Years of travel experiences for the Farquhars have not gone to waste. favourite dining experiences from their time in London have been channelled into their new café venture, The Finch.
Located in Toowoomba’s CBD, Dan and Edwina Farquhar have done their best to make sure their cafe blends nicely with neighbouring shopfronts. In doing so, The Finch does very little to catch the eye of a passer-by, but for its understated touch of cool with the signage hanging above the door.
So perches this new venue, taking its food and coffee seriously and offering its customers a sophisticated spot for breakfast, lunch and anything in between. The kitchen sits at the back of the long, narrow layout, giving customers brief glimpses to the burners beyond.
The food on offer is simple, nourishing and delicious. Though the café has barely been open a few months, I predict by the time this has gone to print, The Finch’s Vietnamese banh mi roll will be at cult status. Served in a traditional Vietnamese-style French baguette for one, barbecued pork (or chicken) marries perfectly with pickled carrot, coriander and lashings of special sauce (with a secret, highly addictive ingredient). It is the Anglo version of this Vietnamese classic,
but it is absolutely delicious.
The best thing about cold weather is undoubtedly the process of warming up over something hot and wrapped in pastry. Toowoomba takes care of the weather, and the Finch delivers on the hot and pastry. Serving up hearty favourites like homemade sausage rolls with perfect flaky pastry, and proper steak and ale pies, the Farquhars bring a bit of London class to this Darling Downs establishment.
Inspired by the salads of London restaurant Ottolenghi (headed by esteemed chef Yottam Ottolenghi of recipe book fame), the Farquhars have also installed a good selection of salads on the menu. Expect the likes of bright, colourful beetroot salads with crème fraiche and walnuts, and honey roasted pumpkin with pearl barley and parmesan.
Breakfast is a simple mix of wholesome classics, like a homemade granola, or poached eggs with relish on Turkish bread (stacked up as required with sides like chorizo, smoked salmon or mushrooms). Strong, freshly ground coffee is from Brisbane roastery, Fonzie Abbott.
When re-designing the space for The Finch, the Farquhars shot for something relaxed and comfortable. What they’ve ended up with is something that outclasses most little cafes. A restricted colour palette gives way to a bit of cheek with a large line drawing on the wall, of a finch riding a bicycle. By stripping back the tired cladding of the previous fitout, they have brought the original building back to life ¬ exposing an original 100-year old brick wall and the original pressed metal ceiling. A heavy timber bench situated at the shopfront window is made from timber from the old Bundaberg rum distillery.
The end result is a café whose look, atmosphere, food and coffee would be right at home in any major city. The Farquhars have created a perfect little café, but these guys have big plans and the dream doesn’t stop here…
Words by Alice Thompson | Images by Katie Mendl