What is your connection to Brimbank?
I live in Keilor Park now, but I grew up in Sunshine and have always had a connection to the Brimbank area. I used to play tennis at the Sunshine Park Tennis Club, and a few years ago I helped organise an Australia Day event.
What do you like best about the area?
I think it’s a very livable area, very honest, and that’s what makes it great. It’s a very multicultural and embracing place to live, and I think that’s the biggest strength of Brimbank.
What could make the area better?
Probably having some more cafes, restaurants and eateries would be nice. That would be fantastic to showcase all the different nationalities that live here, and especially to attract more young people to come out. And food vans, you can never have too many food vans.
What are your favourite places to go eat?
I really like a Malaysian place called Chef Lagenda; it’s very authentic cuisine and I always like that in food. Sunshine Chicken is a bit of a family favourite too.
How did you come up with Cafe Verdala?
I’ve been continually frustrated that Maltese cuisine doesn’t have a shining light in the foodie scene, and I’ve always thought about opening a cafe that can showcase that.
The opportunity came up over Christmas and we’ve made it a reality very quickly. We fell in love with the space at the Maltese Cultural Centre.
How did you come up with the name?
The Verdala Palace is a famous palace in Malta. It was built by the Knights of St John in 1585 in the middle of one of the only forests in Malta, and it’s got a significant place in the history of the castle. Now it is the president’s summer palace, so we wanted to pay homage to that.
What can people expect?
We’ll have all local cooks showcasing the best of Maltese cuisine. It will be a mixture of Maltese products and artisan cooks from around Melbourne, many of whom already make a lot of Maltese products. Some standards … some new stuff. We’ve also got Maria Vella – Great Australian Bake
Off – coming in every week.
Cafe Verdala is open on Sundays, 8am–3pm, at 27 Talmage Street, Albion.