His Boy Elroy
|Nashville Burger, with nachos and lettuce.|
I am taken back to a different era, I am settled in to an ambient place and I like what I already see. That is what I reckon most of us shall experience when you step into what seems to be a converted place, an almost mysterious cavern with intentionally unrenovated ceilings but with everything else purposefully planned to have a desired look. There are canteen styled tables, there are high bar stools and there are quiet two person seating for couples in love. Guests can have their choice of beer on tap, coffee from Campos or just soft drinks. Copies of well heeled gentlemen appear on framed photos especially congregated at one corner. There is an upstairs, from which a young woman appears holding a pail and she then goes straight to work with her two male colleagues in the busy open kitchen.
|Globe Lane from the far side of His Boy Elroy, which is sited left background in this photo.|
The space for customers is generous, much bigger than for the barista and other staff. So this is His Boy Elroy,with a rather refreshing and revolutionary concept in business model, located in the heart of Wollongong CBD. Melbournians who find themselves in this South Coast NSW conurbation will rediscover a sense of deja vu in this cafe restaurant and bar that opens from 8am everyday except for Sundays and Mondays. Elroy can be so Victorian and yet offers special touches that make it neither just a coffee place nor brunch hub nor drinking gathering hole. More accurately Elroy is all these and provides a remarkable atmosphere to unwind away from the cares of the world. Yes, it is located along a lane, but a rather wide lane at that - Globe Lane. Its wide doors can attract passer-bys and intent visitors with a siren call of being a unique haven. Elroy's neighbours are Chocolateria San Churros and the Little Prince Cafe. Elroy can be a welcome and right place to unwind after shopping at the nearby David Jones or Myers department stores and is accessible from the free Wollongong green coloured shuttle bus.
|Campos blend is offered here and I was eyeing the container of Granny Smith apples.|
The food menu is not much at this stage but every menu item looks very carefully thought of and created. I tried the Nashville Burger, totally vegetarian and tasty, perhaps the first such burger that I embrace. It reminded me of Mexican fare - and Elroy also offers Mediterranean inspired stuff, Middle Eastern combinations, modern Australian items, seafood, salads and curries. What an eclectic combination, what fusion and yet so Australian in today's food scene. Read the Elroy menu carefully, for the devil and fun is in the detail, in the care they source and blend in many ingredients to provide more than a thrilling and unusually good whole. The Wagyu brisket, beef ribs and pumpkin based curry echo and illustrate Elroy's philosophy. This is more than pub food, although you still get your drinking water by pouring it yourself at the side of the bar counter.
|Beer , lunch, breakfast and dinner menus are available.|
The owners of Lee & Me, another refreshing concept in the Wollongong foodie scene for several years now (and not just because they mix a clothes retail with the cafe), have moved to the next dimension by being bold and yet innovative with this model at Elroy's. The night scene from Thursday to Saturday nights in Wollongong Central has been enhanced by this combination of a focused social hub at Elroy's. Twenty somethings have another option besides going to the local pub and yet have trendy food all day long. There is a range of pricing in the menu and a choice to have lighter snacks or heavier stuff. Why the name Elroy? There is an alternative American rock band from Seattle Washington State and some of us may also relate the name to Elroy Jetson, son of George from the cartoon series.
The most engaging staff that arvo going at Elroy's smiled, chatted and interacted well with customers, even if she was the only one working the floor at the hours between lunch and dinner. It did not take long before the barista came with a purposeful stride with the coffee - and not long after that the food was served, even if it was relatively busy at 330pm. Just like the touches in the decor and lighting, which was subdued rather than loud, it is also the manner in which the staff delivered to and engaged with their customers - an informal and yet efficient approach - that impressed me most.