It’s Sunday morning, and a crowd gathers under a candy-striped awning on a quiet stretch of picture-pretty Annandale. A mural of baked goods, condiments and preserves is a promising sign of things to come. It’s a justifiably happy portrait of Cherry Moon General Store, a venture between chef Kimmy Gastmeier and fermentation enthusiast Aimee Graham, with a helping hand from the seemingly ubiquitous Mary’s Group.
There’s an air of chaotic excitement among families and friends keen for a mismatched chair at the communal indoor tables inset with kangaroo grass, amaranth and seedpods Gastmeier found in the Northern Territory. A hanging shop sign is adorned with Gastmeier’s grandmother’s handwriting and native blooms. Bric-a-brac Gastmeier purchased with her first paycheck (she has worked at Rockpool, Tetsuya’s and Nomad) lines the shelves alongside bags of 212 Blu’s Loggerhead coffee beans, which are also expertly brewed on the premises.
Cheeses, Mailer McGuire kombucha, housemade pickles, seasonal jams, ice creams and even smudge sticks prove that the ‘General Store’ portion of the name (Cherry Moon is a nod to Prince) is no afterthought. Meanwhile, the open kitchen is busy putting together breakfast toast and granola, with smoked butter croissants, filled-to-bursting sandwiches and sausage rolls also on offer. At $8 a slice, the daily pizza and focaccia are impossible to ignore, particularly when there’s a tempting wild mushroom and rainbow chard number up for grabs. Lavender Portuguese tarts, and lemon myrtle and blackcurrant meringues also beckon from that front counter.
Humble breads flavoured with wild ambition come to life in a lovingly handcrafted oven named Apollonia: rye with malt molasses and caraway; amaranth and lavender; a gluten-free ‘Life-changing Bread’ made of sprouted buckwheat, seeds and nuts. They’ve won over locals, who’ve even brought cumquats and potatoes to inspire future creations.
Wood-fired sourdough features on a Ploughman’s Plate with chicken liver pâté, bitey cheddar, crisp crudités and crimson snow apple. The Perfect Circle Bowl, a $20 lunch special that name-checks Graham’s line of fermented goods, sees the sweet-umami char of wood-fired miso pumpkin balanced with slippery soba noodles, kimchi and a textural hit of deep-fried enoki mushrooms and chickpeas. Savour blood orange upside-down cake with feather-light cream for the finale, or try a chamomile-poached pear and almond tart with flaky, crunchy, butter-rich pastry.
Cherry Moon sweeps you up in nostalgia, generosity and the alchemy of good food bringing people together. Apollonia may be the heart and soul, but Gastmeier and Graham give her its irrepressible spirit. Prince may not be here, but The Revolution – one driven by genuine hospitality – certainly is.