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Wild Moose Cafe- North Wollongong NSW

My Cape Town risotto.
Wild Moose on Urbanspoon

Please note that the Wild Moose has since September 2014 moved to 40 Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow, NSW 2519.  It has since closed in 2015.

Cosmopolitan, with hints of cross culturalism, a definite haven of rugby union gatherings and unique offerings in the regional city of Wollongong NSW.  This is the Wild Moose, with a primary heritage of South African cuisine, clever touches of Scandinavian and feeling comfy as a breakky and brunch hideaway.  I tried the Cape Town risotto and was struck positively by its inherent flavours, with chunky pieces of pumpkin, roasted pine nuts and tasty bites of chicken.  I eyed the Zanzibar chicken but saved it for next time.

There is a rather extensive menu for a place that does not open in the evenings (except for Friday evenings, when it is open till late with live music) and also does not operate from Mondays to Wednesdays.  The Boer heritage means a good drinks list (Swedish Mojito and Shaken Margarhita stand out)  with Fair trade organic coffee.   Did I get a hint of nutmeg from the brown toned culpa, or was it all in my imagination?

You have both indoor and outside seating, and the morning menu is littered with names like Karoo and African Sunrise.  There is modern Aussie fare like the prevalent Eggs Benedict and the version of Big Breakfast is christened the Jungle Brekki, with twosomes of bacon rashers, eggs and the unique Boerewors. The latter is a classic back in the home country - sausages of beef and coriander, also sold separately as take away snacks from the counter.  One of these mornings, when I next visit, I would want to try the Walnut Delight, a healthy vegetarian gathering of avocado, rocket and oven roasted Roma tomatoes , served on home baked walnut embedded bread and topped with a touch of the Mediterranean - feta and drizzled balsamic glaze.

An interesting set up from the previous site in North Wollongong.

Sited along a busy part of the Princes Highway just slightly north of Wollongong CBD, it is a good spot in the middle of increasingly bustling Fairy Meadow, with its variety of cafes, small business shops and three supermarkets - Aldi, Woolies and Coles. The couple who run this unique place, Wouther Debbes and Anki Rask, have created a uniqueness on the Wollongong cuisine scene. Anki is engaging, friendly and articulate when I met her - and so are her staff.

For a light meal at working lunch time, do go for the Jabulani Chicken burger, laden with baby spinach, chicken breast pieces, tomato cuts, pineapple, cheese and red onions with toppings of peri peri sauce.  There Chicken Marrakesh is pan fried and comes garnished with preserved lemon,fresh tomato, oven baked potato wedges and parsley mushroom - what refreshing and unusual combinations!   There is in addition the old reliable salt and pepper squid to accompany the beer.
Also available is the mango chicken salad. On Friday evenings, two dishes stand out - the marinated Mozambique tiger prawns, with a textured crispy coconut coating and peri peri sauce, and the grilled wild barramundi fillets panfried with Bourbon butter and accompanied by tiger prawn cutlets and chunky beer battered chips (more like wedges).  For takeaway, there are also muffins - I tried the strawberry version on my recent visit.

Do moose exist naturally on the African continent?  It is of Eurasian origin but a North American term.  Most moose are found in the snow laden territories of Russia, Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia.  In Europe, the animal is more referred to as the elk.  So why is this place honouring the moose? Good question, a surprise but I reckon it reflects the imagination and creativity of its owners and menu. I love it!


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