Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Rimbolin, Auburn St, Goulburn

The Rimbolin, Auburn St, Goulburn
Sunday 23 July, 2006

I have discovered a reason to go to Goulburn and it's not the Big Merino......

Today my lunch buddy and I departed Sydney at 10am - we took the M5, continued past Mittagong and arrived in Goulburn just past 12 midday. Our lunch destination was The Rimbolin - an institution in Goulburn and widely known as the only place to have a decent meal in the Southern Highlands. Over the years they have received several awards - most recently Best BYO restaurant in ACT/ Southern Highlands from the Restaurant & Catering association.

On arrival we were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our table in the front bay window. Inside, it's cosy and the decor is basic, wooden chairs and tables, fireplace, a bookcase full of second hand books for sale and the walls full of paintings by local artists - also for sale. Beyond the first room is a smaller private room (perfect for a group of 6 - 8 people) and at the rear - the kitchen. Outside, there is seating in the bricked courtyard with an outdoor heater blazing and beyond this a fabulous outdoor entertaining area with an enormous oak tree and fairy lights strung across. This would be the perfect place in summer (it's freezing in winter) to have a lazy afternoon or function with a large group. Take my recommendation and book ahead.

In the front room, the specials board hangs high on the far wall offering a variety of dishes, all day breakfast and tempting desserts. We ordered coffees as we pondered the menu but decided to nibble on the crusty, woodfired bread with 4 dips - tzaziki, capsicum, chilli jam (my absolute favourite) and tomato chutney. Yum! I would return to The Rimbolin for the chilli jam alone....

For many Sydney-siders coffee is extremely important, so I'm sure many of you can appreciate how thrilling it is to find a great coffee in a country town. The Rimbolin take their coffee seriously (hallelujah!). They have a large, red roaster on site and purchase natural green beans from Sydney. They roast their beans daily to ensure their patrons get the best possible cup of coffee. I'm a fan!

My lunch buddy and I ordered the same main meal (I know, how boring..) chicken & leek pie. This was the ideal cold winters day lunch. When they arrived at the table we were both caught by surprise as they were a lot bigger than we imagined - a long, inch deep dish filled with chicken & leek and pastry over the top. They were delicious and we didn't leave any scraps. Speaking of which, the Rimbolin is also environmentally friendly - while we were eating a local who maintains a worm farm arrived to collect the food scraps. How neat!

As we settled back with a glass of wine - The Rimbolin is BYO - we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and watched the locals stream in. The staff know many of the locals by name - it's that kind of place, warm, friendly and laid back.

The dessert platter had caught my eye on the Specials Board - for $25 you can experience a sample of each dessert. It took us all of 5 seconds to reach consensus on this and we sampled the apple & rhubarb crumble, flourless chocolate cake, passionfruit cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate mousse. Without a doubt, we agreed the stand out was the apple & rhubarb crumble. All the desserts are made from scratch on the premises by head chef Chas Ruffles.

The Rimbolin is located on the main drag - Auburn St - and only 2 hours from Sydney. Goulburn is the perfect day trip or place to stop on the way to Canberra or the Snowy Mountains.

Book ahead and you will not be disappointed.

The Rimbolin - 380 Auburn St, Goulburn - (02) 4821 7633


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