As a kid I loved jumping on my green sparkly Gove five speed, rounding up the neighbourhood gang and heading for the Milk Bar. We would pool our money and spend big time on cobbers, bullets and musk sticks, or if it was winter hot pies, dimmies or Chicko Rolls. I always put my hand up if we were low on bread or milk, another ride to the Milk Bar, I could spend the change and scoff something yummy before I got home. Alas Milk Bars are all but gone, as well as the one cent lollies. There is one place however that continues to tick the local one stop shop criteria - Eclectic Tastes. You can still pop your Gove in the bike rack, there are always dimmies on the menu. Margo has just perfected her pie entry for the Pale and Pie Comp, you can grab a Litre of Inglenook milk and even order a loaf of Basilio sourdough.
SUZI What’s the Pie your entering in the Pale and Pie Competition?
MARGO We are using Asian and French techniques, slow cooked beef cheek, star anise, red wine, and cinnamon, topped with a lid of fluffy puff. It’s already on the menu, ready for winter.
SUZE It’s great to see another local foodie event taking place in town and speaking of local, Eclectic seems to be Ballarat’s favourite local hot spot. Do you think you guys are the milk bar of the 21st century?
MARGO We do seem to tick all the boxes, maybe I should get some mixed lolly bags. We have the dumplings (dimmies), the pies, in summer there’s the chicken roll, not quite a Chiko. We use as much local produce as we can eggs, Waubra beef, all our beer and wine and even our soft drink is from Mt franklin. We have just changed to Basilio sourdough and if there’s local ingredients out there we don’t know about bring them in, we are always happy to try new produce.
SUZE Also local in the sense that it’s a place where everyone has a seat with their name on it and a favourite dish on the menu.
MARGO We have been here for a long time, I won’t say how many years but my daughter Annie was in preps and she is now turning eighteen. During that time I have watched so many of the same faces pop in and out. These people are the Eclectic family. The ladies, the Mums, Darren has his weekend following and Nikki hers too. Some people just grab a coffee and are gone in five minutes but others meet here to start their day. We have a really established café scene, true community. If you’re new it doesn’t take long to become a part of the furniture.
SUZE Scotty the coffee man has just rocked up and Margo and Scotty are straight into the goss. Talking about Scotty’s wedding plans and his fiancées latest craft project. Scotty how much coffee is Margo using per week?
SCOTTY These guys are pumping through about fourteen kgs a week. They have always been one of our best customers.
SUZE So is the coffee good?
SCOTTY For sure, these guys are all over it. They change the grind throughout the day when it’s cold and as the place warms up the grind is changed again, to maximise your coffee experience. Eclectic staff know their beans.
SUZI Well then I’ll have a long black and maybe I’ll have a ‘Cheza’ is that still on the Menu?
MARGO The Cheza is a local stalwart, it’s been on the brekkie menu for as Long as our super ceramics technician Cheryl has been washing the dishes. It’s her favourite and named in her honour.
SUZE With a new chef at the burners since Christmas, Mat the short-order master offers breakfast all day on the weekends. Perhaps it’s time you rode your Gove to the Eclectic milk bar, a true local piece of our food culture.