A sign of Tassie times

Signal Station Brasserie
700 Nelson Road, Mount Nelson TAS

(Visited August ’18)

It was our last, FULL day in Hobart. The days were still sunny and calm (did we get lucky or what?) and after we discovered that traveling to the top of Mount Wellington from our accommodation would take us 40 minutes, one way, we decided to opt for the much shorter distance to Mount Nelson… we had driven to Port Arthur the day before and were getting seriously over driving. This was a holiday after all.

Mount Wellington would have to wait until next time.

We drove under 20 minutes instead, along winding roads with scenery that continued to grow and expand and show us snippets of what we were coming to see… far off mountains and valleys and endless greenery. After a couple of wrong turns we finally made our way up a residential looking street, and came to a dead end at what was the summit.

Not only did we find views… but we found a café (heart).

The signal station brasserie.




Now those are my kind of views. 180 degree views along Southern Tasmania, thank you very much.

First, we had to take in some splendid scenery.

Breathe in with me…


And breathe out.



The signal station was the first to be built in Tasmania, back in 1811… holey moley. Used back then for signalling and the reporting of shipping to the Port of Hobart and eventually to Port Arthur, it is now a place of rich history and fascination as tourists and locals alike come to feast their eyes on outlooks that were once used for very different means.

And to have a spot of afternoon tea, of course 😉



Back then it would have been in operation every day as the café was now… 7 days a week. We turned our attentions to the few tables that were getting baked in the Winter sun, and grabbed one before anyone else beat us. Soon, an interesting looking chap walked over and gave us some menus before walking away and talking to himself as he had been talking to us – like he had known us forever.


There was both himself, and a woman making the inner and outer café rounds, and it was with the latter that we made our afternoon orders, before proceeding to sit back and enjoy the fresh and beautiful surrounds.

It is a most magical spot. There is also inside seating within a small building that would have most likely been a house, sitting opposite the signal station tower on the other side…

But on the day that we had, you would have been crazy to wanna miss those views, and that sunshine.

Soon we were very happily being attended to.

Hubbie was happy to receive his short black with James Boags


Baby girl got a very colourful babycino


And I got a cap, while she and I shared some Signal Station Lemon Scones – with housemade jam and freshly whipped cream (2 per serve. $11.50)



Those scones were just sky high. They were a very decent serving, even for two, and baby girl enjoyed them as much as I did, applying lashings of cream… licking it off the scone… then applying more cream.

Ahh. Kid life.

Her marshmallows were forgotten but had been promised, so the man promptly called her into the café so she could pick up her never-ever-forgotten cushions of pillowy goodness from out of the jar. She was in heaven.

My coffee was great as was Hubbie’s short black, and he enjoyed it alongside his Sunday arvo beer, classic Aussie style. It was a lovely afternoon out in the sun and we felt particularly lucky to have been granted such pristine weather on our stay in Hobart, since we had definitely not expected it being Winter… being Tasmania.

When it was time to pay and go, I ventured inside to see the interior, and passed the most fantastic sign, that I was immediately compelled to capture:


What a beautiful sentiment. It gave me ALL the feels, and had me in such a happy state, that when what happened later inside, happened, I guess it was fortunate for them, as I had already been buttered up like a sky-high scone before my massive letdown…

Like a pancake.

Because you see, I went inside to pay, and was standing in front of the register/coffee making counter, waiting to pay. The man who had tended to us earlier was busy making coffees and playing catch up, and there was a father and daughter duo who were ordering a specific drink for the girl… it could have been lactose, gluten free, almond milk perhaps, who knows. But the discussion as the man behind the counter made the drinks, was that she had a difficult order, the man had successfully made it, and they were now telling the man that they were appreciative of his efforts. The father and daughter walked off, the girl with her takeaway drink in hand.

Stay with me.

Meanwhile, as eccentric man as we’ll call him, was behind the counter playing catch up on drink-making, having his last of the conversation with the father and daughter duo, another couple walked up and were to the side, also appearing to want to pay. At this stage I did that thing where you move a bit closer to the counter, in an effort to say ‘I was here first,’ hopeful that surely, eccentric man would realise I had been waiting longer.

But then as the father and daughter duo exited, eccentric man started talking to the couple – they knew each other. Jokes were shared, inside convo, local lingo, things about the café, upcoming events… they mucked about and laughed and meanwhile I smiled profusely in the background as eccentric man made these drinks, thinking ‘any time now. Any time.’

Any time now, he will finish his drink making, turn to this couple and say “sorry I’ll just serve this young lady, she was here first.”

This young lady, tourist from Melbourne.

This young lady, first timer to Signal Station Brasserie.

This young lady, patiently standing and waiting.

This young lady, whose alias is SmikG and is a food blogger.



(Or perhaps, thinkable by now because I have been leading there).

He started to put through their order first.

(Mouth gaping open emoji.)

More unthinkable… the couple let him.

Sure, they kind of may not have known what I wanted… I was simply WAITING THERE TO PAY NOT DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

I enjoy just standing around doing nothing on sunny Sundays.

Majority blame, goes entirely to eccentric man. Making the drinks, ignoring me the entire time, and going ahead to let someone else pay before me.

In horror I watched as he unapologetically put through the other couple’s order, and as he did, and they paid, they continued chatting, and laughing, and taking their GOD DAMN TIME.

By the time they decided they had been there long enough, the couple walked off SLOWLY, talking to him over their shoulder, and I, feeling like a volcano about to erupt, walked hastily RIGHT UP to the counter and waited to pay. He made no apology, made small talk, I paid and was OFF.

I was gob-smacked.

Hubbie looked at me like ‘where the hell have you been?’

I said “don’t – I can’t talk about it now. I’ll fill you in in the car.”

And then we proceeded to verbally bash the unhospitable event for the next 30 minutes. Oh the story has even made its way to people back home, don’t worry. More in the below notes…

Food: I can only score on the scones, so a 7.5/10. Generous servings make for happy customers.

Coffee: 7/10. Pleasing and adequate.

Ambience: Unmistakably serene and chilled… a beautiful place to enjoy on a sunny day, with uninterrupted mountain and coastal views, and the cafe building a quaint interior, cottage-feel type place where you could easily hide away in and feel like you have stepped into someplace special.

Staff: Away from my comical exclamation marks and open-mouthed emojis, is this cold, hard FACT:

In Melbourne, this kind of queue jumping would not stand up.

Would not hold court.

Would not be acceptable.

The ignorance and blatant disregard would be dealt with, like a lion taking prey upon a stray zebra.

It is just not on. To be standing there waiting to pay, (busy or not busy) and then someone jumps in front you (their friend or no friend) is just so unprofessional and so unhospitable, it speaks volumes.

Hubbie told a workmate about this story, and his work mate said ‘that is not unlike Tasmania.’

No where else did anything like this happen. Everyone was wonderful in fact. So I don’t know how isolated this incident is, but if there are fellow travellers or Tasmanian locals who know of this kind of disregard for decency and order, please by all means enlighten me on what THE RULES ARE.

But, if I am waiting to pay, anywhere in the world, and someone else comes along and then jumps in front, the wait staff allows it and then proceeds to not even apologise or make any mention of it and there is no emergency to justify the queue-jumping?

