Tamworth’s most surprising foodie gem was actually arrived at through an off-hand tip from a mate who lives in Quirindi. Upon hearing I was looking for a farmers’ market for produce to take back to Sydney, she suggested that the local French joint, Le Pruneau, also sells a range of conventional and certified organic vegetables. Cue me heading there for breakfast...
In an asymmetrical late Victorian corner block, Le Pruneau insulates you from the pace of the Oxley Highway with a garden setting that provides both intimacy and shade if you decide to break your fast in the great outdoors.
The large wraparound porch houses an outdoor counter, where friendly staff chirp greetings to their regulars as they get their coffees underway.
Made on beans roasted by The Branches in the Northern Rivers, our Latte ($4.50) and Extra Shot ($0.60) Flat White ($4.50) are the best coffees I drank in Tamworth. With liquorice notes, they have a bit more going on than the other local coffees I sampled, making this the only venue where I felt inclined to order a second cup.
With the French country style theming, breakfasts at Le Pruneau are hearty and honest. The kitchen team, led by Phillippe Kanyaro, are making almost everything in-house, from butter to cheese to bread and bacon. God’s own meat can be enjoyed as House-made Bacon ($4.50) with Eggs on Toast ($12.50) in a build-your-own-breakfast affair, or as sticky sweet Maple Bacon ($4.50).
I choose the latter as an opt-in for the House-made Crumpets ($19) that come with smashed pumpkin and poached eggs. Crumpets in Tamworth continue to be of a standard we don’t seem to be able to reach in Sydney. At Le Pruneau they’re airy, tasty and cooked through without a doughy centre or burnt bottom. While the maple bacon proves slightly too sweet for a breakfast that already contains roast pumpkin, the syrup sits over what is easily one of the best bacons I’ve eaten in NSW.
Mowing our way through their menu on a second visit, we sampled a house-made Beef Sausage ($4.50) that was all thriller, no filler, before moving onto the big garlicky taste of their Toulouse Sausages ($18). Served as a twosome on a bed of compelling white bean mash with two sunny side up fried eggs, this makes for a breakfast that will take you through morning tea all the way to a late lunch without the need for snacking.
Le Pruneau sourdough has some tangy sourness to it; their Potato Roesti ($3.50) are generous golden patties of long, thin shreds of potato; only the Avocado Hollandaise ($3.50) is a let-down (and that’s more because avocado doesn’t belong in Hollandaise if you ask me). Even the kitchen’s tomato sauce is better than any commercial one I’ve tried. If I’d known the Haloumi ($3.50) was their own house-made Jersey milk haloumi when I was designing my own breakfast, I would have definitely thrown some in.
We used two breakfasts to create a shopping list of ingredients to buy in their store, from the aforementioned cheese, to two kilos of their nitrite-free bacon that still manages to look gloriously pink and white in their packaging (so many look grey and unappealing).
Outside in wooden crates and market baskets, you’ll find an array of well-labelled fruit and vegetables.
Don’t neglect the fridges: in there you will find the best oyster mushrooms I’ve ever eaten, grown by a Tamworth local – their texture is truly amazing!
Le Pruneau certainly makes the bounty of the New England region come alive in both their cooking and the goods that they provide.
83 Bridge Street, Tamworth
Ph: (02) 6765 3666