It's all in the cooking at cosy cafe

28 Jul, 2012 02:00 AM
Sheila Realini (left), and Cosy Corner owner Robyn Cotton with one of their best sellers, the lemon cheesecake at the Cosy Corner Store & Cafe.
Sheila Realini (left), and Cosy Corner owner Robyn Cotton with one of their best sellers, the lemon cheesecake at the Cosy Corner Store & Cafe.

THOUGH the hours are long and the work is tiresome, Robyn Cotton is adamant she is living her dream.

After putting her computer science degree to work in the IT field for most of her life, Robyn decided to follow her passion for food and entertaining.

She opened the Cosy Corner Store & Cafe in Torbay 12 months ago, determined to create a bustling hub of great food, coffee and atmosphere.

If the smiling faces and full bellies stepping out of her beloved cafe are anything to go by, it's a job well done.

"I've always had a passion for entertaining," Robyn said.

"I think I've always been a very good cook, but I'm a show-off cook - it's something I've always loved and found easy to do.

"If I'm cooking just for me then it will probably be cheese on toast, but if I'm having people over then it's all stops out.

"Now I'm trying to live my life for what I want to do, for my passion, rather than just what makes money.

"The nicest compliment I've had is when someone told me they couldn't imagine me doing anything else."

Situated halfway between Albany and Denmark, Robyn's cafe has fast become a favourite with locals and tourists, with some regulars coming from as far as Mt Barker for their fix.

It's in a perfect location and when the building became available, Robyn said she would have walked over hot coals to secure it.

Location is one thing but she doesn't beat around the bush; if you ask why people frequent the cafe she will quite frankly tell you it's because she makes good food.

While she does most of the cooking and recipe creation, Robyn said the boutique size of the business meant her team were all multi-taskers.

"We love what we do and I'm fortunate to have fantastic local staff, who are equally as passionate," she said.

The menu changes regularly, as Robyn is also passionate about utilising local seasonal produce.

"We want to keep enticing people back again and they never quite know what's going to be on the menu," she said.

"There are a few staples that we've become quite famous for, such as our Thai fish cakes, which we keep being told, are the best in the world.

"We also do really good seafood - we only cook fish if we can get it fresh."

That means getting a call from their fisherman while he's on his boat to inform them of the day's catch and meeting him when he docks to select and collect their fish.

"There's been many times where we've walked through the cafe carrying fish for filleting," Robyn laughs.

"The customers love it."

Robyn spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up a storm, and loves the fact that all their cakes, biscuits and slices are homemade from the finest produce.

All the syrups for milkshakes and smoothies are also made on-site from real ingredients and coffee is brewed from Naked Bean Coffee beans.

"We support as many local suppliers as we can and I don't care if I pay a bit more for it," Robyn said.

"Exclusively we use Ravenhill milk, as well as local vegetable growers for whatever produce they can supply.

"We have a source of local asparagus just about to come back online and they also grow raspberries at the same place, which we use to make things like beautiful raspberry tarts."

The Cosy Corner Store & Cafe is currently on reduced opening hours for winter, open Wednesday-Friday from 9-4, Saturday-Sunday from 8-5 and is open for dinner on Friday-Saturday (bookings essential).

During busy periods, such as around the Christmas/New Year period and school holidays, the cafe will be open seven days 8am-5pm and for dinner.

"It can be pretty crazy but I love it," Robyn said.

"I want to establish this place and have it running really well, and expand the outside area.

"Once this is humming, I would like to think about starting a second one."



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