Located down the back streets of Lithgow, where no tourist would accidentally stumble, is Secret Creek. However, for those who are interested in finding good food, the secret is definitely out, as word-of-mouth suggestions and many raving reviewers sing their praises.
The cafe is right in the middle of Secret Creek Santuary - a wildlife sanctuary that is home to emus, wallabies, dingoes, and some other of our native species. In order to enter the cafe, visitors go through the two gates that keep the animals inside and meander past some of the inhabitants. Once inside, in a country-style, rustic setting, is where the food fun begins.
Damper with accompaniments $9
Lamb shank with mashed potato and vegetables $18
Sticky date pudding
We weren't able to order kangaroo, as we had been informed that they had run out of roo skewers, but we didn't really miss it as an option, as neither of us would have been able to go through with eating it after walking past a couple of their smaller friends on the way in. Instead we ordered some chicken, lamb (none of them were walking around outside), and damper to begin. The damper was a fresh, warm start to the meal with two tasty herb butters that together made a perfect start to settle in for our feed.
The mains were tasty and very well prepared. My lamb shank was perfectly cooked, and I revelled in that special moment when meat slides off the bone with the touch of a fork.
Meanwhile, on boy's plate was a stunning looking chicken burger. I'm a sucker for a chicken burger that includes bacon, so was glad when boy ordered it. Purely for research purposes, it was necessary for me to try some of his meal. A point of difference with this burger was the addition of basil pesto and baby spinach, my stolen bite tasted super-healthy, and if I were a fan of baby spinach, I would definitely have been angling for some more.
Never ones to leave without dessert, we decided to share a sticky date pudding, and were greeted with this delicious sight. I'm an opinionated sticky date consumer. For me, my main objections are being served the cake without enough sauce, or having cream as the side, rather than ice cream. No such problems here, as the super-moist cake was served with a dollop of ice cream and a flood of sauce that kept the pickiest of eaters happy.
Secret Creek serves up hearty cafe fare that really is extremely good value. The fact that the owners have a philosophy of conservation, and source their ingredients from local and ethical producers helps their visitors enjoy their experience even more.
Secret Creek Cafe
35 Crane Road