Cafe Muddy Waters – a review

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to head to Maryborough’s Café Muddy Waters for dinner. It was only my second visit this year – the first ‘just’ after it reopened following the January floods.

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It’s a gorgeous spot – in the old Customs House building – still with lovely views of the river and fortunately (in its new location) at far less risk of flooding!

In my previous review I cut the café a lot of slack given that they’d just reopened, but had been disappointed that gluten-free options were very limited.

However, I’m pleased to say that is no longer the case.

Of course – given my usual apathy and lack of organisation – I only emailed the night before I was due to go to ask about GF options. I got a response straight away and was advised there were heaps of choices on the menu.

Indeed, on arrival the waiter was able to run through the gluten-free options and choices available to me in detail and spoke to the chef who was happy to adjust anything. (Handy cos I’m not only coeliac but a bit *ahem* fussy when it comes to veges!)

My fellow diners shared an array of breads and bruschetta as an entrée but scallops (etc) were also on offer.

I was tempted by heaps on the menu (eyeing off the pork belly and rib eye in particular) but finally chose the beef cheeks which came topped with bacon on a creamy potato puree and with green beans. (I’d asked them to hold the mushrooms cos they creep me out. Don’t ask – long story!) 

The beef was melt-in-my-mouth succulent and offset perfectly by the creamy potatoes and crisp beans.

A citrusy* chicken dish proved popular with others at my table and another friend had the fish and chips.

The special of the day (braised shoulder of lamb on what I think was a bed of couscous and topped with turnip crisps) also sounded and looked kinda yummy. I often suffer from food envy so feel obliged to check out everyone else’s meals within viewing range (ideally without scaring them).

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Pics from MW’s Facebook page.

Half of us had desserts and they all went down really well. With a few amendments I could have several dishes on offer and, although I love a crème brulee, I went for the (somewhat clichéd) flourless chocolate cake. (Sans berry compote cos.. well, ugh, fruit!)

And the cake was magnificent. Like friggin’ unbelievable. Moist and rich without being too sweet. I checked with someone else at my table who’d had it just in case I’d hoovered mine too quickly but she confirmed its yumminess. Another of my group had the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta and another a pav-like meringue dish*.

We were sitting out on the verandah and had a lovely breeze throughout the night. All in all it was a lovely dining experience. The atmosphere is just gorgeous and there was a musician playing a keyboard in the background. It did get a teensy bit loud, but I expect that’s cos we diners all got very kinda loud as the night wore on.

A table complete with fairy lights and lanterns had been set up on the very green lush grass in front of the restaurant for a group of young girls. It looked so lovely it almost made me wish I had a yard rather than an apartment verandah! (Plus I remembered back to my childhood in Maryborough when a ‘special night-out’ involved our parents dropping us off at The Pizza Hut!)

Café Muddy Waters is located at 103 Wharf Street, Maryborough, and is open Tuesday – Sunday (9am – 4pm) and Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm. Ph. 4121 5011. Or like them on Facebook.

*The menu on the website is slightly out of date so I wasn’t able to confirm exactly what we ate. Plus… I really only focussed on the stuff I wanted to eat! 😉

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Gatakers Artspace & precinct

I’m embarrassed to confess that it took me six months of being back on the Fraser Coast before I ventured to Maryborough’s trendy Gatakers Artspace and precinct.

Sadly time didn’t permit an excessive amount of sightseeing so I skipped the Bond Store and the Military & Colonial Museum (which I’ve also visited previously); but as the much beleaguered Muddy Waters Cafe was reopening after repeated floodings and a new art show, by local artist Gina Davey was being launched, I figured it was a good time to pop down there.

GatakersI’d been to Gatakers Artspace years ago and decided then that I could indeed live in the venue. Its renovation / refurbishment reminds me of some high spec house which should be featuring on Lifestyle TV or the like. I must confess (though) to being a bit underwhelmed last time I visited the gallery – with mostly local knitting on display. This visit however, was much more fruitful, with Davey’s Person of Interest exhibition featuring downstairs and an array of artwork and sculptures upstairs.

In fact I was so mesmerised with a series (by a local artist whose name I’ve forgotten – in bottom right corner of pic) that I even contemplated whether my current state of poverty would permit me to buy one of the pieces.

MuddyWatersI was keen to show Muddy Waters Cafe some support after the bad luck they’ve experienced. I know that building by a river is fraught with danger, but am pretty sure they didn’t expect five floods in three years. The Cafe is now in the Customs House building (home of the former Port Residence), which offers some pleasing views.

Owners Michael and Mia Cox say they are starting small; they are yet to get their liquor licence and only open from 9 – 4 (Tuesday – Sunday) at the moment.

I’ve decided I’ll cut them some slack, as they’re still getting started, but in my case – as a coeliac – gluten-free options were very limited. In fact they were practically non-existent. The helpful waitress said that they could just remove parts of a dish, but it seemed wasteful to pay for something and only receive half of it and nothing tempted me anyway. We were also offered the breakfast menu (all day breakfast I assume) but again there was no GF bread and they were unsure about the chorizo and bacon.

It’s not cheap and I have to admit I won’t be rushing back at this stage. I’ll keep an eye out though because if their menu expands, it is a nice spot and might be worth a second chance. I know people thought well of it previously.

janetsOn the suggestion of my mother and a few locals I also visited Janet’s Art while at that end of town. And… Oh. My. God. I was super-impressed. “Atmosphere and gluten-free options galore!” I tweeted afterwards. I saw several things I was keen to buy, but only left with some cards (Mother’s Day was approaching!).

I picked up a takeaway menu and was pleasantly surprised at the array of GF options on offer. There’s a lovely space out the back which should prove nice during winter and I love that the store supports local artists and jazz.

I’m keen to return to the precinct to make it to Gatakers by Night, which is staged from 5-9pm on the last Saturday (of each full weekend of the month) and features music and artists-in-action. And it’s nice to see that the beautiful space is being put to good use.