Happiness Café fits right in, but also stands out for all the right reasons.
I was greeted warmly as I crossed the threshold. There’s no doubt a lot of thought went into the décor – rustic wood panels, splashes of gem colours, warm metallic, and soft lighting. If you can take your eyes off of the chalkboard menu long enough, you’ll spot interesting trinkets, cut flowers, and bowls of fresh ingredients. I also took note of a cake inside a glass dome, which had me internally justifying why I should have pudding for lunch.
While I zoned out looking at the cake, my waiter approached me gently and drew my attention to the flatbread toasties (he must have to intervene a lot). He was also very patient while I fussed over fillings. Eventually, I settled on pickled brinjal, roasted pepper, artichoke, and provolone. I didn’t have to wait long before it arrived with a dish of homemade coleslaw.
In the company of a little succulent plant in a baby-blue pot, I tucked in. The balance of flavours was on-point, and the generous heap of sweet, pink coleslaw was a nice touch. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I might just try their avo, feta, strawberry, and walnut salad.
The setting outside was rather interesting. At my sun-drenched table, I watched a stack of enormous tyres being offloaded across the road. I also got glared at by an old lady with blue hair, as she tottered in the direction of the post office. But that’s just Blairgowrie for you.
Afterwards, I got chatting to the owner, Niqui, who told me about their supper offering every Friday and Saturday (expect Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavours). Naturally, I enquired about the cake. With a knowing smile, she recommended her gluten-free clementine cake, which I will definitely be making a return trip for. She also makes gluten-free bread.
Niqui has a strict whole-foods approach and believes in cooking everything from scratch. I can vouch for that – everything sandwiched into that flatbread tasted like she’d trawled the fresh-foods aisle that morning. The meal I had was simple and tasty.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced meal in Blairgowrie, I would highly recommend Happiness Café… blue-rinse old ladies and all.
It’s open Monday to Saturday from 10:00. In the meantime, stalk them on Facebook.
By L. M.