Well in the matter of common global human decency, that is not on. In no language or country is that ON.

It just makes no sense. I am actually a very fair and understanding person, and I try to see both sides, but in this one I see only ONE.

Massive rant over.

People: Older couples (grrr) as mentioned, families, and kids. Tourists are onto this place equally as much as the locals are, yet it still remains quite secluded, private and unique.

Price: I paid, but got no receipt, or else I misplaced it in my overwhelming confusion and frustration. I have it on strong suspicion it was in the low $30s, which would make sense as we had predominantly drinks.

Advice: Despite everything said above, I urge you to visit this place… there’s nothing quite like enjoying a drink or a snack, and being able to see amazing vistas with your butt still firmly planted on a bench. Go early on a sunny day and enjoy the outdoors.

In a nutshell: Again, despite all I have vented about, I would come here again… and to eat, and coffee… I don’t know how I would be come face-to-face with eccentric man… but I would just turn my gaze towards the mountains, and Signal to myself –

‘something good will happen to me today.’


Signal Station Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


25 Sure Fire Signs you are a Coffee (Addict) Enthusiast

If you feel or have experienced any of these things, I’m sorry to tell you…

  1. You spend your night thinking of where you will get your daily caffeine hit
  2. You wake up looking forward to your coffee
  3. You plan your day around coffee
  4. You will go that extra mile, despite crappy, windy, rainy, unfavourable weather, to get your favourite coffee, even if there is average-tasting coffee in half the distance
  5. You think you are some kind of coffee connoisseur, and turn your nose up if the coffee is passed to you abruptly/the barista doesn’t smile at you/your coffee order comes back with too much/not often froth/you don’t get a rock star’s welcome when you enter through the café doors…
  6. When the coffee run is up, no one ever forgets to ask you if you want to come… they know better than that. 
  7. A day with no coffee, is just a sad, wasted day
  8. Any situation can be made better with the addition of coffee. It’s a perfectly acceptable, cheaper and WAY more helpful alternative to therapy.
  9. It’s not ” have you had coffee?” it’s “how many have you had today?”
  10. You experience caffeine headaches in the absence of it… and though a milder tea may make the ache go away, the presence of the headache is almost always due to your body’s dependence on ‘the bean.’
  11. You love your weekends even more, because it’s a greater excuse for more coffee
  12. A short black at 11pm on a Saturday night is not too late for a coffee
  13. A short black at 10pm on a weeknight, is not too late for a coffee
  14. Back when you never drank coffee, the occasional times you did it would keep you awake. Now, you can fall asleep harder than any husband can, and the caffeine in your system can not do a thing.
  15. When someone tells you they feel like crap, you respond with “have you had coffee?”
  16. Your children are babycino/hot chocolate snobs
  17. You have returned coffee for ‘not meeting standards.’
  18. You excitedly share favourite haunts with other fellow coffee addicts, and then take selfies with said coffee
  19. You review coffee in some kind of forum, and probably have a Zomato account
  20. You have a coffee machine at home, and devote maintenance to it more than any other home electrical device
  21. There is always 4 types of coffee in your home
  22. You take the first sip of your coffee, and then exhale audibly
  23. Coffee pics in various locations prevail in your phone’s gallery
  24. When people tell you they don’t drink coffee, you pat their arm in pity
  25. You have nodded yes to at least 20 of these!

…You, are definitely, a coffee addict.

That coffee has you wrapped around its tiny beans. You’re a goner.

For the First Thyme

About Thyme
10 Blake Street Mornington

After our lunch at Biscottini we hop, skipped and jumped our way a few blocks (literally with baby girl in tow) and happened across About Thyme. There was select seating for a few groups of people outside, and one lot being free (that included a kind of booth/long stool) I found the seating to be particularly favourable with a squirmy baby girl (I could block her in) so we decided to coffee there.

I was so happy when a waitress came to take our orders. I don’t know why, but having just ordered and paid up-front at the counter at Biscottini, it felt like a luxury to sit there and not have to remember what everyone wanted as I walked up to the counter. The waitress was lovely and despite being busy, talked us through their current desserts.

We received the coffees and desserts all at once, to our devilish (and caffeine-deprived) delight. There was baby girl’s babycino, my cappuccino, Hubbie’s latte and 2 cakes: Caramel Slice and an Apple Strudel.





I will begin by saying: now this is a babycino! This is what I will happily pay for. (However Theobrama does an awesome babycino too that keeps baby girl happy every time). She also received two marshmallows on this visit, but my photo-taking was too slow for her quick fingers. Damn. Both Hubbie and I enjoyed our coffees, they had a good kick of caffeine, which was just what we needed.

Hubbie’s caramel slice was crumbly, making it hard to pick up with a fork. But so yum. Also, despite the fact that the apple strudel had raisins (something I was not aware of ‘til it arrived!) it was still good. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not a huge fan of sultanas or sultana-like products. The strudel was warm though, and made the raisins somehow… ok? It was strange, I actually enjoyed the package, raisins and all. The pastry was also flaky, so we had another messy one to work with as we tried to cut it with forks and knives, but damn it was yum. Being heated up made such a difference. It was a good strudel, and I can critique with confidence seeing as I’ve been brought up eating my Mum’s! Her strudel is moister, this pastry was flaky and dry, but it was still incredible. Just a different texture, that’s all.

We were really pleased after this experience, and happily wandered off to peruse Mornington, bellies full and content.

Food: 9/10. Fresh ingredients and warm combinations. It all looked inviting. Also, lovely presentation. (And having eaten here on many an occasion following this visit, I can properly confirm that the food is amazing).

Coffee: 8.5/10.

Ambience: Relaxed hipster by the beach. Small, quaint, quirky. Inside there was much more seating, but it still is a little café. Great place for the kiddies, as there is a basket full of books and colouring stuff to keep them busy while they’re not chugging a babycino or jumping on chairs. Yet a very refined and older group of people still come here, so despite the kid-friendly things on offer, beware of wary looks.

People: Locals, many groups of women on that day. Sunday lunch-ers? It had a young family vibe as well.

Staff: Friendly and professional, really nice, despite being so busy.

Price: In the $20s for 2 desserts and 2 and a half coffees. Not bad considering the quality of what we got. Impressed.

Advice: It’s a good place for the kids with the kid-fare on offer inside. They did seem snowed under a bit, so maybe be prepared to wait… I’ve noticed most places in Mornington appear to be understaffed when we dine there, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence either.

In a nutshell: A great place that we’ve actually returned to since! So I totally take my own advice when I say go there, you will enjoy it. I loved the vibe, the fact that the items on the menu weren’t stock-standard, and the cute little shops nearby aren’t too bad to window shop at either…

The service was great, and you could just tell the food was luxe… that little bit of refinement. This place is a stayer, a breath of fresh Thyme.

About Thyme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Main Hotel

Bay Hotel
62 Main Street Mornington

Not even a week after returning from Port Douglas, we were down at Frankston beach, rapt with all the kid and family-friendly features and surroundings – grass, shady trees, big change rooms for children, accessible (but heavily fought for!) parking, nearby café and ice cream – that after we were done there for the day, we kind of drove further into the Mornington Peninsula just to get baby girl to fall asleep in the car… and we ended up staying in Mount Martha overnight. As you do.

