This week David heads to the Casino and Merchant Artisan Food & Coffee.

I only have one criticism of Merchant (Merchant Artisan Food & Coffee), and that is it’s not open long enough. The tough 11.30am drawbridge-up closing time disagrees with my languid breakfast brunch stylings. But when I can remember what time it is, or even what day this is a go-to venue.

For those of you not so chronically challenged, Merchant offers a tantalising array of outstanding food. All served by an attentive and delightful staff as you would expect for a concession owned and managed by a five star property. Nestling inconspicuously between the hotel indoor vibe and the side street cafe this place usually buzzes with a cosmopolitan energy. As initiated locals plot business or pleasure alongside enthusiastic travellers plotting their day ahead. The food stands out, it is consistent, with a high attention to detail. Especially worthy of note are the confit of cherry tomatoes, marinated in-house served as a side for the headline balsamic mushrooms.  The tomatoes are mind blowingly good, and will help even the most hardened anti-‘mato-ist’ reassess their  opinion of this little red salad fruit. The Roasted Pumpkin is also a tour-de-force served with labna, feta and baby beetroots. There other dishes for the more bacon minded including the simple egg and bacon roll and for those with a healthy inclination the egg white spanish omelette never fails to disappoint.

The coffee is sourced from local roaster, Blackbird and conforms nicely to the more gentle Australian preferred choco-nutty flavours, which work well as morning stimulants. The over the counter selection of grab and go sweet and savoury treats also provide a morning tea alternative.

Staff are attentive as is the prerequisite of the hotel operation and orders are taken at the table or at the counter. The location is superb being everything from an air conditioned refuge to an outdoor sundeck and to make it all really unbeatable the casino carpark sits underneath making it jolly easy to visit by car.

More info here.

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