A friend of mine loves checking out cafes and eateries around her new neighbourhood. So when she first insisted that we try Putia in Banyo, I may have scoffed ever so slightly. Yes, I am that breed of food snob. But seriously…Banyo?! I tried to pitch an alternative idea but she wasn’t having any of it so I left my expectations at home and begrudgingly set off for Banyo (GPS guided, of course).
Putia is the Sicilian word for a little local store that sells food, wine and household items. It sits directly opposite the Banyo train station but don’t let this put you off – you hardly notice the track traffic. The interior is wood panelled in rich chocolate tones and suffused with the smell of bacon and freshly ground coffee. It’s warm and inviting, reminiscent of a family home with the kitchen on open view. However, the main draw card has to be the large alfresco dining area outside, complete with a sprawling jacaranda tree to provide shade. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a lazy weekend breakfast reading the papers or catching up with friends.
For a local suburban cafe, Putia is usually brimming with diners all enjoying their weekend brunch (yes, I have been back a few times now!). The wait staff are friendly, polite and efficient. Drinks arrive promptly, house-made sodas adorned with fresh flowers from Putia’s own garden.
A quick glance at the breakfast menu reveals head chef and owner Dominique Rizzo’s passion for using fresh and locally sourced produce in her cooking. Spice carrot waffle with whipped cream cheese and caramelized carrot puree anyone? Yum! The daily specials are also well worth checking.
On my return visit, I opted for the corn fritters with poached egg, beetroot cured salmon and a pea and basil mash. This is what arrived:
It looks beautiful, doesn’t it? The corn fritters were only lightly coated with batter which is exactly how I like them. The salmon was cured perfectly and the mash just brought the entire dish together. Each element on the plate worked well individually but was beyond amazing in combination. I loved this dish! The boy went for the mushroom bruschetta – garlicky mushrooms topped with goat’s curd and a poached egg. Again, the flavours worked so well in combination!
From 11am to 2.30pm you can sample their lunch menu which features some amazing dishes such as maple-braised pulled pork salad, Reuben sandwiches and a summer chicken and truffle pie. Putia is also open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights – here is their latest menu. On your way out, don’t forget to check out the Putia Pantry where you can purchase items for your kitchen or garden, or stock up on some of the delicious baked goods on offer. Dominique also runs the highly successful Putia Cooking School where you can get hands-on experience across a range of cuisines. But be warned – they sell out quickly!
Banyo may seem like a bit of a drive but I can assure you that if it’s to eat at Putia, then it’s worth it. These guys are going places. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do and if you’ve been, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
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