It was spontaneous, exciting and so different. We hadn’t packed, we didn’t have nappies for baby girl, and all I had on me was my bikinis with my very tropical-fringed dress draped over me. We were definitely not prepared. After organising overnight accommodation, we bought a few key items, and headed on down to Main Street in Mornington, where we have been so many times before, to get some tucker into us.

We decided on The Bay Hotel after a bit of to-and-fro up the street, only because we were looking for something a bit kid-friendly, both space and food wise, because she had slept very little in the car and we didn’t want to piss her off even more.

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It’s a grand old building, visually striking, and used to be a bank back in the day before being transformed to the restaurant and bar that it is today. There was seating outside but much more within its doors, with some casual lounges on the right by the window to perhaps sip on a coffee and window-watch people stroll by, with the majority of the seating on the left of the venue, beside the long-stretching bar. High ceilings, echoey spaces, and dark wood gave this venue even more of an esteemed aura, making me a tad nervous with baby girl’s intermittent outcries. Add to that the few people actually sitting inside, none of them making noise, and it didn’t feel like the best place to bring along a toddler.

However the staff didn’t make us feel like that. The waiter who served us in between spending the majority of his time behind the bar, and our main waitress, both made us all feel welcome, getting us a high chair, giving baby girl pencils and paper to colour in with, and just being very kind and gracious about her ‘noise.’ They were awesome. And of course, there was a kids menu, so they expected kids to come in and yell, right?

We ordered as quick as we could.

We needed something to peck on first, so we got the

Duo of dips, cumin oil and flatbread

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The flatbread was warm and eagerly devoured by baby girl. In fact we could have just let her eat that, but we had gone and ordered a proper main for her as well which in hindsight we could have gone without going by the flatbread portion. The dips were both great, and though I completely forget which was which, I know I liked them both, whereas Hubbie only liked the green one.

We had ordered drinks too – I had a Pinocchio Pinot Grigio, and Hubbie ‘double parked’ as the waitress coined, with a Johnnie Red and also a Crown

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Baby girl was kept busy with this picture of a cat (colouring in by Mum and Dad)

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After, our meals came.

My Paella – prawns, chicken, chorizo, mussels, saffron, olives and smoked paprika

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Hubbie’s 400g T-bone with chips and salad

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And baby girl’s Kids parmigiana and chips

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While we also had a side of steamed vegetables, for anyone that cared for them

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(Note: the uglier my food photos, the harder the meal was with baby girl. Just a late disclaimer).

Baby girl’s meal was huge! She pecked at most of the chips and we found bits of tomato in her salad too which she loved, but she didn’t have a lot of the chicken, which we tried to finish ourselves despite our huge plates. Nothing against the chicken, but she isn’t a huge fan of meat. Too much chewing required. Sigh, children nowadays. It was a massive kids meal, well worth the $12, and probably better suited to older children than toddlers like herself.

Hubbie enjoyed his T-bone steak, saying it was cooked to his liking, had a great char-grilled favour, and in total was a generous, comforting meal. He was a happy chappy.

My Paella was nice, however there was no overriding smoky flavour, or other discernible flavours as suggested in the meal title. It was a nice dish, but there was nothing noteworthy about it. As a paella, it was fairly bland. However, being hungry, and the fact I had seafood and rice in front of me, I ate as much as my stomach allowed.

Baby girl had been going a bit crazy during our meal time, and we had had to take turns watching her (walking outside with her while she waved at all the passers-by) while the other party ate alone inside. Seriously, this is why parents do not eat out with toddlers. My food posts may cease altogether if we continue at this rate. For some unknown reason, we still thought it appropriate despite her unsettledness, to order short blacks for us, and a babycino for her.

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She was happy with the marshmallows that accompanied her babycino. We both skulled our coffees, however mine was very much on the strong side, a bit too much for my liking. Still, coffee: I drank.

I up and paid and we left. Sorry folks, hope we weren’t too much of a racket. Bloody Melbourne folk.

Food: 7/10.

Coffee: 6.5/10. Based on my short black, too strong for me.

Ambience: A bit too quiet and refined for my liking, with baby girl I mean. Chilled out Triple J-like tunes playing in the background made it out to be more of a place you catch up with friends, than one you take your toddler out to dinner with.

Staff: Really friendly, smiley and helpful, and I’m grateful for this because I’m sure they thought we were a bit annoying. (I say ‘we,’ but I mean ‘baby girl,’ because I’m trying to be overprotective and defensive of her you see 😉 )

People: Couples, an older mother and daughter duo, and another family, but this family had older kids with ipads, with the Mother looking over to me every now and then with the look ‘why have you taken her out with you?’ while I stared back with ‘Have you forgotten how it’s like to have toddlers you nasty piece of *^&%!’

Price: $122.10 all up. That was one starter, 3 mains, 1 side, 3 alcoholic drinks, and 2 and a half coffees (they charged for the babycino…. Grrr, Argh). The price was actually reasonable considering what we ordered. I just wished some of it had been to a higher standard.

Advice: Maybe eat outside if you’re coming with kids – the outdoors will cloud their cries of discontent/amusement/toddler talk.

In a nutshell: It was a lovely place, and though some things we felt needed improvement, the staff more than enough made up for it. The fact that it’s on the Main Street and within a place we love to frequent (watch this space…) we would probably come back in the near future.

Who doesn’t want to be by the Bay?

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Bay Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Piggyback Cafe

Farm Café
18 St Heliers Street Abbotsford

This seemed like the perfect place for both adults and children. Which is what I was after (and really every other family out there too) but more so, because we were heading out to celebrate baby girl’s and my birthday. There were meant to be farm animals for the kids at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, and the Farm Café and luscious green surrounds were there for the big kids. I mean really, how could it go wrong?

The weather started off right. It was a sunny Sunday in August, the first weekend that we got a real taste of the impending Spring/Summer. I was excited. I’m constantly telling people how by the time my birthday pops around, the winter cold is diminishing and bursts of warmer weather are starting to infiltrate the cold. Maybe because I’m clutching at (Spring) straws; maybe because I’m defending my birthday month; maybe because I’m right. This day had me smiling in pleased confirmation again.

It’s hard to believe that there is 7 hectares of land nestled along the Yarra River, of which the Collingwood Children’s Farm and the Farm Café lies. I realise that city parks are not a rare thing, but to be so close to the city (5 kms) amidst those busy inner-city suburb buildings and surroundings, it just felt odd. Like how could this happen? Until we got there it was like ‘is this for real?’ It sure was. Driving around for a good 20-25 minutes made us realise that it was definitely real. Almost everyone was trying for a park in St. Heliers Street, and the long wait made us do a U-turn and try our luck elsewhere. The sign up ahead in the cark park had read ‘Full.’

With much focused staring and stalking, we finally found a park along Johnston St/Studley Park Road, and proceeded to walk on over about 5-10 minutes to the farm. (Click here for more info on parking there).

We chose the family pass of $18 to get into the farm, and received a stamp allowing us to first go into the café, before exploring the farm grounds. You can solely attend the Farm Café without payment, because the café is positioned and set in such a way that you can’t eat and then sneak through into the grounds without the entry fee. You can look from there, but you can’t touch.

