Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) (15:46:19): People in many suburbs of Sydney claim that their cafe makes the best coffee, bakes the best cakes or serves the most delicious meals. However, the judges have spoken and the award for the 2018 Sydney Cafe of the Year at the Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence has been won by Wahroonga's Cafe Patina. In just two years, husband and wife Stewart and Hilary Wallace have turned the former Coonanbarra Cafe, which was already a popular local spot, into Sydney's best. They have done it by serving wholesome, healthy food; supporting local and regional producers; and utilising fresh organic produce. Some 99 per cent of the cafe's menu is gluten-free.
Stewart worked as the head chef of the Coonanbarra Cafe between 1992 and 1995 and then opened restaurants in Paddington, London and Cape Town. He was later appointed as executive chef first at Cafe Sydney and then for 12 years at Garfish restaurant group. Hilary brings her extensive hotel management skills and flair to the table. But this venue is, by design, entirely lacking in pretension. The Wallaces have successfully created a casual and welcoming place overlooking the beautiful Wahroonga Park. Let us not forget about the food. The crispy fried goats cheese-filled zucchini flowers with pesto and lemon are a favourite and it is hard to go beyond the Patina "mess", a vanilla meringue with ice cream, passion fruit and raspberry sauce.