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I first came across chef Keith Drouin when he catered for a dinner party at a homestead where I was staying in Laidley, and was so impressed by his cooking (scallops wrapped in prosciutto and wild barra served on squid ink pasta with fresh local spinach) that I decided to check out his café/restaurant in nearby Forest Hill. It may seem a long way to go for breakfast or lunch, but it’s only 50km past Ipswich, and in this weather the Lockyer Valley is the perfect place for a weekend drive, with pretty scenery and the weekend markets in Laidley on the fourth Sunday of the month. Forest Hill is one of those tiny Queensland country villages which are part of our collective history not changing very much in the past 50 years, except for a lick of a cheer-up paint. Here, Though, that mainstay of small town life, the local post office, has been transformed by the Drouin family into a gift shop and café, in addition to all the usual business things that post offices do. This has led to some charming little quirks, such as the fact the café has no credit card facilities, so that you have to shuffle through the gift shop[, past local crafts and get to the post office part to pay your bill, where you’ll probably want to buy some postcards and stamps even on Sunday. Here you’ll meet lots of friendly locals and Keith’s very chatty mum, and in no time you’ll be accepted as one of the community. And you will get very good tucker, too, with some pleasant surprises, for Keith is no self-taught country cook but has worked in some very classy restaurants all over the world. It’s just that these days he prefers a quiet life, and what better place to do it than in his home town where the locals and savvy tourists know a good thing when they get it. We were there for breakfast and were delighted to see, apart from the usual suspects, an Italian antipasto plate of smoked and cured meats from the local butcher, local fruit, hard boiled eggs, Keith’s own dips and crusty ciabatta from the local bakery – an economical choice for two people. Eggs benedict is a must on any breakfast menu , and Keith’s is called Coastal Bennie, with smoked salmon, avocado and fresh tomato added to the usual poached egg on ciabatta toast, served with Keith’s own lemon hollandaise($18). I had a tender piece of salmon fillet served with poached egg with some sautéed red and green capsicums, fresh tomatoes and thick toast sparked up with lime juice, while the two year old with us made his messy way through a pile of crisp thin pancakes layered with strawberries and real cream ($15.50). Luckily we were sitting outside in the pretty courtyard so we were able to sluice him down from the fountain. I could go on, with a mention of out-of –the-usual lunches like breaded an d flash fried slices of barramundi served on lettuce, tomato and onion with fresh red pesto and lime juice for ($12.50); or shrimp creole where the prawns are cooked in a mild herb butter and served with garlic bread ($10.50); or the interesting addition to sandwich filling like apple salsa, grape relish and crispy potatoes, all house made. The thing that impressed me most was not just Keith’s innovative touch but the fact that all the produce comes from the Lockyer Valley, and that he makes all the delicious preserves and the wicked cakes from scratch. So do yourself a favour. Café 4342 is worth a drive. The Courier-Mail Friday, May 14,2010   Check out Tripadvisor.com.au for more recent reviews   Check out Tripadviser for more updated testimonials