So, payment = café and grounds entry (with stamp)
No payment = café only entry

We went straight to the café knowing that there might be a wait post 1pm, and sure enough there was. We received a buzzer that would inform us when it was our turn to be seated, and while we waited I took the opportunity to explore with baby girl and take photos of the surrounds.

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It didn’t end up being the half hour wait as told, perhaps a bit less. We sat down in an open area that was still covered, amidst tables tightly crammed next to one another, with views looking out to the farm beside/below us, of chickens roaming about, and a peacock doing a casual little walk.

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There was an outdoorsy feel. It was a farm after all.

We had to quickly order, as we were now very hungry and I didn’t want our little birthday girl getting cranky on her special day.

I got the Mushroom Pie – Mushrooms, roasted chestnuts and white wine served with potato salad, greens & spiced relish

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Hubbie got the Organic Beef Sausage Roll – House-made served with potato salad, greens & spiced relish

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While Baby girl had the Kids Egg & Bacon – Poached Fried egg on toast with bacon with a side of cheese

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I was a tad disappointed that I couldn’t get the kids lunchbox (cheese sandwich, a house-baked treat and a piece of fruit) for baby girl, but they had run out. Instead I swapped the poached egg for fried, removed bacon and added a slice of cheese, which they quite simply placed on the side of her dish. It was fairly uncreative, really. They could have at least put the cheese, on top of the bread, under the egg, so it melted slightly.

Mine and Hubbie’s meals looked ok, but in the end they were nothing special. To be honest, they were below average and fairly bland. My mushroom pie had no other discerning or interesting taste to it, all I could taste was mushrooms as I bit in. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE mushrooms. I just expected the sauce or gravy of the pie to have some hint of salt or flavour in it, to further complement the earthy mushrooms. None.

The accompanying potato salad was rather standard, again nothing special. Hubbie felt the same about his meal, and the only reason that we ate it without much antagonism was because we were spending a lovely day out for our birthdays, we were in such a good mood, and we were hungry. That was it. Baby girl’s meal was very standard, and I concur that most children’s meals out there tend to the ‘plain’ side, but this, with the cheese placed on the side as if it was just tossed there, took the meaning to a whole new level. She also like us was hungry, and ate most of it.

Following that meal, we were almost uninspired, tending to just head out and not worry about a drink. However Hubbie had some kind of surprise location planned next, (link) and kind of hinted that we may have some kind of drink there, but didn’t say what kind. I assumed it was coffee, so suggested we get hot chocolates at the Farm Cafe instead (again, the weather and the day and our birthdays was saving the Farm Café’s arse).

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We each got a hot chocolate in a mug, and baby girl got her necessary babycino. The hot chocolates were huge! They were served in mugs, tasting mild and softly sweet, which I didn’t mind, but I think Hubbie would have loved a more sugary, sickly-sweet hit. Baby girl happily drank all of hers, leaving chocolate stained marks on her face. But alas, it was a rather plain babycino, mostly milk and little froth, making the fact that I don’t believe they charged us for it (there is no babycino on the menu) more than adequate.

We then headed out on our way to peruse the farm, happily leaving all memories of the Farm Café behind (read my review of the Collingwood Children’s Farm here.)

Food: 4/10. Below average. Nothing made me want to try anything else, and I just felt the lack of food quality and presentation let down the beautiful location and serene atmosphere of the adjoining farm.

Coffee: N/A, and I’m not overly bothered I missed out either.

Ambience: As mentioned above, it has a very relaxed vibe. The surroundings were calm and placid, best enjoyed on a sunny day, which is fortunately what we had.

People: There were generally those with kids there, but I also saw duos of friends, younger couples, and older couples. I think the location brings a variety of people there, but most prominent are the families.

Staff: They were ok. Again, nothing above average, they weren’t rude or anything, but they didn’t really give us any smiles or necessary attention. They were busy though, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

Price: It was about $50ish, and I say ‘ish’ because the lady up at the counter kept our receipt so I have to go off the prices listed on their website. The hot chocolates were the only half-enjoyable items. The rest made the total bill not worth it. Had the food been up to scratch, it would have been.

Advice: If you are going to the Collingwood Children’s Farm, save yourself the hassle and eat elsewhere. You probably won’t have to waste time waiting for food that is below par. If you are seriously not fussed with food, well then you probably won’t mind the quality of it. Perhaps the breakfast options are better.

In a nutshell: The Farm Café should consider itself very lucky. I said to Hubbie very early on into our lunch that day that the only way it was surviving was due to its location and proximity to the Children’s Farm. It was not surviving based only on the food, because if so then on that day we wouldn’t have found the café there at all, just remnants of what used to be one. Which is a shame, when I think of people I know who have put much effort and money into their own little works of art café creations, and poured so much research, energy and time into an amazing menu and superb coffee, only to have to close due to the people in the area NOT WANTING TO SPEND THE MONEY ON QUALITY. It’s sad, yet true. And here is a very average café with such a high turnover that their kids meals run out, who are able to ‘produce’ the kind of food that we got that day, and they still keep on going on, solely due to the high paying folk of the area and their fortune in being alongside an animal farm. I am really surprised. I hold no malice, yet based on our first and only experience there, Hubbie and I will most definitely not be going back to the Farm Café.

The Farm Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

(I am a glass half-full gal though, and the experience did not ruin my day, not in the slightest. Read on to find out how our day ended fantastically, here :))

Farm Vigan-OH!

Farm Vigano
10 Bushmans Way South Morang

I had known about this place for a while. Some friends of ours had gone there, and had mentioned that they primarily did pizza. I saw the same online, and along with some inconsistent reviews, decided that ‘pizza’ wasn’t enough to get me over to South Morang (say Moranj*) alone.

Boy was I wrong.

Another friend recently mentioned the place and its sprawling landscape, which spiked my interest in it again. So on a Sunday afternoon, Hubbie, Baby girl and I ventured over to Farm Vigano to see what the fuss was all about.

As soon as we entered the driveway, I could sense it. It was different. The tall trees gave the outdoor area a definite refinement, and by the drop in landscape along one side of the dwelling, and those green tree views of the surrounding parkland – WOW. Even after parking and starting our steep decent down towards the building, I kept getting the thought ‘where are we going?’ ‘and how does this place exist in these parts?’

We were not in Kansas/South Moranj anymore.

Outside, there were umbrella’d tables sitting upon concrete, with a few diners present there. That gave it a strong European feel, and inside, the Monaco feel just intensified. White surrounds, clean finishes, splashes of yellow with white stripes, a classic gold and unobtrusive cross on the wall, and elegant black shade lamps and black lantern candelabra-style fixtures adorned the place. I really felt like I was dining in a European café. It was poshy, yet very reminiscent of a certain time, and a certain place.

The place does perfectly at that too. The estate used to belong to the late restauranteur Mario Vigano and his artist wife Maria Teresa, and the culture they upheld certainly has stood the test of time and made its way splendidly to the present day. The attention to detail and immediate atmosphere you get upon entering, are unmistakable. I want to come back in my next life as an Italian. I’m already half way there, I have the prerequisite of loving pasta.

