Saturday, 3 April 2010

It'a all happening in Campbell Town

Another highlight for Rita last weekend during the trip up north was discovering the new Red Bridge Café and Providore at Campbell Town. What a find! Being a died-in-the-wool Tasmanian through and through, I tend to veer towards the cynical side of commentary on life generally, so would never have, in a million years, expected to find a providore of this calibre tucked away in the heart of the state in little old hick-town Campbell Town!

Having been alerted a few weeks earlier by a comment on this blog about coffee in a new establishment in Campbell Town, I drove slowly (60 kph) into town, scoping out the landscape for this mythical new place. For some reason I imagined it to be in the vicinity of Zeps, but no. I was directly outside the new providores before I realized this was it. Did a u-ey and parked outside. Entered, and gasped as I surveyed what confronted me! It was a veritable foodies treasure trove containing a vast array of assorted true goodies of all variety and exclusiveness. It wasn’t just an eclectic collection of someone’s interpretation of what they thought MIGHT be the food of the moment which will be sure to sell (!) but a thoughtful, targeted and thoroughly delightful array of goodies which will tempt even the most hardened of travellers amongst us.

It’s in the brick building which used to be an antique shop that, from memory, had a bath strategically positioned on the roof (presumably to attract attention to the fact that it was indeed a shop!) on the right of the highway (as you travel from the south towards the north) on the Hobart side of the little bridge you cross as you enter CT. There is a small-ish amount of parking directly outside, but they have a large parking area out the back, and in hindsight I should have used this, as both times I visited this shop, it took me ages (due to high traffic volume) to reverse onto the highway and rejoin the traffic.

When I spoke to Dino, owner of the business, he told me they’d been open 3 ½ weeks, but the concept had been in the planning for 2 years. The providore section fronts onto the highway, and sells fresh seafood, Tasmanian wine, fresh fruit and veges, dips and bread made on-site, deli selections, honey, cakes and slices etc. Sounds boring and ho-hum as I re-read what I’ve just written but let me hasten to assure you this place is no ordinary grocery shop.

The back section contains the café, complete with log fire which you can take time out to lounge in front of, on the comfy sofa, with a latte, should this be your need or desire.

They were doing a roaring trade both times I entered the premises, and I expect them to continue this tradition if they can maintain the ‘rage’. The service staff were mega-helpful and informed about product range, pricings etc. They have a devoted coffee section, and bakery area and I noted some well known Hobart faces amongst clientele entering, purchasing and leaving as I perused the shelves of the providore for some 20 minutes.

A very interesting addition to Campbell Town’s pit stop landscape for visitors travelling both north and south. Why not check it out next time you’re on the road? You never know, you might also be saving your own life if you take the time out from driving! (Yes, they have toilets there too!)

Posted on by Rita


Maggie said...

Brilliant, this sounds just brilliant.

Who want's to go to Campbell Town? Also, can I drive a bit please? I'm on my bloody learners and I still need 20 more hours. I'm very safe, I promise.

Tassiegal said...

Have heard about this from one of the girls at work who drives down from the NW coast once a week or so. She was sharing around some amazing hummus type dip which she had bought there. May have to split my providore run next week between there are the providores at Stillwater.....

ut si said...

Prof & me had a quick trip there yesterday is fab. However, lady on cheese table told the Prof to buy the Danish Blue she was offering samples of as Tassie blues are too dry!!! He almost choked. Ran into Graham & Maedi Prichard there...they are going to sell his sourdough breads too.

Georgia said...

So glad you made it Rita..but did you try the coffee? I love the ambience of that gorgeous big cafe room and I really want to take Zeps off my mind BUT, both visits to the RB the coffees were pretty less than average. On the second go, I asked for a 'strong one' ever hopeful they would get the hint. It was strong but with grounds lurking below a bitter warm brew. Will I give them a third go?

Anonymous said...

went there, lovely place, faint smell of sewage!!

Jackie said...

Visited the store this weekend. Less than impressed. Understaffed. Coffee making area chaotic. Coffee very average. If this venture is to succeed it needs hands on supervision at all times. Where was the "fresh" Tassie fish". Refridgeration units working overtime to chill limp zucchinis and a few bits of cheese.. Tasting plates of descriptions..olives not to be found "on sale" And the sourdough bread was very undercooked and under proved. get your act into gear I say.

Bubblecar said...

I actually live in Campbell Town, and Jackie is quite mistaken about RB being "understaffed" - if anything, the staff to customer ratio makes me fearful about how the wages are managing to be paid :-).

Fresh fish usually comes in on Fridays. They appear to be making a heroic effort to keep all the fresh stuff stocked (fruit and veg, fish, meat, cheeses, dips, home-made pies etc) despite the all the wastage that must be going on (Campbell Town is a tiny town. With its surrounding district it can boast about 800 souls, so shops and eateries are very dependent on the highway trade, and the RB providore is very dependent on the small % of the passing people who are into fine food).

We regard the RB as a much-needed addition to the town, and we're hoping they can find it worthwhile to keep going in the long term.