Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry announced on Monday that they’ll welcome a baby next year and the news added an extra layer of excitement – and planning – to their current Australian tour.
Behold the Fitzroyals!
The delightful Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan tried to sneak into inner-city Fitzroy yesterday, visiting social enterprise restaurant Charcoal Lane on Gertrude Street.
Needless to say, everyone cottoned on to this royal pop-up pretty quickly when their itinerary mentioned a visit to a social enterprise cafe which supports indigenous youth. Charcoal Lane fit the bill instantly – and was not too far from their preceding engagement at Government House.
Thus crowds lined the streets as the couple pulled up outside the venue (which is actually a very posh and innovative restaurant – and yes it is open to the public so you can sit, sip and snack where Meg and Harry did) and cheered wildly as they headed in for what was meant to be an ‘under-the-radar’ lunch.
“It was such a fantastic and humbling surprise to hear that Mission Australia’s restaurant, Charcoal Lane was chosen to welcome The Duke and Duchess for a tour, hands-on cooking session and lunch,” Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said on the restaurant’s website. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students to meet Their Royal Highnesses. Not too many young people can say they’ve met and served royalty!”
We were delighted to host The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today! While they were here our Aboriginal and Torres Strait…
“Is it always this clean?”
Executive chef Greg Hampton hosted the hungry royal sweethearts, giving them a tour of the kitchen which they seemed to find very, very tidy.
“Welcome, we are so happy to have you here,” Greg told the pair, following a traditional Welcome to Country delivered by Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter.
“You’ve got a very clean kitchen – is it always this clean? Especially clean today?” Harry suggested.
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Ingredients were lined up on the kitchen counters to give the couple an authentic taste of indigenous Australian cuisine.
“You can taste anything you like, just ask me first,” Greg told them, explaining that just one thing was off limits because – “I don’t want to freak you out!”
The ingredient in question? Tasmanian Pepper, which is apparently super-dooper spicy and might have unwanted side-effects.
“I would hesitate to offer Meghan the pepper because they are quite hot,” Greg had noted earlier. “The first time I tasted one I thought I was having an allergic reaction because the heat creeps up on you. I don’t want to freak her out.”
The royals did, however, make their way through a bunch of other interesting Australian ingredients. Smelling and tasting a broad selection.
“A lot of these ingredients have been here for thousands of years,” Greg told the royals. “Our fruits are the same as fruits thousands of years ago.”
After the kitchen tour, the pair settled into the dining room and had lunch away from prying eyes. A much-needed break in what is a very busy tour for someone in the fourth month of her pregnancy.
Young chefs and cooks from Charcoal Lane served an entree of mushroom and quinoa nest and chargrilled kangaroo and main courses of wild boar, saffron risotto and barramundi.
The royal stamp of approval
The restaurant employs 23 young people who are all working towards formal qualifications in hospitality.
“We also encourage locals and visitors to Melbourne to make a reservation at Charcoal Lane – there are not many places you can say you ate the same meal as the royal couple while also making a social difference!” a stoked Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said.
The pair stayed much longer than anticipated at this scheduled lunch stop, then sped through the city to Albert Park Primary School to meet delighted school children – and then took a tram to South Melbourne Beach before heading to the airport and flying back to Sydney.
Here’s hoping the Duchess got a hot bath, a room service burger and fries, and a good night’s sleep after the world’s most hectic day trip.