town on a plate – Pancho, Daylesford

Town on a Plate for spring has been provided by Lauren Bieber and Tom Crowe (chef) from Pancho in Daylesford. 

Lauren and Tom bought the café in July 2018 after moving from Melbourne and enjoyed a small hiatus from hospitality until a new opportunity presented itself. 

The couple are no strangers to the industry having run a café in Clifton Hill for 10 years adding a florist after 6 years. It seemed a strange mix, but Lauren studied at night school to be a florist for the new business. They ran the florist in tandem with the café for 7 years, then opened another restaurant in Clifton Hill in partnership with a friend and Lauren’s brother. This dynamic duo ran all three businesses successfully until they decided it was time to have a family, which meant the businesses were sold and they added to their family with two sons, then deciding they wanted to raise their boys in the country, moved to Campbells Creek. 

Settling into country life, Tom was working in Bendigo when the Daylesford café came on the market. Lauren says, “It was too good to pass up”. The transition into Pancho required closing the café for 5 weeks to “give it a good spruce up and update the kitchen” said Lauren. 

Drawing on their experience and hiring very professional, fit and energetic staff, their first year has been very successful. Their staff need to be fit as they are required to run up and down the spiral staircase carrying plates and dishes many times a day and they don’t miss a step.  The food at Pancho is simple, very tasty and both Lauren and Tom make sure that customers with dietary concerns are well looked after. The service here is second to none and really adds to a very pleasant, warm and welcoming experience.  Pancho is at 117 Vincent Street, Daylesford. 

Recipe Curried Omelette


For the potato: 
3 dutch cream potatoes, peeled and diced 
15-20 fresh curry leaves, torn 
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds 
2 tbsp coconut oil 
pinch garam masala spice mix

For the egg mix: 
6 free range eggs 
1 tsp mild curry powder such as Keens 
1 tbsp cream 
Fresh paneer (at Pancho we make our own, ricotta would be a fine substitute) 
Hot buttered toast, fresh herbs to garnish

We make our own garam masala from a mix of dry spices including cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, black pepper, fenugreek, cardamom and cinnamon amongst others. To make your own gently dry roast seeds in a pan, moving frequently, then grind in a spice grinder or blender. Fresh curry leaves are worth seeking out and any remainder can be popped in the freezer in a ziplock bag ready for the next curry night.

Curried Omelette


Cook potatoes in salted water until just tender, drain in colander and allow to steam dry. In same pan, melt coconut oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves, fry until toasted and fragrant. Once mustard seeds have popped, stir through potatoes and garam masala and season to taste.

For the omelette:

Melt a knob of butter in a non stick pan over a medium heat. Once pan is hot add half the egg mix. Allow to bubble slightly, then tilting the pan as you go, draw the edges of the egg into the middle, allowing runny egg mix to fill the gaps. You should end up with a scrambled texture on the bottom and just set on top. Turn off heat. Spoon potato mixture down the centre of the omelette, followed by the crumbled paneer. Roll omelette over filling with spatular. Slide omelette onto toast and garnish with fresh herbs, pickles and whatever condiments you like! At Pancho we serve this omelette with home made tamarind and date chutney and some local smoked trout.