When you’re the tool of the day…

Why would the fifteen-year-old Tom opine such a comment from the back seat of his Dad’s car as we wend our way out of Cooma on Sunday night? Being one of four tired, sore, happy boys on their way back from the snow? Research data has its price.


Since 1977 there has been a Greek milk bar/café/restaurant just north of the main roundabout in the main street of Cooma. My research data tells me so. We visited this restaurant, the Tourist Cafe Restaurant & BYO, three times on this trip. The first time, at 7.30 on Thursday night, was to discover that they only do takeaways between 7.30 and eight, as they try to clear the dining room of guests. On Thursday there were two more-elderly-than-any-of-us grey-haired gents busy writing at tables at either end of the dining room as we waited for our takeaways, and they weren’t budging. But a nice touch, which added to the ambience, we thought.

Back in the car, we gobbled the fall-apart hamburger, the steak sandwich, and the chicken burgers, but we burnt our tongues, didn’t we? Ouch. “With the lot” means, of course with the geometric pineapple ring, which stings a burnt tongue, and equally precise slices of beetroot, which soothes a burnt tongue. Yum, (or nom nom, as they say these days – etymology, please?). Thus distracted, we headed off snow-wards. Until we got to Cooma Airport (the only paddock without boulders some 20 kms further south) when yours truly went all wobbly. The pressure of his wallet was missing from his pocket-nerve. He went pale (it was dark) and clammy (it was cold). He checked everywhere. Was it lost when we stopped to check the rear door? Or when he binned the remains of the repast? Or in the restaurant itself? And how do you cancel cards when all your info is in the wallet you’ve just lost? All my eggs in the one basket (a cooking metaphor).

Fifteen minutes later we screech to a halt outside the Greek milk bar/café/restaurant. Two smiling ladies are just locking the doors. My wallet in hand. They’d been calling the number on my business card! My phone was, of course, inaudible in my back pack in the boot… U-turn. We are all happy again. Tool of the day? Not yet…


The third time we visit the Greek milk bar/café/restaurant was at 7.15 on Sunday night, on our way home, tired, sore, happy despite the one bruised coccyx. We are just in time to eat in. Tom orders the lamb chops, to everyone’s surprise. To everyone’s greater surprise he opines that the waitress had a mouth like Bellatrix Lestrange. Well now that is something. We had assumed Tom and Axel ignored the other gender. Especially given the beauty of the snowboard instructress Yulie, which they had claimed not to have noticed earlier in the day. And as you see, and as the Cooma Bellatrix opined, the tables are not big enough. And in keeping with tradition, the white bread and butter (Tatura Choicest Butter) was complementary.

The Sunday night ambience was made perfect by the group of eight ladies having dinner in the front window, Nighthawks-style. They were all colour-coded to the mauve theme of the décor.


(With thanks to Bruce for the over-the-shoulder phone cam photography).

And yes, there was a writer at the other end of the dining room. Mother was working on a laptop, son doing his homework. Or so we guessed. A Greek-language soap opera with subtitles was playing on the telly. Perfect. And so was the food, in its classic milk bar/café/restaurant style. Tom got a pile of four large chops and salad. The John Dories were OK, given their distance from the sea. Maybe the Woolworths Select Tartere sauce was a compromise, but the iceberg lettuce salad, shredded inside a lettuce leaf, garnished with green and red thin-sliced crunchy capsicum, was very Continental. It says so on the window. Now your writer needed some of the fine details in the mauve-coloured menu, so in the interests of blogscience he slipped a menu in his pocket. Essential research data. As you see.

To this felony he admitted, once in the safety of Tom’s Dad’s car, as we wended our way out of Cooma. Tom: “You really are the tool of the day, Nigel.”


6 thoughts on “When you’re the tool of the day…

  1. Ooh! Must try this place, although we never go through the centre of Cooma because we nip through Polo Flat (the turn to the left just before the run into Cooma, that takes you into the (ahem) Cooma Industrial Zone) en route to Bega, and partake of the awesomely wonderful greasefest that is the Polo Flat truckstop. That place is wonderful in a very “I’m in a hurry in my truck and want to eat my body-weight in hot food next to the fire and the tv” sort of way.

  2. Burgers and chips, white bread and a vanilla milkshake, fabric roses. A perfect example of Average Man Eating Establishments that are so loved by so many, including me. Such places facilitate the kind of comfort dining where spilling sauce down your front is nothing to be ashamed of, and knowing nothing about the wine list is never an issue. God forbid we shall ever see their demise. Was there actually anything Greek on the menu?

    Great photos, by the way. Note that the Tool of the Day also gets a halo. And you might want to tell Tom that stealing a menu is a relatively minor misdemeanour when considering the many other travesities that have been committed in the name of social research.

  3. Noice, Nige. Must say though that we’re Polo Flat habituees ourselves. On the odd occasion I’ve been to the Tourist Cafe (usually cos the bus to the coast stops there) the waffles and icecream and syrup are the go – take me straight back to Coles Cafeteria circa 1960-something. Bloody marvellous.

  4. Pingback: Hey! You just missed Petrov’s car! | iconophilia

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