Stirling teems with creatures. With artists and writers, and painters and poets. With families that fancy the charm and the trees, and singles and couples that love the beauty and prestige. And there are always guests in Stirling. Wandering around, popping into shops, bathing in dappled sunlight on benches, and sitting on chairs at tables. Reading raggedy novels, pressing buttons at the ATM, fossicking for organic produce, and sitting under trees works up an appetite and so, the creatures must eat.
In this most beautiful of towns, there are many places for eating and drinking. I’ve tried a few, but sometimes my outfit isn’t quite right, my pennies aren’t quite plentiful enough, and my conversation doesn’t appreciate the surrounding noise. So it’s then that I, a hungry creature, scurry toward Tranquilo.
You’d be forgiven if you thought Tranquilo was an Adelaide Hills day spa where ladies with tiny feet and topknots rub your face with mud and tickle your feet with baby chicks. It certainly sounds like it could be. But it’s not. It is, however, just as soothing to the soul. Especially when sunshine and white wine are involved.
I’ve never had a bad meal at Tranquilo. The breakfasts are moreish and generous, and the spread of mains, particulary in winter, is heavy with slow-cooked meat, and saucy pasta. The inside glows with golden walls, like saffron in cream. And the floor, corner bar, and tables are glossy shellacked chocolate brown. And as the sounds of foaming milk shhhoerr and quorr in the background, you’d almost be fooled into thinking you’re somewhere Tuscan. The giant framed photo of the Sturt Dessert Pea snaps you back to an Australian reality soon enough. An indie/pop mix of tunes, like Missy Higgins, and Radiohead appease the old-timers and appeal to the young ones.
Tranquilo isn’t pretentious. The creatures that visit are always a wonderfully odd mix. Sweet still-smitten old couples, like Mr and Mrs Badger, or hipsters with facial hair like Mr Tumnus, enjoy this place as much as each other. And I wonder if they come here for the coffee like me?
You see, I’ve never had a coffee at Tranquilo that wasn’t excellent. I’ve been perched by the fire on an icy winter’s night and it was perfectly woody. I’ve downed a creamy cap with breakfast on a weary weekend morning. I’ve nabbed a takeaway and sat in the park with a pal. And this past Sunday I sipped a soy one in the sun. And each time, I get more joy from that cup than is socially acceptable. And with change from a fiver, that kind of quality is worth every penny.
People live in and visit Stirling because of what it offers – beautiful shops and stores, some really great places to eat, and a whole host of houses and scenery that is so darn appealing to the eye. Creative souls have spun many stories, songs and sculptures in this town. Weary eyed creatures rely on a watering hole – a place, or many a place, where they can visit and be nourished, and perhaps even purchase elixir in a cup. They’re in the right town.
The creatures slink out of their treed-in units, five-bedroom burrows, and midnight blue parked cars, and pad their way around town, following their noses to find something to fill their bellies. In an abundant town like this, the creatures get confused. Too much isn’t good unless what’s on offer is excellent. And all this creature knows is that a cuppa at Tranquilo is true to the bean, and heaps true to your tastebuds.