Revamped cafe a haven for families

By Andrew Bonallack editor@age.co.nz -
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Keith Marshall, co-manager of The Lake House in Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
Keith Marshall, co-manager of The Lake House in Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

MINIMALIST, tranquil and family-friendly -- those are the qualities customers at the reopened Queen Elizabeth Park cafe will be greeted with.

The renamed The Lakehouse cafe, formerly Cafe Cecille, opened on Wednesday under the management of Keith and Gail Marshall.

The cafe offers service Wednesday to Friday, 11am to late, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the weekend.

Mr Marshall said they approached the Masterton District Council in October with an expression of interest for a three-year lease, which was accepted in February.

"We're a cafe during the day, and during the night we offer restaurant-type meals with service."

The Marshalls have made the most of the vintage interior and woodwork. Mr Marshall said it just needed "a damn good clean".

A chandelier that was wasted in the bathroom now is a central attraction in the wooden ceiling in the dining area.

The work of photographer Geoff Walker decorates much of the central area.

Adjacent to the bar is a carpeted lounge with a fire and numerous historic prints on the walls.

"The whole idea was to be minimalistic, subtle, but do it right."

Mr Marshall is a former Air New Zealand flight attendant, for business and first class travellers, and said he was used to good hospitality.

"I have a lot of people experience."

The cafe is a family affair, with his daughter-in-law Suzie working front of house and "organising everything, from staff training, to getting knives and forks. And my son, Cody, is the head chef".

Mothers with prams were prominent among the clientele yesterday, and Mr Marshall said that was what the cafe was about.

"This is a family thing," he said. "We are very much into family. We welcome young mothers with their children."

"Our focus is good quality food at a reasonable price, with locally sourced products -- particularly wine."

He and Mrs Marshall loved how the cafe was in the park, in a beautiful setting, beside the Queen Elizabeth Park lake and miniature train.

"Hence the name -- we were working out what to call it, and we came up with The Lakehouse."

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