With summer arriving my thoughts turn to the beach and the coast.

To be exact, my thoughts are turning to where to eat at the beach and the coast. And one of my recommendations is Wye River General Store.

As the name suggests, it’s a general store which operates for the citizens and visitors of the tiny hamlet of Wye River. The store combines post office and banking services and stocks daily necessities like milk, toilet paper, Mars Bars and Weetbix.

Yet evidently Wye River dwellers are a particularly discerning lot, as their general store also stocks Istra smallgoods, Martelli pasta and other gourmet items that wouldn’t be out of place in a smart inner city deli.

Even better, attached to the store is a lovely cafe serving hearty, wholesome food at reasonable prices.

The fitout is airy and full of exposed brick, wooden slats and light – very much hallmarks of Melbourne architects Six Degrees. The dining room has a fireplace for cosy winters while the outdoor decks make the most of summer balminess. The adjoning playground means that kids are free to run to and fro, from the swings to the slides to their lunch, lending the cafe a particularly relaxed holiday atmosphere.

The cabinets have ready made sandwiches and salads while the sit-down menu is fairly simple – soup, pizzas, pie and a few main dishes.

RM had the duck and celeriac pie ($16) which came with a side of sweet relish and fresh salad greens. A rustic dish with sophisticated elements, it was let down a little by too-dry pastry though saved by the relish.

My fish and chips ($25) was some of the best I’d ever had. The fish was so incredibly moist and fresh that it was a wonder that the juices didn’t turn the beer batter into a soggy mess. I liked the big fat non-oily potato wedges and the aioli too.

For dessert I opted for an inhouse-made lemon tart from the cake cabinet ($4). While the classic pastry and curd combination was well-balanced, the glistening
curd’s consistency was too runny so that as soon as I broke into the pastry case all the lemony goodness spread like lava on my plate. It was very unbecoming having to spoon up lemon curd :–)

To plagiarise an advertising slogan, Wye River General Store is easy, breezy, beautiful. I recommend driving that extra 20 minutes past bustling Lorne and enjoy the tranquility and excellent food at Wye River.

Wye River General Store, 35 Great Ocean Rd, Wye River +61 3 5289 0247

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