We had been lucky at arriving just after 2pm, and naively hadn’t booked. We were queried this, but despite it were still seated by the window, with an amazing outlook of the acreage below.

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We were so lucky to be early and naïve, rather than late and so, because in half an hour this place was rocking, and really full. From walking in to a room of NO ONE, to a room that was brimming with voices just a short time later, left me stunned. It led me to the conclusion that they MUST open for lunch after 2pm, but having looked through their web site I didn’t find anything to confirm that, so I still don’t know. It was our stupid luck indeed.

After I started sipping on my pinot grigio looking across the expansive landscape

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(it’s a hard life) we got this:

No 201 Pappardelle Con Salsiccia – pappardelle with Italian pork sausage ragu

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Gamberetti – flash fried school prawns, w/ coriander, ginger, chilli & sriracha hot sauce

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And the Schiacciata – rustic pizza w/ garlic, rosemary and Spanish onion

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First I’ll mention that the meals came really quickly, but maybe that’s because we’d managed to order before everyone else arrived and subsequently ordered. It was surprising.

The pasta was for Hubbie as he hadn’t actually eaten yet. He liked the saucy and meaty pasta dish, and I loved the texture of the pasta itself, but other than that he didn’t think it was anything unbelievable or life-altering.

The waitress had informed me it was “baby prawns” I was getting in the Gamberetti, however I didn’t realise what she meant until I got them – a whole bowl of actual tiny prawns, with their soft shells intact. Having never eaten these in my life, I didn’t know whether I was meant to peel them, or eat the thing as is sardine style. I soon realised that shelling it was necessary, though a few pieces went devoured unchecked… getting through that bowl and peeling each piece properly was both time-consuming and messy!

The pizza was mainly reserved for baby girl, who enjoyed holding the slice herself and chomping in. Bless 🙂 It was a great tasting pizza, so simple and fresh with its tried-and-tested base ingredients.

Although there were aspects of our meal that we wouldn’t revisit, I felt that was partly due to the fact that we hadn’t been properly prepared for it (both baby girl and I had already eaten) and also as those previous reviews had informed me, the menu selection was a bit narrow. A huge range of pizzas was accompanied by some side dishes, two pasta options, and the only meat on the menu was pork and lamb, both advised to be shared by at least two people. However, with the antipasto selection as well, along with the quality of all they offered, I could suddenly understand why the place had become packed instantly on a Sunday at 2pm. Did I mention those green surrounds? OMG. This place, even if it only did pizza, was worth it.

We decided to get some coffees, and they too arrived very quickly.

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Baby girl loved her babycino, but then again she won’t knock back any frothed/chocolatey milk she gets. After her half cup of froth, she happily drank the rest of the mix, leaving beautiful chocolate marks alongside her mouth, cheeks and forehead. A good sign.

Although I had really enjoyed my coffee, I hadn’t noticed until the other day when we ventured there again for coffee only…. that the coffee was REALLY good. It was hot – so hot Hubbie burnt his tongue first time he went to sip it. Coffee is never that hot. If anything, it’s lukewarm when it arrives. This was hot, not burning hot, but HOT. Secondly, it was smooth, with not ONE little tenth of a taste of any bitterness. Thirdly, it was strong, but not so strong that it would leave me with the fear of being up ‘til 1am that following morning. And, on both occasions of having this coffee, it was consistent. Both at busy times, and not.

Which when added up, leaves me with a pretty perfect coffee.

What?! A perfect coffee? Like the food and the surrounds and the EVERYTHING, I just wasn’t ready for this.

Food: 7.5/10… though this rating would have likely gone up had we indulged in the desserts. Did someone mention Nutella doughnuts? OMG that’s right, the top selection of their desserts lists this scrumptious bombolone, which means… (check ‘In a nutshell’).

Even though we weren’t overwhelmed with happy vibes over our particular selections that day, we still can’t wait to come back to try more… hungrier this time.

Coffee: 9.5/10. Like I said, I wasn’t ready for this! Am I right, to possibly give this café the highest score in coffee, something previously never before done by me? Because I wasn’t expecting this, and I didn’t fully critique the taste in the moment, I will almost give it the highest score, in the knowledge that it was consistently good on both occasions, but also I didn’t get a chance to really savour it, if you know what I mean. But decently strong – tick. Smooth – tick. Hot – tick. I need to know what type of coffee they use, because I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Ambience: Laidback Euro-style mixed with $$$. It was relaxed, certainly more so when the volume rose several octaves and the restaurant was brimming with voices, but there was a definite refinement to the air, or maybe that was the fresh bush surroundings…

People: As above. These are the rich folk who come out to party with their (well-earned) cash. It was painfully obvious. There were several functions happening all at the same time, comprising of anything from 5 to 15 people, many groups of older people dining out, and families. Not really a ‘young person’ thing, but I have to say it has nothing to do with the pricing accessibility of the dishes, it’s not that expensive… yet for some reason, it’s just all the older generation hanging off the parklands. Interesting. All are certainly welcome though, as there was like us, another family with littlies on the next table, who up’d and left after literally half an hour of juggling their two boys. Leaving all their uneaten food on the table. (Like I said, $$$).

Staff: They were lovely and attentive. Didn’t really get any special personal ‘warmth’ like what we receive in other restaurants, where you feel like you get on a first-name basis with the waitress to the point of catching up for after-work drinks, but still they were professional and on cue.

Price: $81 for our 3 meals, two alcoholic beverages and 3 coffees. They charged us $1 for baby girl’s babycino! All it was was frothed milk. There was chocolate milk underneath the foam rather than just plain milk, but still, come on guys. I have a massive grip (see here) with restaurants charging for babycinos, especially since the kid’s parents are usually paying for other items, and therefore shouldn’t have to pay about the $1 mark for a few tablespoons of froth. I can somehow turn the blind eye when for example baby girl gets marshmallows, or some bikkie on the side, but still, come on. It’s the freaking moral. Restaurants unfairly charging for babycinos won’t keep me from ordering them, but it will keep me continuing to shout from the rooftops “Babycinos should be for free!”

Advice: So definitely book. Here, I think it’s a thing. It was dumb luck that we came in before everyone else and got one of the best seats in the house. If it’s a weekday you’ll probably get away with it though. The driveway down to the restaurant is steep, so be aware high-heeled ladies and walking-impaired others.

In a nutshell: I need to come back here, for so many reasons. 1) the coffee (what bean do they use?) 2) their other pizzas (there are so many!) and 3) the bombolone. Did I mention the Nutella doughnuts? Nutella doughnuts people, and I’m not even a Nutella fan!
And 4) the view. Oh the view. An amazing find, a true gem in this part of the ‘burbs, and a lucky treat for the locals.

(*I can make fun of the Northern suburbs because I live there 😉 )

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Mamma is a bit confused, yet revels in the Coffee

Mamma Says
120 Station Street Fairfield

Bestie and I very quickly made our decision to lunch here on a Wednesday early afternoon in Jan. My only requirements for a venue that day on busy Station Street were:

– that high chairs be available
– that a baby change area be present

That was it. That was my short, not overly-reliant or expectant list.

