When ‘Cafe of the Year’ award-winning Mornington restaurateurs set up shop on the Gold Coast, we’re really curious about what they will bring to our dining scene. And in the case of The Winey Cow, it’s a lot. Check out the full article here.
When ‘Cafe of the Year’ award-winning Mornington restaurateurs set up shop on the Gold Coast, we’re really curious about what they will bring to our dining scene. And in the case of The Winey Cow, it’s a lot.
For owners Cam Henderson and his wife Jill, their wine bar, founded in 2014, seemed an obvious transition from being hoteliers to being restaurant owners.
They found a prime location opposite the water in Mornington, naming their new venture ‘The Winey Cow’.
“There are the usual quips about ‘So, who’s the winey cow, then?’ from customers, but the name refers to our origins as a wine and cheese bar,” Cam tells us.
While the bar was a great idea, the couple soon realised that Mornington locals had a larger appetite for cafés. Filling that need, their business adapted and evolved into a brunch café, soon recognised with a stack of awards including Cafe of the Year, Victoria and Best Breakfast Restaurant in Victoria.
The secret to their success comes down to nailing and maintaining high standards on fundamentals, with gorgeously presented dishes, exceptional coffee, friendly service, while staying on point with adaptability and renewal.
With their move to the Gold Coast, Cam and Jill decided to open a second venue. Asked how they faced the challenge of consistency across the two venues, Cam replied that staffing was the most crucial element of that achievement.
Using similar logic to car manufacturing giant Volvo’s Share Plan where, in 2022, permanent employees were offered shares in the company, Cam and Jill took on four of their long-term staff members, Jade, Rui, Britt and Magenta, as co-owners of The Winey Cow, Main Beach. This move not only acted as a reward for their staff’s loyalty, but it also makes them more invested in a business in which they are part owners. The strategy itself is award worthy!
In common with The Winey Cow Mornington, the new venue is located a stone’s throw from the water, the couple lightening up the tones of the original venue to suit the sun shiny vibe of Main Beach.
Champions at adapting themselves to the market, the couple also used this principle with the menu, adapting and refreshing their opening menu six months later to suit the demographic.
Still carrying some of their bestselling ‘foundation’ dishes such as the Brunch Stack, breadless Harvest Plate, and Eggs Norwegian, this is a modern brunch menu. Some dishes are inspired by the chefs’ homelands, such as the hearty Huevos Rancheros or the cold Udon Nikkei Noodle Salad that carries Malaysian flavours. From Granola with activated cacao and date buckwheat and panna cotta to the light Vietnamese Calamari Salad or the more substantial Portobello Burger, dietary preferences are clearly marked and catered for, as are appetite sizes.
When it comes to waffles, there’s the choice of piling on crispy fried chicken and bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a generous dish that’s not for the faint hearted, or choosing the gorgeous Insta-worthy Waffle Croissant, a smash hit for its lightness, flavour and balance. Croissant pastry replaces the waffle mixture in this dish, a splash of wild berry coulis and fresh raspberries balancing the richness of coffee mascarpone and flake bar chocolate, with a shining disc of almond praline setting off the magnificent presentation. It’s real ‘Wow!’ territory.
Cam and Jill’s inclusion of staff as investors is replicated in their own investment in the local community. There’s a big focus here on ‘local’, sourcing produce from their surrounding areas. Coffee is from small Victorian roastery Prodigal Coffee Roasters, with bags of beans also available for purchase. Takeaways of coffee and the snack menu are serviced through a cute side window, leaving diners to relax uninterrupted. So smart!
Locals are encouraged to become part of The Winey Cow community. Specials, such as Sunday Sippers, invite locals to enjoy a lazy afternoon. Beside us, a couple of ladies are celebrating over The Winey Cow’s Boozy Brunch, any main meal accompanied by an hour of endless mimosas for the cheeky price of $55.
There is a lot to love about The Winey Cow, even if we’re not too sure about its name! But while the original concept of The Winey Cow may have changed over time, knowing the Gold Coast’s love of long boozy afternoons, summer weekends could well see the venue return to its ‘winey cow’ heritage, at least at sundown.
The Winey Cow, 5/11 Woodroffe Ave, Main Beach, Qld 4217 Ph: 07 5570 1214 Open daily: 6am – 2pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of The Winey Cow. Some photos were supplied by the venue.