There’s a part of me that always returns to country. It’s the yawning openness, the homeliness of imperfection, and the people who populate these spaces that make all the difference.
So, when I find one of those places, I immediately feel at home. I breathe out, relax and look around me in wonder.
That’s exactly how I felt when I walked into Pickers & Co for the first time.
Located in an early 1900s Cobb & Co homestead on Tamborine-Oxenford Road, it’s easy to drive past on the way up the mountain without knowing it’s there. From the street, entry to Pickers is a vegetation-shrouded ramp. But when you stop and venture up the pathway, you will find a collector’s wonderland come eatery that only locals know about.
Founded seven years ago by mother-daughter team Ursula and Leigh-Ann Shead, business in this rustic hideaway has expanded to fill many roles, including a gift and homewares shop, coffee house and eatery, as well as event and décor hire venue.
South African born and from a hospitality business background, the pair started the shop in 2016 as a way of settling in. Retaining the farmhouse feel of the building, outside flows to inside with rusty corrugated iron sheets sourced from an old farmhouse in Byron Bay, the original timber walls and large overhead sleepers providing the bones for the gift shop/dining room.
‘Cluttercore’ is in vogue at the moment, we’re told, and if that is so, then Pickers & Co is right on point! Their eclectic collection, (a refined version of ‘picking’ goods to sell), draws from both their old and new homelands to bring us the best of both worlds. It’s ‘…an organised (and well-loved) collection of miscellaneous items that hold deep and significant value.’ (MarieClaire)
In their own inimitable style, Ursula and Leigh-Ann have created nooks of interest in their venue. My eyes skip from place to place with so much to look at, visually placing objects in our home or as upcoming gifts. From framed prints by David Bellam to zebra skins and jewellery to garden ornaments, there are fine gifts here that can’t be found elsewhere. Hutches on the wall are filled with African memorabilia, and family portraits hang beneath the chandelier. A second room carries pre-loved clothing and kitchen goods, the back door stairs leading to bathrooms under the house.
With a kitchen tucked off to one side and coffee station just inside the door, the eatery also operates inside the shop ‘dining room’ as well as alfresco on the dog-friendly verandah.
The aroma of coffee fills the air, the well-respected fair-trade organic Leaf & Berry by Seven Miles Coffee, with lots of freshly baked cabinet treats to accompany a cuppa.
And if the African exotica is making you nostalgic, just wait until you see the menu!
The all-day main menu includes several Cape dishes, such as Bobotie (spiced mince with an egg-based topping) and Shosholoza (a glorified bacon and egg roll), as well as many more dishes familiar to us but made in the South African way. Sweet specialties include Oumas melktert (South African Milk tart), a traditional carrot cake, and a Maitjiesfontein traditional scone, the mother of all fluffy scones. It’s the best version we’ve eaten in a long time.
There are so many different and interesting treats to try, that it makes complete sense that their Karoo House High Coffee provides a taster for many of the South African treats on the menu. Served in 3-tiers, the two-hour event includes your choice of coffee, tea or juice.
Similarly, the Karoo House Brunch, featuring an acai bowl, several savoury and sweet dishes accompanied by your choice of coffee, tea or juice, is served as a mini buffet down the centre of the table.
Even the menu’s name, Padkos, or ‘Food for a journey’, is atmospheric. Many of us may not have travelled to South Africa, but at Pickers & Co we gain a glimpse of the richness of Cape cuisine and culture.
So, next time you are spending a day on Tamborine Mountain, plan to stop at Pickers & Co. A journey with the pickers is well worth taking.
NOTE: BYO corkage $3.50pp Brunch and High Coffee cater for groups of between four and twenty guests. Both must be pre-booked and pre-paid.
Pickers & Co, 1/388 Tamborine-Oxenford Rd, Upper Coomera, Ph: 0431 947 490 Open Mon, Tues, Thurs – Sat 7am – 2pm; Sun 8am – 2pm. Closed Wednesday
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Pickers & Co.