with many of the beautiful
buildings harking back to the late 1800s lovingly
restored and still in use today. While it has the
charm of a small country town, Bridgetown is
much bigger than nearby Balingup and Nannup
and you are a little more spoilt for choice when it
comes to shopping and eating out.
Located in the heart of town is the Bridgetown
Hotel. A traditional favourite, this fully restored
1920s establishment offers an a la carte lunch
and dinner and more than 80 wines from the
Blackwood River region alone. It is also a great
place to stay, with eight simple but expansive spa
suites that open onto a wide veranda overlooking
the main street.
The Cidery is one of the major attractions in
town and offers lunch seven days a week during
the holidays, but is otherwise shut on Tuesdays.
Apart from a delicious range of alcoholic and non-
alcoholic cider, they are also exceptional brewers
having picked up silver medals for their Blackwood
stout porter and Blackwood Irish red ale at the
2008 Australian International Beer Awards. Perfect
for families and lovers of beer and cider, or anyone
looking for a good feed, and with a lovely alfresco
area for summer and fireplace and chesterfields in
winter, don't leave town without a visit.
A wonderful new addition to Bridgetown is
the Aromatic Passions Tea House -- a French
provincial style establishment that serves a range
of tea, healthy food, juices and organic, fair-trade
coffee. The building itself was the old ambulance
centre and has been lovingly restored over six
months by new owners Nick and Linda Maxfield.
It has been a huge hit with locals and a great
addition to town. High tea rituals can be organised
but best to book first, and motor enthusiasts
can check out a few antique automobiles and
motorbikes on site. Aromatic Passions is open from
Wednesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm.
On the opposite side of town is Bridgetown
Pottery & Tea Rooms. The original house was
built circa 1870 and the owner Pip says it has
only been owned by three families, including hers.
I didn't get to try the food but is an absolutely
delightful building and also has a pottery and fine
art gallery attached.
Back in the heart of town, another great
looking cafe with exceptional coffee is The 1896
Cafe. While the extremely tall ceilings are to
be expected in buildings of this era, the large
window display sections made less sense until it
was explained that this is where the "ladies of the
night" found themselves on display to tempt the
mine workers into what was probably the town's
first brothel. New owner Bob Johnson is increasing
a focus on fresh local produce with the menu and
the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner on
weekdays and all day on weekends.
In terms of more recent developments, Brett
and Cindy, the owners of the popular Bygone
Days Cafe and Restaurant, recently added a huge
balcony area and the restaurant is now capable
of seating up to 90 diners. This place has a lovely
rustic feel with its outlook over the creek and
hillside, and is perfect for lunch and dinner from
Thursday to Sunday.
As an aside, if you are in Bridgetown and haven't
already, make an effort to drive out towards Nannup.
The first 10km before you enter the heavily forested
stretch of road is all rolling hills and paddocks spotted
with great gum trees, tall black boys and granite
outcrops -- spectacular!
FEAST: (from top) Bridgetown
Pottery & Tea Rooms (photo
courtesy of Tourism WA); The
Bridgetown Hotel; Aromatic
Passions Tea House.
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