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Just Some Cafe

Amanda Whitley and Beatrice Smith

The sleepy streets of Collector are a long way from the fjords of Scandinavia and the Yorkshire Moors. 

However, for the globetrotting Oliver Chiswell and his UK-born partner Lucy Stevens, the lure of the village “in the middle of nowhere but on the way to everywhere” has proven irresistible.

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“Family and friends brought us here,” explains Lucy. “Collector is
 a lovely village not too far from the city and not too far from the sea. The community is awesome, there’s a decent pub and we’re close enough to the city for some buzz.”

And now the 400-strong town can add great coffee and food to its list
 of attractions. Oliver and Lucy’s
 airy eatery Some Café has been described as “Lonsdale Street meets the country”, and is the antithesis to the industrial trend that has swept the dining world in recent years.

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Nestled under the red tin roof of the historic Collector General Store and Inn, the interior is all bright white walls and timber benches; an open
 fireplace taking pride of place in the main dining room. Locally-made preserves and ceramics dot the shelves, while here and there are unmistakable connections to Canberra, such as signage created by Oliver’s brother, artist Luke Chiswell. The end result, however, is undeniably—and unashamedly—rural.

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“The community out here is great, there are a lot of people doing different things like ceramics, meat, fruit and honey,” explains Oliver. “A big part 
of what we’re doing is creating a
 place where you can buy and eat locally made produce, so Collector
 was perfect”.

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This uncomplicated country ethos 
is reflected in both Some Café’s hospitality and style of cooking, which Lucy describes as “simple, clean and wholesome food”. Provenance is important.

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“We do all the cooking ourselves and try to use as much food as we can from the area,” says Oliver. “We’re keeping the menu simple, trying to use the local produce as it changes with the seasons.

“We have local cherries for cherry pie and pumpkins in abundance in May. “We have chickens out back – they give us our eggs. If peaches are in, that’s the cake we’ll be doing that week.”

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“Simple and honest food really works for us,” echoes Lucy. “That’s the way we love our own food.”

With a short but satisfying menu comprising sought-after toasties, seasonal salads, milkshakes, housemade cakes and Allpress coffee, Some Café has proven a drawcard for travellers, day-trippers and locals alike.

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“We’d love Some Café to become a destination as well as a healthy option for travellers. We want it to be a space where people can come and spend a day in the country with some hearty food and a game of backgammon,” says Oliver.

It’s the simple things in life.

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the essentials

What: Some Café
Where: 5/7 Murray St, Collector
When: Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-4pm
Web: somecafe.com.au

All photography by Tim Bean Photography

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Back to Basics for Autumn 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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