Challenge: Try to go to Bright in North-East Victoria and not get swept away by the food, charm and fantastically bubbly personality of Coral Lee and its owner Sam Martin.
Named after the wallpaper in the café, Coral Lee is the kind of home-away-from-home kitchen that keeps diners full on wholesome handmade meals (Sam reckons they’re the only commercial kitchen that cooks everything on its menu from a pizza oven!), old-school style blended (non-alcoholic) drinks and cakes just like grandma once baked.
There’s a super garden out the back that’s perfect for cyclists, and Coral Lee sees plenty of two-wheel riders day in-day out. The Honeybird coffee from Mt Beauty is definitely just one reason to head over to Sam and her team of star cooks. They even have their own brew, Dark Lover, made exclusively for them.
Sam’s family has been in the area for three generations so although she herself was born in Queensland and relocated here 15 years ago, the locals have welcomed her as one of their own! And she has clearly settled right back in, creating such a great place here. Hot drinks come in cups and saucers that look like they’ve been supplied by the CWA, napkins are proper linen, and there’s just a warm, rustic feel that you’re going to love.
The menu changes when it needs to, which depends on all sorts of factors, including what locals might have delivered which bags of fresh produce. If a neighbour stops by with a basket of apples, rest assured there will be apples cooked every which way in the coming days. We were a big fan of the pesto toast, which came with country fresh googy eggs, beetroot and fetta.
When things get flat out you might find locals getting up from their tables and helping out with the service; it’s just that kind of place. Love it.
If you’ve just finished a big ride and you need a great local feed, you’re going to be well satisfied at Coral Lee.
In the meantime, check out our visit and try not to get caught up in Sam’s buzz about Bright!
- 8 Barnard Street, Bright
- Bike-friendly / child-friendly / dietary requirement-friendly
- Open Mondays to Saturdays, 8.30am – 5.00pm and Sundays, 8.30am – 4.00pm
- Visit their website here