5 July 2023

Five minutes with Luke Walton and Kym Fraser, Niagara Cafe

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Niagara Cafe owners Luke Walton and Kym Fraser.

Niagara Cafe owners Luke Walton and Kym Fraser. Photo: Effy Alexakis.

Who are Luke Walton and Kym Fraser: We are Sydneysiders who saw an opportunity to restore the famous Niagara Cafe in Gundagai. We commenced the restoration in 2021 and reopened the cafe in June 2022. We were very familiar with the cafe for about 30 years from when we used to travel a lot between Melbourne and Sydney. We’ve done quite a few residential renovation projects and we were attracted to the restoration work of the cafe. We didn’t want to lose the cafe because of its rarity and there are very few left with the original fitout as intact as it was. We were drawn to the importance of preserving it without sounding like martyrs. We both met 20 years ago socially when we were living in Melbourne.

Best recent dining experience: Our best recent dining experience was at Bistro Moncur in Woolhara in Sydney. The quality of the food was excellent.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Andrew Buik, The Oakroom Kitchen & Bar

Favourite cuisine: Our favourite cuisine is Japanese but we really like every cuisine.

What ingredient can we not live without: We can’t live without garlic.

Most embarrassing pantry item: Deviled ham in a jar and it’s been in the pantry for a few months now.

The Niagara Poach

A must-try breakfast item – The Niagara Poach. Photo: The Niagara Cafe Gundagai.

How many Weet-Bix do we do: None. We are strictly coffee-only before noon kind of people.

Best coffee spot: The Niagara, of course!

Favourite coffee: We both like drinking flat white.

Grilled salad

Grilled salad with sliced avocado, mesclun and a delicious creamy dressing. Photo: The Niagara Cafe Gundagai.

What’s your coffee blend: Genovese – Super Brazil.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: Five-shot cappuccino with seven sugars. We’ve received the order more than once. Not sure if it’s the same person. You always think you misheard them.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: Our new Sunday roast special with brisket mash and veggies.


The Niagara Cafe uses Genovese – Super Brazil as their coffee blend. Photo: The Niagara Cafe Gundagai.

Favourite place to lunch in Gundagai: Lotts Family Hotel is great for a pub meal. It’s a quintessential country pub that has been in the same family for generations. It’s a popular spot in Gundagai.

A must-try on our menu: The Niagara Poach for breakfast with sourdough toast, topped with avocado, beetroot relish, two poached eggs, seeds, nuts and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Most used ingredient: Butter.

Men at a cafe counter

Luke and Kym were drawn to the importance of preserving the Greek cafe. Photo: Effy Alexakis.

Our top pick from our desserts: Our resident chef Boss’s (Thanakorn Udomsangpetch) fried ice cream.

My biggest culinary influence: Kym’s grandmother. She’s of Italian descent and has traditional family recipes. She was the one who got Kym interested in cooking.

Favourite cookbook: River Cafe London by Ruth Rogers.

Classic eggs Benedict

Classic eggs Benedict with poached eggs, creamy hollandaise sauce and your choice of bacon, shaved ham or salmon. Photo: The Niagara Cafe Gundagai.

Who do we admire in the Gundagai food and wine scene: Our resident chef, Boss. He’s a very skilled chef who meets the need of the average Aussie cafe menu as well as bringing Gundgai some pretty special Asian influence dishes from time to time.

What are this week’s specials at Niagara Cafe: Roasted pork and nectarine toastie and pumpkin and roasted tomato soup.

Niagara Cafe burgers

Niagara Cafe burgers are served with fresh salad, and crispy fries. Photo: The Niagara Cafe Gundagai.

Death row meal: A good beef tartare.

Where are we travelling to next: We are heading to Port Douglas for a holiday in September.

Dream destination: We used to go to New York fairly regularly and it has been on the agenda for some time. It’s one of our favourite places. Japan and Greece are on our list. Will probably go to Greece before Japan.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Rea Brett, Merino Cafe

Our biggest fear: Our next energy bill.

Our least favourite food: Offal.

Our top three cooking tips: Use quality ingredients, have adequate prep time and show lots of love in the (cooking) process.

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