When Sandra and Rob Gawn and their Kombi van – named Olive – went on a roadtrip through Gippsland, they happened upon a cafe in the small town of Loch. Sandra instantly fell in love with the space, noticed it was for sale and promptly bought it. They settled by Christmas 2014 and by Easter, Olive at Loch opened its doors.
This country cafe is just one hour’s drive from Melbourne, smack bang in the middle of the quaint village of Loch. Having previously owned a cafe in Sandringham for 10 years, Sandra felt right at home starting another venture. Olive at Loch is different in that it allows her to combine her love for Melbourne’s cafe scene with her passion for adventuring out of the city.
Surrounded by rolling green hills and lush farmland, Olive at Loch is perfectly placed to serve local residents or travellers passing through. The cafe is a cosy, rustic space with light-filled rooms and a warm, homey vibe. Filled with gifts such as books, local jams, chutneys and honey, the cafe is just what you’d expect from a coffee and gift shop in a country town like Loch.
As you stretch your legs after the drive, barista Helen will be waiting inside to satisfy your caffeine craving. Richmond-based roaster, Coffee Supreme, supplies the cafe with all their coffee needs. The Supreme Blend, made predominately with beans from South America, holds a sweet, caramel finish and blends wonderfully with the local Gippsland Jersey milk. You might even catch Sandra’s son, Melbourne Football Club star Max Gawn, showing off his lesser-known passion: making coffee.
Don’t stop at the coffee though. Sandra treats the kitchen as her canvas, creating fantastic savoury and sweet treats for all to enjoy. As the doors of the cafe open in the morning, the smell of freshly baked egg and bacon pies and homemade scones draw the locals in. As the day goes on, everything from frittatas, pies, tarts and focaccias make an appearance, with flavour combinations that change almost daily.
In particular, the pie offering will have your tastebuds tingling. Fillings range from beef and dark ale, to mince and cheese, and lamb and pumpkin. With their flawlessly golden, flaky pastry, your eyes will be telling your stomach ‘yes’. Lunch doesn’t stop there though – the range of soups will have you feeling warm from the inside out.
Post-lunch, don’t forget to grab a sweet treat for the rest of the drive. Homemade cakes, rustic in style, sit in the front cabinet, dripping with icing and enticing even the most savoury of palates. Fruit crumble cake, salted caramel slice or a lime syrup cake are just a few examples of what could be front and centre in the display.
Whether you’re passing through or a local to the area, Olive at Loch is a cafe that you want to share. The coffee and food are made with love, warming both your stomach and heart.