Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bushranger brunch! Gypsey & Musquito in Bridge Rd, Richmond

Gypsey & Musquito
382 Bridge Road, Richmond (map)
9939 9314
Breakfast and lunch, 7 days

'One of the more notorious bushrangers was an Aborigine from New South Wales called Musquito who had been employed as a stockman and later as a black tracker. In this latter role he had been instrumental in the capture of many bushrangers. In 1823 Musquito was transported to Van Diemen's Land for the murder of his wife, an event which was not a crime under Aboriginal law. He subsequently escaped and became a bushranger. With the aid of another Aboriginal named Black Jack he led a gang of Tasmanian Aborigines in raids against white settlers and storekeepers for about two years. He was responsible for at least two murders, including that of a storekeeper named William Holyoak at Grindstone on 15 November 1823.'

'Musquito made a friend of another bushranger, known as Gypsey. Gypsey's real name was George Shirley, the son of a wealthy English family. Distressed at the death of his bride giving birth to their daughter, Shirley had taken to bushranging. When Gypsey was captured and killed after he had opened fire on some troops, Musquito vowed to avenge his death. Musquito marked Gypsey's grave with a rough-hewn stone carved with the words 'Gypsey My Friend'. Musquito continued to deliver money to Gypsey's daughter Georgina until Musquito was captured in 1824 by another local Aborigine. When the death sentence was passed, Musquito replied: 'Hanging no bloody good for blackfellow …. Very good for whitefellow, he used to it'. Musquito was hanged in Hobart in 1825 alongside Black Jack.'

Sources: here and here.

Gypsey & Musquito

Gypsey & Musquito may have been dead for 185 years, but their names live on thanks to a new cafe on Bridge Road, Richmond: a street where for every brunch hit (eg Bosisto's, RHCL) there are several misses. Gypsey & Musquito, however, is definitely a hit in my book. The fitout is cosy and homely, especially the upstairs dining room which features colonial furniture and lots of natural light.

In keeping with the name and upstairs decor, cafe owners Kirrily Stewart and Anna Ingle have given the menu a very Australian flavour, with almost all of the dishes including a native Australian ingredient. Forget about those awful 1990s tourist restaurants serving dodgy quandong pannacotta - here, the use of native ingredients is much savvier and the effect is far more organic and pleasant.

Breakfast skillet

When I went there a few weekends ago with my gentleman friend, I braved the "breakkie skillet" ($16): a wee, cast-iron pan crammed with crispy bacon, tomato, field mushrooms, torn pieces of toast (that went slightly soggy from the juices of the other ingredients, like in a panzanella) and native riberry confit, topped with a crocodile sausage and a poached egg. Loved those tart little riberries! He had the potato and herb hash with crispy free range bacon, poached eggs and a luridly yellow lemon myrtle hollandaise ($14), and reported back favourably. The coffee (Five Senses on a Synesso) was also good, and if I'd still been hungry I'd've accompanied it with a moist-looking quince tea cake or lamington.

Potato and herb hashGypsey & Musquito

Oh, and there's free wifi, too. Add it to the list!


Essjayeff said...

Hi Claire, using native ingredients as you describe is a keen idea, I'm looking forward to trying them but ...what is the sausage thing that looks burnt on the left of your dish?

claire said...

Hi Essjay - the sausage thing is the crocodile sausage. Yes it was on the charred side! :)

Essjayeff said...

Ahh thanks. I've not tried crocodile as a sausage, only as a "steak" but I wasn't too keen on it. That's probably due to my fish aversion more than anything else, but the texture I found a bit nasty. I imagine the sausage would be a better way to address that texture.

I'll have to give it a go and see. Cheers

jess☆ said...

That breakfast skillet looks absolutely amazing.. Wow!! The crocodile sausage has certainly intrigued me...

Clance said...

Looks kinda daggy but sounds kinda good!
Nice find Claire.

brettski82 said...

Went to this place recently. The food was great, I had the benedict on hash, the hollandaise had a beautiful flavour and the hash was cooked to perfection. The only issue I had was how small the space was, kept having to move to stop people running into me. There was a small wait when we arrived but did not take long. The staff were run off their feet but did well at keeping the place under control. Three and a half stars out of five.