However, I was of course, still wanting to be impressed.

When we passed Mamma Says bestie informed me that it was fairly new. I got excited looking at the image of a child on the stores sign, and just knew this is where I could go, and be comfortable, especially in the curious/discoverer/impatient/must-touch-and-wander-everywhere stage that baby girl is currently at.

I was however, slightly surprised to find people with no children in tow in the cafe, amongst of course the expected young mums meeting over coffee, Mum resting with child and Nanna with her grandkids. We ventured further out through the indoor area towards a door on the side that went alongside the premises leading us to the back courtyard area. Here again, were no kids: 2 young businessmen types drinking coffee.

I was really happy with our positioning. Firstly, we were outside, meaning I felt less bad about letting baby girl roam freely when she got tired of the high chair. Secondly, the men were having coffee, so in my mind, they were going to leave soon – leaving the entire empty courtyard to ourselves. (Yes, and yes!)

However, it turns out that was just their starter, as they soon received some nice-smelling food before we got our lunches. I ordered:

Dukkah crusted chicken on couscous, rocket, feta (salad) and roast vegetable salad

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Baby girl got a fried egg on toast (I requested they omit the bacon)

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And bestie got Atlantic Salmon with Spinach, Egg and Hollandaise Sauce

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Now, I struck out some of the ingredients in my dish above because THEY WEREN’T THERE. Part of the reason I ordered it was the ‘ting ting ting!’ exciting thought of rocket and feta combined, since I love both and thought this particular combination with the other ingredients would rock. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the dish, once I got into a rhythm of not stopping for a forkful once every 5 minutes in between feeding baby girl. I ate it all, despite the omission of the promised ingredients. It was just a bit dismaying that’s all, especially since I was really looking forward to it. I mean, for a regular menu dish to not have one ingredient as mentioned, you can kind of forgive, only because hey, it’s just one ingredient, and its negative impact is usually lessened when one of the waiters informs you of the omission. But no one said anything to me upon ordering, or delivery of food, and this dish was on the specials menu! Isn’t that stuff meant to rely upon current produce? How are they missing not 1, but 2 ingredients?

Tsk tsk tsk.

Still, I enjoyed it. Chicken was flavoursome and the dressing was lovely. The vegetables consisted of eggplant and pumpkin and were nice…. Just wish it was complete. That should hopefully be the last time they decide to pull the wool over the eyes of ‘another Mum.’

‘She won’t notice, look how busy she is.’

You picked the wrong Mum.

(And you know what, I even wondered if I was in fact mistaking the rocket as just plain lettuce, and it was all getting lost in there… but as any self-respecting rocket-eater would know, it has a very distinctive, peppery flavour, and bestie who is in a ‘healthy’ profession, also confirmed that it was missing. And that still doesn’t explain the feta being AWOL).

Otherwise, presentation was great, and I loved the dark plates our meals were served on.

Baby girl’s meal was fairly simple, and she ate most of it, bar the crust. The crust was way too hard, in fact the entire piece of bread had been toasted for too long. It wasn’t burnt, but it was just too hard. I smeared butter and the yolk over it to help soften the bread, as I didn’t want the roughness sawing at her gums (that happens to me for crunchy bread, let alone a toddler’s sensitive gums).

My bestie helpfully informed me that her meal was great, there was just too much hollandaise sauce, which she spread to the side. Compared to similar dishes, she would have given that one an 8/10.

Despite all this food hoo-ha, I was really happy with where we had decided to sit. We were out of the way out of the indoor diners (some of who seemed surprisingly posh for a venue of this sort, Mum/Bub venue as they’re obviously gearing towards) which meant I was able to let baby girl off her proverbial leash, and let her rearrange the chairs and walk around and around AND around tables (the two men were gone by this point, thank God).

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It had a real backyard feel, with parsley growing along the sides coming out of the tall brickwork that bordered the area, a type of modern rocking horse hung from the wooden exposed beams on the ceiling, and a child-sized model car sat propped up along one wall, and though a child could potentially fit in it, the style of it suggested at $$$ that little fingers should just not get into, or on.

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The staff were slightly odd: I don’t know how else to put it. Our first waiter seemed helpful, generally talking a lot with the 2 men that were initially out there, and then our subsequent waitress, the one we had encountered when first entering the café, seemed… I don’t know, not in the mood. She would smile, but I swear it was like she was saying internally ‘I’ve had enough of this place/diners/kids.’ She was quiet, like she didn’t give a hoot, but smiling politely just enough so as not to allow her ‘unwillingness’ to get her in trouble.

And then there was this other lady, maybe an owner or a chef? But she came out twice, both for no apparent reason (she wasn’t clearing tables or delivering food) and she tried to get baby girl’s attention twice. Look maybe it was even three times she came out. The first time/s she was all “hello!” and waving and baby girl was looking back – cool, that was cute, I appreciate acknowledgement of my baby, thank you. But then she did it again, again for no apparent reason while we were eating, and was calling out to baby girl as SHE was eating, and baby girl turned around and clearly got irritated with this stranger trying to get her attention, and yet she continued trying to get her attention. It was slightly annoying. I wondered if it was me, but bestie agreed.

And then, after ALL that attention, and our plates were cleared – no one came back. We were the only ones out there, and like I already mentioned, that suited me just fine with baby girl’s excessive wandering and touching, but no one came, and we were wanting coffee. It is not nice to sit and wait, WANTING COFFEE. I wonder if they seriously kind of forgot about us, or assumed we were right since we hadn’t said anything when our plates had been taken. But again, we weren’t asked by ‘had-enough’ waitress if we wanted anything else when she took them away. And now that I think of it, when we ordered the waiter didn’t even ask if we wanted drinks.

Tsk tsk tsk.

And then there’s the other possibility. I was asking bestie if chef lady had in fact been annoying as I thought she had, about the time that staff members were ‘out the back.’ Out the back is via a door in the courtyard area, which was right near us, and I’m not sure what was on the other side other than to assume it holds stock, maybe storage and I think I saw a car. But I had kind of forgotten they were there, and they may have heard our discussion about this and thought ‘you think we’re overzealous? Now you can wait.’

So, after waiting a while, I went inside and up to the counter to order some coffees. I was very nice despite our neglect (it wasn’t the barista’s fault) and I knew immediately that the woman behind the counter thought ‘we should have checked on them’ when I asked to get coffees. This lady was very nice and said she’d fix us up, and sure enough the coffees were out in speedy-fashion.

Clockwise: soy latte, cappuccino and babycino.

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Firstly the brightly coloured mugs we received were great. The heart shapes, a lovely bonus 🙂 Thank you barista-lady. And the coffee was really good, and it was only after we’d drank it that bestie and I conversed and both agreed how smooth the coffee had been. She also commented that there was no strong soy taste, and though I don’t drink the stuff what she said made total sense.

So, ending on the coffee note –that was really good. That’s most important, after all 😉

(And after all that I didn’t even need to use the change area – assuming there is one).

Food: 6.5/10. I have to remove points because their menu didn’t promise me what I’d ordered. Food was great though.

Coffee: 8/10.

