How is it possible that I had never heard of this place?!
We were driving back from Queenstown, after an absolutely epic weekend spent working up at Savage River in temperatures near 40°C, and we needed a place to grab a bite to eat before completing the last few kilometres into Hobart.
I knew there used to be a place called Verandah’s that had some reasonable reviews, but the last I’d heard they had shut down. So with that option ruled out, what else was on offer? I was at a complete loss, with New Norfolk being more famous for sprint car racing and derelict mental asylums than for gourmet dining!
TripAdvisor to the rescue!
Coming in at No. 1 by a long shot, Cheeky Little Place was certainly worth a look, but I’m sure you can excuse my scepticism! This probably stems from our last New Norfick experience a while back when we decided to stop by the Shot Cafe (No. 4 on TA and located right next door to the local gun shop!) for a quick drink before pushing on to Strathgordon. I don’t even drink coffee and I could tell that the steaming mug of brown fluid Karen was served was absolute scheise. Thin, pale and bitter, a bit like myself the morning after the night before… Mind you, they do have a ‘child free’ set of booths at the back of the shop, enforced with militant enthusiasm, for which they get a massive thumbs-up!
While we weren’t there long enough to verify the ‘cheeky’ aspect, it certainly was ‘little’. A few chairs line the bench at the front window (very nice with the sun streaming through the tall windows), with the only other option being a seat outside under the awning or the umbrellas. Great on a warm summer’s day, but I can imagine winter being a very different experience!
The vibe of the cafe was surprisingly metropolitan, with a country hipster twist. Freshly baked Redlands sourdough, braised lamb pies, sushi rolls, homemade quiches, raspberry almond Danish…and that was just in the front counter! On the wall was the menu proper, listing half a dozen dishes that all sounded extremely tempting to my grumbling stomach.
The BLT with avocado ($8.50) almost emerged triumphant, but in the end I just couldn’t resist the Kashmiri lamb curry with steamed rice, natural yoghurt and tomato relish ($11).
Such a great curry. The hearty chunks of lamb were incredibly tender and had obviously been stewing for a looong time. Together with the occasional chunk of spice (cinnamon and cardamom if I recall correctly), it was clear that this curry had been cooked with some genuine TLC! Throw in the tangy yoghurt and sticky tomato relish and you’ve got one sensational lunchtime meal…and all this for only $11!!
Forgetting the flavours for a second, this was also a very clever dish that is surprising in its absence from most cafe menus. Keep a large pot on the simmer (getting tastier as the day goes on!) and you’ve got a quick and wholesome meal that would make even the fussiest diner smile. Makes sense to me anyway…
Whether you’ve reached your final destination, or just passing through, Cheeky Little Place is a refreshing addition to New Norfolk’s culinary landscape and shouldn’t be missed. In fact, it’s that good that I’d go so far as to say that it’s a reason in itself to make the half hour drive out of Hobart!
Taste – 4/5
Menu – 4/5
Atmosphere – 4/5
Service – 5/5
Value – 5/5
Overall – 4/5