Red Dirt Borroloola

Should takeaways be considered in these pages? A question I have dwelled upon for the latter half of today. Does a takeaway that opens out on to a common seating area count as a cafe? What if I was able to order the same meal and eat within the establishment, would it be valid subject matter?

These are the big questions…

Take five humble ingredients: white bread, ham, cheese, tomato, and an egg. Fashion them together in some order, add salt, pepper, lightly butter the outside and then gently toast each side until the cheese just melts – no more. Oh, you may have to fry the egg first. The exquisite result is the best toasted sandwich of its kind in the Northern Territory, and cooked at Red Dirt Borroloola. In my opinion.

After not having had a store-made “toastie” since my tradie days some 25 years ago (I kid you not), I walked into the Red Dirt while in a fussy mood several months ago and wanted something fresh; that I knew had been made just for me.

Can one wax too lyrical about a humble toastie?

As much as I love runny yolks, I certainly didn’t expect so on the toastie. Then or today. And today’s toastie was as good as that first one several months ago. The thick bread slices were fresh, toasted golden and crisp. The filling was – hurrah! – not overcooked. But neither cold; simply just fresh. The salt and pepper not only sharpened the taste, but had become ingredients of their own. Handling the toastie was a joy, not some greasy snack that leaves you wiping your hands for ages afterwards. A well executed (engineered?) meal.

Like unwrapping a painting you bought off eBay, unwrapping the toastie revealed a work of art. If there had been an illuminated too-good-to-be-true picture advertising toasties above the counter, then this would have surely been the model for that photo shoot… The thick toastie was – fortunately – cut for my convenience, and held together well while eating.

The real dilemma here is that I don’t think I’ll order another one back home; could anything match it? I can’t justify the charter flight back just for a toastie at a cafe / takeaway situated literally in the red dirt. And so.., if you’re travelling in the Borroloola area and ready for a bite, I certainly know where I would be heading…

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