Review by Anooska Tucker-Evans Queensland Taste Editor
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
You know a café is good when you just finish brunch and want to stay to order lunch, despite having just eaten enough to feed a small herd of baby elephants.
That’s the pull of Emeraude in Hampton, about a half-hour drive north of Toowoomba.
Billing itself as a “micro-region eatery” it offers a menu that is a celebration of the regions stunning produce and its producers, with the likes of “Ed's sourdough baguette”, sitting alongside “Andrews leg ham”, “Pete’s smokey bacon”, Ravensbourne passionfruit and Pittsworth yogurt.
None of the food is overly complicated or fancy, but it’s the connection to the people and the place, and its subsequent freshness and quality, which makes it a winner.
Breakfast options run the gamut of banana toast with figs and honey, or chocolate brioche French toast with raspberries, chocolate ganache, and French custard, to bacon, egg and mozzarella toastie with greens and tomato relish, or a breakfast pizza topped with bacon, mushroom, egg, taleggio cheese, and herbs.
With making a decision tougher than a piece of poorly cooked tripe, we call on one of the amiable and charming young wait staff for advice.
The recommendation is the venues signature and most popular Closer to the clouds board and the Afghani eggs.
The first is enough to be shared between two unless you have an appetite of a rugby player post-match. It features a plank loaded with a bowl of golden, toasted granola hiding underneath spoonfuls of natural yogurt and stewed rhubarb, hitting just the balance of sweet and sour. A piece of toasted sourdough provides the foundation for the rasher of crispy bacon, old-fashioned, country-style pork sausage, a fried egg and a side of chunky tomato relish; and a wee stainless steel pot comes overflowing with cinnamon sugar-dusted doughnuts fresh out of the deep fryer to be eaten with the petite ramekin of lemon curd.
Everything on the board is delicious with that homely, wholesome touch, but the doughnuts, well, they’re worth the two hours’ drive from Brisbane.
Boasting a richly tanned, crisp exterior giving way to the lightest of crumbs that are only improved by a gentle swipe through the just-tart-curd – they leave ordinary doughnuts seeming like inferior, home brand comparisons.
The Afghani eggs, despite their simplicity, elicit equal When Harry Met Sally- type moans of pleasure.
Featuring a piece of lightly toasted Turkish pide crowned with citrusy hummus, runny poached eggs, a thin yogurt dressing and ample scattering of dukkah, the dish is evidence of why quality ingredients need little intervention.
With cute umbrella-lined courtyard, romantic veranda and country chic interior with vibrant floral wallpaper, Emeraude delivers just the right mix of charm and delight, making it an ideal out of town escape.