Ambience: Funnily enough, it had a poshy vibe inside, and I don’t know if that’s because of the modern/rustic-Provincial interior, or whether the customers made it so? Surprisingly I say this, as focused towards the Mum/Bub demographic, I would imagine cas-vibe would be more applicable, and appropriate.

Staff: A bit of everything. A normal one, a had-enough one, an over-zealous one, and then the barista, thank God. A bit confused with them really. But most of them did smile at baby girl, and I guess that’s a bit of a requirement with the name of the place and all.

People: Young mums, Nans, older people and a couple of businessmen made it a truly diverse mix. Which is good for the café, as they are certainly attracting a wide variety of clientele.

Price: 3 meals and 3 drinks added up to under $50. Individually, our dishes were on par at $17 each. AGAIN, we were charged $0.50 cents for a babycino! Come on guys. Froth in a cup, that’s all it is… she didn’t even get a nibblie on the side to make it justifiable (even then, it’s definitely NOT justifiable… see my babycino explanation here). I’m starting a no-pay-for-babycino-movement, damn it.

Advice: Go outside if you’re with kids. It’s just easier. And when there, don’t talk about the staff if they’re out the back, or else you’ll have to stalk them to order your coffees.

Ha ha, only kidding (kind of). If you’re really keen on a dish, maybe just make sure it will come exactly as promised on the menu? Make sure you order drinks of any kind before they walk away from you, and also, grab a coffee. It was yum.

In a nutshell: Despite all of the above – and look, maybe I have been a bit nit-picky, but unfortunately for Mamma’s Hubbie and I have come off the back of some very memorable and awesome dining experiences of late, so fussiness is at a high – I would go back. I would just take my own advice (above) and try some other dishes, as bestie and I were at a loss of what to order at first due to the delicious and vast menu on offer. Glad there’s a place like this in Fairfield that Mums can (hopefully) feel at home at with their littlies.

Mamma Says on Urbanspoon

Annie are you ok, are you ok…. are you ok if I bring my kid?

Annie’s Provedore
Shop 2, 50 Hitchcock Avenue Barwon Heads

Annie’s was our first coffee stop during our Barwon Heads getaway on that brilliantly sunny first day. We were along the coastline, on the other side of the city, that part of town that Hubbie’s work mates affectionately refer to as ‘Little Essendon’ due to the number of their customers that holiday there.

Their exterior displayed eclectic beach/bush-funk, and a peek into the interior showed what looked like an exclusive little deli and bakery amidst indoor seating. I overheard one woman saying to her friend as they peeked inside “Oh, I wish we had seen this place first before having our chips!” I would have been spewing too.

There were quite a few tables adorning the sidewalk, all with umbrellas, expect for the one free table we made a beeline for. Despite the cool wind we had bright sunlight in our eyes, which made our initial visit there short and sweet, just like the subsequent coffee and cake that we had. We sat Parisian style, all of us facing the sidewalk watching the people and dogs (which baby girl loved) walk by.

We ordered coffees, a babycino for baby girl and a lemon and lime tart, as the vanilla slice hubbie had requested was unfortunately sold out.

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Both our latte and cappuccinos came with a choccie on the side, which I found a nice touch. They were decent sized coffees, another plus, however for me I found the flavour a tad too strong. Hubbie loved his though. As did baby girl.

The tart was nice and tangy, with a hint of creaminess. Nice and fresh, and a lovely accompaniment to the strong coffee.

On our second day in town, I stopped in to buy some much needed deli brie. I had decided after discovering the deli, that there was no way I was getting it conveniently from the local IGA. Nothing against the supermarket, but when I see gourmet deli, I’m like a little kid in a candy shop.

And so true to the cliché, I was, as I walked in to feast my eyes upon the offerings on that very hot second day. I was perusing the choccies, bikkies, cheeses and hams, and all the deliciously gourmet local/imported deli offerings available to be bought for good dough. Speaking of, they even had many varieties of loaf bread, both basic and gourmet styles. After having a good sticky-beak, I settled on a triple cream brie, some spanakopita to take back and share with Hubbie, some strawberry lollies, and some ginger and almond biscuits with lemon myrtle infused Belgian chocolate, to have with our takeaway coffees.

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That place seriously, is a deli lover’s dream.

I happily bought, paid, and then went to stand by the bread to wait for my coffees. And wait. And wait. And…. wait.

If I had known how long the wait would be, I would have gone there first, ordered, driven my car to the IGA to buy the groceries I had already bought that day, and come back to Annie’s to pick up the coffees which I reckon would have just become ready. Geez. It took forever. It probably felt longer as I was just standing there doing nothing but ‘taking in,’ but it really was a long while.

When I finally did get my coffees after what seemed like a forever of 15-20 minutes, I realised they had earned some brownie points: with the inclusion of two little pieces of brownie beside our coffees on the tray.

“The cappuccino is the one with the brownie on top,” said the young blond kid to me as he handed me the coffees.

I said thanks, but at first I was a bit peeved as I already had a bag to carry, another hand for the coffee tray, and then one of my taken hands also had to hold in place my dress with the massive slit going down the front, in fear the breeze outside blew the wrong way. And now I had to balance brownies, ON a coffee tray. Just to make things interesting. However as the human-multitasker, I even surprised myself with how well I manoeuvred to the car and back to our room with EVERYTHING intact. Score.

And, I had realised why the coffees had taken so long to arrive when I stepped outside. It was now absolutely packed, with what seemed like everyone trying to score an outdoor seat and enjoy some coffee and sweets in the sunshine.

Again, the coffee was strong that day, but I think I was starting to get used to it. The biscuits had great texture, and the filling was decadent and creamy. Finally, the spanakopita was just what we needed as we had pretty much forgotten lunch in our busy-ness that day. Later that day we tried the lollies, and they indeed were strawberry sweet, and the brie was well…. Mmmmmmm. Worth the wait and drive and everything. Perfect with crackers and a glass of cab sav.

On our third day there we went for breakfast. I had been very gung-ho about having to have brekkie there, since that first day when I’d noticed on the menu that they had coconut pancakes. Oh my. I just had to, it was a must. I’m a savoury brekkie girl, but the thought of coconut pancakes? I just had to see what it was all about.

Unlike our first two days, this day was almost pouring. There was consistent rain coming in from early morning, and we ran in with an umbrella trying to cover the three of us. No one was outside, bar two girls who bravely sat under an umbrella at a wet table. This time, the interior was fairly full, but this isn’t hard to achieve as you wouldn’t call their indoor area amply-spaced. We stood, looking around, thinking someone was going to seat us, and then I realised that we had to sit ourselves down. After all, when you pay and order you need to go to the counter, and only after that do you get your order delivered to your table.

I realised that was the odd contradiction to this place. It was homely, earthy, eclectic, and interesting. It seemed au naturel, with its back yard feel of baskets hanging from the ceiling, wooden chairs that were all different colours and sizes, and bakery and deli goods just hanging around waiting to be grabbed by outstretched hands. But there was a definite poshy undertone, and I don’t know if it was the staff, the clientele, or a bit of both that made the air so. Either way, it was a definite mix.

