Two Beans and a Farm
10 Hathfelde Boulevard Mernda
This was our second outing to the Carome Homestead, as the first one had us there to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary months earlier. It was our first dinner outing with baby girl, and even though I wanted to stay close to home ‘just in case,’ I wanted something nice, something different, something special that wasn’t an overbooked rambunctious restaurant with every tom, dick and harry from down the street walking in.
Two Beans and a Farm was the perfect fit.
It wasn’t totally evident then, as we had arrived about 6pm and it was already dark, but driving through the homestead grounds to get to the restaurant car park, it already felt like we were far away somewhere… and yet it was only Mernda, a short drive down the main road. It felt odd that a place as unique as this could be within our immediate area, and even as we walked to the front entrance of the bluestone building, pushing the pram on the gravel footpath, helped along by the low, dim lights in the chilly darkness, I vowed we would be back during the day to fully appreciate the temporarily pitch black scenery.
On our second journey there we could see that even in the broad daylight there was something evidently distinctive about this place: it was so removed, the restaurant in the middle of the large grounds, accessible via long drive – I actually turned to Hubbie and told him I felt like we were ‘away,’ as we had toyed with the idea of daytripping that week. This place made me feel like I was someplace else, and that was good enough.
It isn’t just the far-removed homestead that makes Two Beans feel so unique. The restaurant, with its old-world charm and comforting fireplaces, does something for the venue as well. It appears that the original rooms have been kept and renovated/transformed into the many eating areas, which only adds to the ambience of having a meal away from other diners, as you may likely only see them in an adjacent room. There are stunning fireplaces within, and can I just say, you need to come here in Winter. It’s the place to go when it’s freezing out, and just be warned, you may not want to leave.
The first time we arrived, we had booked ahead, it then being a Saturday night and a special occasion; this time however, being an ‘ordinary’ Sunday (or so we thought) we decided to wing it, only to be advised at the door that we should book. Oops. Fortunately for us, we were able to be squeezed in, and once again, found ourselves beside one of the glorious fireplaces. Towards the end of our meal, a lovely waitress asked if the room was warm enough, or whether she should put the fire out, and we politely yet strongly advised against doing such a thing. ;)
Our meals, did I say? That’s right. So I ordered a fresh orange juice on arrival, Hubbie got a latte, and then for the brekkie:
I got the Huevos a la Mexicana – chilli scrambled eggs with caramelised onion, sweet corn and chipotle mole
while Hubbie got The Homestead Big Brekkie – scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted mushrooms, tomato & homemade baked beans on sourdough toast
I was already advised that the chilli scrambled eggs weren’t too chilli, which was fine by me. If you’re a heat-seeker hoping to break down in a sweat and gulp some ice cold water down in ferocious spirit, well you won’t. Instead you’ll have a pleasant taste in your mouth, further accompanied by some bite at the back of your throat. Manageable bite, subtle enough for the tamest of adventurous foodies.
My ‘bite-y’ eggs were smooth, almost creamy, the corn giving some great texture, and it wasn’t overly ‘egg-y’ if you know what I mean. Although it seemed a big meal, I ate the whole thing quite easily. Again, could be the whole ‘Mum’ thing with me eating so much more in the last year, but it didn’t leave me with the overly-full feeling usually associated with decent sized breakfasts, and I think this can be attributed to the fact that it was a fairly healthy breakfast. Chilli eggs were atop rocket and sourdough, and their web site advertises the fact that they use homegrown produce, evident from the outbuildings situated alongside the restaurant.
Hubbie enjoyed his meal. I tasted some of his eggs, the beans and mushrooms, and they were good. He commented on how much egg he had on his plate when it arrived (he’s one of those not keen on the ‘egg-y’ flavour) but I noticed he ate most of it. He’s fairly fussy, my Hubbie, but he complimented the bread, the beans, and the meal in general, saying it was far superior to another breakfast we’d had in Mernda recently: “this s*&ts all over – .“
My coffee was great: strong, but so smooth, and the chocolate-y flavour on top of the froth was a beautiful compliment to the strength of the coffee. Hubbie loved his latte, complimenting it many, many times. We were impressed, and I almost asked them what kind of beans they use, until I realised that just because we are coffee snobs, doesn’t mean I have to let them know about it.
Food: 9/10. Spanish/French inspired, homely, fresh and inspiring. The cuisine adds to the other-wordly vibe, and they do it well.
Coffee: 9.5/10. Probably one of the best we’ve had.
Ambience: Warm and inviting, comforting. Being in different eating areas you feel separated from other diners, even if they are only 2 metres away on the other side of the fireplace. It’s a getaway restaurant, with real class, real ease.
Staff: Very accommodating and professional. All restaurants should cater like this.
People: With the general requirement it seems to book ahead, you don’t get just walk-in’s… how should I say… people are prepared? No. Look, the people are nice. I’ve seen couples, families, groups, friends, and just generally nice people.
Price: A little on the up side, however we’re always willing to pay when the quality (and ahem, coffee) is to this standard. Both our meals, coffees and my juice tallied to around $44.
Advice: Book ahead, no matter what time/day it is. I fear this place becoming all too known to the public around it, and if that becomes the case, you won’t just have to book, but you’ll be placed on a waiting list. True story. Pleasant places like this that have that far-away feel, holiday vibe, are unfortunately hard to find in these parts…
In a nutshell: As the Terminator says… you know.