I’m on my second cup of coffee,
And I still can’t face the dawn…
– Gordon Lightfoot
For true coffee lovers that ‘heart-starting’ morning sip is a moment to be savoured and enjoyed, so tourists and Islanders are always keen to find a steaming mug of their favourite brew on Norfolk. For many their first port of call is The Olive Café in the Village, where the heady aroma and mellow flavour of Campos coffee will sustain them through a leisurely breakfast or a busy day. Naomi ‘Nomes’ Thompson, the owner, welcomes Olive regulars and newcomers warmly and expertly pours flat whites, lattes, cappuccinos and other beverages. Hearty meals, and a delicious array of Nomes’ own freshly baked sweet and savoury treats, are available seven days a week, making The Olive an attractive ‘hangout’ and daytime eatery for residents and visitors.
From 2007, when Trina Shepherd originally opened the cafe, it’s been an Island favourite. Customers appreciate its relaxed atmosphere and elegant décor, as well as the wide range of tasty food and drinks on offer. Bright and airy, the indoor and outdoor seating options allow Olive patrons to have cosy catch-ups with friends or indulge in a little ‘people-watching’.
Nomes discovered The Olive in 2009 while staying on Norfolk, with her family, for Christmas. As someone with extensive experience in the Hospitality Industry she liked its coffee, and ambience, and noted that the café was for sale. A few months after returning to Sydney, Nomes’ dad suggested she consider running The Olive as a sea-change, and she found the idea very appealing. It was a chance to escape the ‘big smoke’ and live on a beautiful island so, in August 2010, Nomes moved to Norfolk and took over the business.
She stepped out of the ‘fast lane’ and hasn’t looked back. Nomes feels she’s been embraced by the Island and, in the past eight years, has put her own stamp on The Olive. Backed by experienced staff like Joy Steven, and other cheery locals, she has built on their loyal following, renovating and enlarging The Olive, and happily sponsoring community groups and events. A keen golfer, Nomes supports the Golf Club and is also involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Norfolk’s annual Food Festival. She is President of NATIN – an organisation that helps Island families access medical services in Australia – and genuinely loves Norfolk’s laid-back and friendly lifestyle.
Nomes is proud of the hard-working Olive crew and aims to keep on making great coffee, while showcasing the best of Norfolk’s seasonal produce in traditional café meals and more unusual fare. Fostering a good vibe, and dining experience, for her customers is paramount and Nomes, a self-confessed ‘foodie’, is not afraid to experiment or tinker with the menu. There’s a tasty sushi salad, gluten free and vegetarian options and a willingness to try new, funky dishes, suggested by chef Kurt Menghetti, while retaining ‘tried and true’ favourites.
Olive patrons are passionate about their café – Jill Doidge lives on Norfolk and believes: “It’s their food… the variety of fresh, home-grown produce. I always recommend The Olive to my family and guests – you get to eat with the seasons”.
Teri Forsyth visits, with her husband and young son, from New Zealand and says: “We’ve been to Norfolk seven times and The Olive is always the first place we go; the food is amazing and the coffee even better. Nomes runs a fantastic café and she makes children feel extra special”.
So, make The Olive part of your Norfolk holiday – be tempted by their wonderful coffee, tea and culinary delights. Why not linger, say ‘Hello’ to Nomes and the team… treasure those Island memories…and treat yourself to a second cup…
Image Credit: Robin Nisbet
Article content disclaimer: Article first published in Discover Norfolk, Volume 02 Issue 02, 2018. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.