10 November 2023

Five minutes with Farhana Amir, Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Farhana Amir and Priyanka Bathula

(Left) Farhana Amir and her business partner Priyanka Bathula had a busy opening week at Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Farhana Amir: I own Oliver Brown Belgian Cafe in Wagga. I moved to Australia from Bangladesh in 2016 and started working for my family business, Guzman y Gomez. At the same time, I was studying medical lab science studies at Charles Sturt University. I worked at Griffith Base Hospital and then at Wagga Base Hospital pathology lab. I started thinking about opening my own business. I had an idea of how franchise businesses work and while I was exploring what I could do, my business partner Priyanka Bathula told me she would love to open something like Oliver Brown in Wagga. We researched and found nothing similar to Oliver Brown in the region.

Best recent dining experience: The Roundabout Restaurant in Wagga. My husband and I went for my birthday and we had the five-course meal.

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Favourite cuisine: My favourite is Bangladeshi cuisine and I also love Thai food as well.

What ingredient can I not live without: I cannot live without my chillies.

Most embarrassing pantry item: I would say pickles. I eat a lot of them and a huge range of them.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I used to have just one when I went to work early in the morning.

Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe menu

Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe will be open from 8 am to 9 pm. Photo: Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe.

Best coffee spot in Wagga: Aside from Oliver Brown, I would say S&D Living. Sheila makes great coffee.

Favourite coffee: I like drinking mocha.

What’s your coffee blend: It’s an authentic Oliver Brown blend.

Oliver Brown hot chocolate

Oliver Brown has various hot chocolate flavours. Photo: Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: I haven’t got any weird orders yet, but my husband told me once he got someone asking for one-third shot of caffeine with extra milk and extra hot.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: Oliver Brown, of course. I have seen other restaurants coming, but I am unsure when.

Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: Thaigaa and Tammy’s Thai Kitchen. I love Thai food.

A must-try on our menu: The coffee, hot chocolates and the waffles.

Belgian Waffles

Oliver Brown Belgian Waffles are must-tries. Photo: Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe.

Most used ingredient at Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe: Belgian chocolates.

Our top pick from our desserts: The Belgian waffle and the fruity crepe.

My biggest culinary influence: My mum. I used to watch my mum cooking while growing up. She used to create fusion dishes with normal curries. She would add her twist to make it different.

Favourite cookbook: No. Not yet, because my mum still hasn’t written one. I told her just last month to start writing down her recipes so I don’t have to call her every time I’m trying to make something similar.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: Guzman y Gomez. I know inside out how passionate Guzman people are about their food. I also admire Robert and Tammy from Thaigaa.

breakfast at Oliver Brown

Oliver Brown also offers a breakfast menu. Photo: Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe.

What are this week’s specials at Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe: We don’t have any yet but are planning to have them.

Death row meal: Anything cooked by my mum.

Where am I travelling to next: The next on my bucket list is Turkey.

Dream destination: My dream destination is Greece.

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My biggest fear: My biggest fear is water. I don’t know how to swim. As much as I love the ocean and going to the beach, I’m scared of the big waves and tsunamis.

My least favourite food: I don’t like red meat.

My top three cooking tips: Cook with love. Follow the recipe. Try and taste it before you serve it to others.

Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe is at 5/135 Baylis Street, Wagga Wagga, and will be open from 8 am to 9 pm.

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