Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enjoy a bite in the sunshine at...

Farm Cafe

Open: Monday to Friday - 9am to 4pm, Weekends - 9am to 5pm

Phone: (03) 9415 6581

Address: 18 St Heliers St Abbotsford, Melbourne

I cannot say enough brilliant things about this natural and atmospheric café. It is the perfect way to spend a sunny day. Slightly raised on an incline, the view of the lush, green hills and the horse paddocks are topped only by the gigantic hens and cats lingering about – it is just the way I remember Collingwood Children’s Farm from when I used to visit in my younger days. The café lets you experience it all over again with a good excuse (not that I need one).

Completely outside and not sheltered from the elements, make sure you visit in nice weather; otherwise this utterly charming experience might be ruined for you. There is no entry fee to dine at the café as it is just before the main entrance of the farm. The crowd is a mixture of mothers with their young children, immigrants from other countries and stylish twenty-somethings from nearby Brunswick Street.

There is a strong ‘farm’ theme, of course. Upon the red brick ground, carved wooden benches overlook the distant view, tables are placed both in and out of the sunshine, and wooden railings, gates and thatched stick walls surround the entire set up.
There is even a small tree stump table under some vegetation slightly to the side of the café – you might be able to snag it if you are lucky. In line with the theme, little plastic animals are displayed for sale in the counter. Mind you, they didn’t tempt me as much as the cup cakes, muffins and slices on the other side!

The menu boasts that “most bits are made here, making sure it is fresh, free of unnecessary nasties and super tasty.” It doesn’t lie. Organic, free range and biodynamic, it is near impossible to chose from the menu. I started with a spicy chai latte in a mug. The cinnamon and nutmeg were blended beautifully and the subtle, lingering kick made it superior to your average café chai.

Luckily I wasn’t dining alone, which meant that I was able to share three meals. Although the Zucchini Fritters and cinnamon infused Granola shouted out to be eaten, we ended up agreeing on the Goat’s Toast, made up of colourful beetroot relish, fresh baby spinach, avocado and marinated goat’s cheese on sourdough. We went the whole hog (no pun intended) and got a poached egg on the side for an extra $1.50. The ingredients were extremely generous; for a change the sides actually outweighed the amount of toast.

The Slow Cooked Beans were also very tasty. They came in a tomato and fennel seed sauce with marinated feta and fresh herbs, served with sourdough toast and a poached egg.

We also scoffed down the Medjool Date Loaf. It came with sesame, almonds, fresh banana, warm butterscotch sauce, and a dollop of mascarpone. Homemade, sweet, and a perfect way to finish the meal, I was left wanting more. I didn’t dare look at the daily specials board – it would have made the choice too difficult.

Although the Farm Café is somewhat infested with young children, none of them seem to be crying or throwing tantrums like in other cafes. Instead, laughter mixes with the myriad of bird and other animal calls; the kiddies are simply excited to be on a farm with pink-iced cup cakes in and around their mouths. The menu caters well for them too, with a “Kid’s Food” section that includes plain eggs on toast, sausage rolls, half sandwiches amongst other friendly options.

While Farm Café may make the most of ‘location, location, location,’ it tops it off with an appealing array of divine, fresh meals. When you drop in for a bite, I guarantee you will be a pig in mud.

Farm Cafe on Urbanspoon

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