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We sat at a communal table and after asking a waitress clearing plates nearby, she brought over a highchair for baby girl. During our time there we had some difficulty keeping her entertained and shriek-free, having to endure some looks from other diners. In particular was the fine group of three pole-bums at the other end of our table who couldn’t even smile at baby girl as she grinned happily in their direction. I don’t expect people to make conversation and goo-goo ga-ga with her, but I’ve discovered one very important and factual life rule since having her: people, even rude people and mean people, will still smile and get all soft when a baby smiles AT THEM. People change in the presence of such innocence, and so I have to wonder what type of woman would ignore a child and turn away, feigning ignorance, when such a beautiful girl smiles AND WAVES, in her direction. I’m bias, because she’s mine. But like I said, what kind of heart would do this? Someone with the absence of one perhaps?

Anyway, back to the brekkie. We got our coffees surprisingly quick, quick compared to how long I’d had to wait the previous day.

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This time with cookies! Great job guys, loving the sweet extras.

Then minutes after, our food arrived. I had ordered:

Coconut Pancakes with pineapple

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And Hubbie had ordered:

Bircher Muesli with berries & Shaw river yogurt

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My pancakes were nice, but not what I had expected. They were warm and beautiful, but a bit doughy. The cream atop them was nice and fresh, and I had most of the pineapple, but together I had expected more. It was lovely, but maybe my expectations of what coconut pancakes would be like were too high, especially with the build-up over a few days. I’m not sure. Then again, I think it was just a case of me being a savoury-brekkie girl. The sweet temptation had tempted me into going the sweet route, and once again I was thinking ‘I should have gotten my usual eggs.’ Next time.

Hubbie wasn’t a fan of his bircher muesli, but then towards the end he didn’t mind it. I should probably explain that here’s a man who’s recently decided to go fairly carb-free, right before going away and then has tried to eat lighter meals while we go out. He never eats bircher muesli, and then he’s ordered it in an attempt to avoid his usual ‘big brekky’ style meal. I tried his meal, and agreed that it was very sweet with a definite all-spice taste, which is probably where the sour yoghurt comes in, to offset it. If I were him I would’ve preferred eggs too. As it was, I was.

Food: 7/10.

Coffee: 7/10. My score would have been lower if the serves weren’t so big, as the coffee wasn’t to taste for me, although I did grow accustomed to it after each visit. Points for free sweets on the side too.

Ambience: Relaxed surroundings, with a poshy, sometimes stuck-up vibe. As we were coming to realise, this was almost like another Noosa, but here unfortunately, we experienced more snootiness. It didn’t contain the commercial aspect that getaway spots like Noosa does, so in that it was good in retaining its local vibe. And despite the nose-up factor, it actually seemed very family and dog-friendly.

Staff: Friendly, but not enough smiles. I did also notice that they are quite pedantic about placing coffees in front of the correct person when they deliver them to the tables, something we experienced and what I also witnessed both times we ate in. I like that kind of attention-to-detail, but it does make me wonder which idiot didn’t know what coffee they were drinking and caused such a fuss due to their own lack of common sense to make the waiters so fussy now.

People: Family-types, with-money-don’t-care-attitudes, though they care enough to want to look at you and see who you are. A good smattering of older customers too.

Price: Medium to the up-side. For example our first visit of coffees and cake only came to $15-ish for the lot, which I thought was not too bad for some afternoon treats. My deli and coffee order the following day was a bit higher, and I think that was due to the $55.00 a kilo brie and $16 packet of cookies. That I was kinda expecting, buying from the gourmet deli and all. And then on day 3 we paid about $41, for 3 drinks and 2 meals. That was a tad much, also because we didn’t walk away totally satisfied. If our brekkies had been worth it, I wouldn’t have minded how much they charged on our 3rd visit.

What did peeve me off though, was that baby girl’s babycino was $1.50, and I reiterate again on this blog that babycinos should be for free. Yes there were marshmallows on the side, but then the babycino was just froth, on top of some milk in a little cup. And $1.50. WTF seriously. Get your menus and replace that price with ‘No charge!’ followed by a genuine smiley face. 🙂

Advice: Get some umbrella shade on a hot day if you can. If you go with kids, don’t expect to feel overly comfortable. When you order, remember what number was on the table you sat at, unless you like being descriptive.

In a nutshell: A really lovely place to have a sit-down and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle that Barwon Heads has to offer. This is one of the prettiest places on Hitchcock Avenue that you can dine at, so definitely do it. The food could be better, however the provedore did live up to my expectations. I would not recommend this as a child-friendly place, solely based on my experience of the people that dine there. I would come back and try the savoury dishes next time we’re in town, but only if I had a tonne of toys to keep baby girl occupied and shriek-free.

Annie's Provedore on Urbanspoon

Worthy Drive to Ambrosia

Ambrosia Café Bar Foodstore
Shop 13, 84 Bemersyde Drive Berwick

We weren’t expecting much for lunch on that hot Monday. We were in Berwick, on the other side of town to see a potential new car for me, and needed to get to an eatery quickly as baby girl was starting to get really irritable; and honestly, having been walking around in the uncovered persistent heat of the car yard, so were we.

I had perused Berwick eateries on Urbanspoon the day before, so I knew some names that rated up high on the leaderboard. When I searched for ‘local cafes’ on my phone, Ambrosia wasn’t too far away from our location, and I remembered it sitting high and pretty on the café-Berwick list.

We almost didn’t go in. It was more me and my anxiety and paranoia than anything else. The restaurant/café/bar/foodstore looked fancy from the outside, and with baby girl’s incessant cries of “not happy!” I worried that the place would not cater to the family crowd. I was worried her shrieks would annoy the other diners, and that we would get those dreaded ‘looks.’ Hubbie however liked what he saw, and pushed us inside.

I was so relieved when the waiter who immediately came up to us upon entry offered a high chair. Phew. Well clearly they were prepared for kids, in some shape or form.

It was noisy, and busy. The noise could drown out the sound of baby girl’s impatient yells. Uh yeah, no. That’s not possible. However we didn’t receive any looks even with diners nearby, and I think the nearby wedding function underway in the adjoining section of the restaurant was keeping the attentions of everyone occupied and elsewhere.

We were seated near this funky-looking picture

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Kind of tucked away. Right to my liking on that anxiety-riddled day. Not hidden away, it was just a little cozy corner.

We ordered Warm Flatbread with Dips for baby girl

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I got the lunchtime special which was the Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto with Chicken and Parmesan

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Which came with a glass of bubbly for $19.50. I thought this was a great deal, since I was going to get the same risotto from the regular menu, which outside the lunchtime hour went for about $24-25. And I got it cheaper, with alcohol. I did wonder if the ‘special’ menu meant the portions were different, smaller. I’ll take a punt and say yes. Still, by the end of our visit I didn’t leave in the slightest bit hungry.

Hubbie ordered the Ambrosia Burger: fried onion, Swiss cheese, bacon, & egg w a salad of homemade dill cucumber & beetroot, aioli, served with fries & salad

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And his usual pint of beer.

We had asked for the flatbread to arrive first, as we wanted to get baby girl eating and becoming her usual content self again. Our mains arrived first however, and we had to ask for the flatbread which had apparently been forgotten. We didn’t mind, because there were things from our plate to feed to baby girl. Luckily. Our flatbread arrived soon after and by that stage we were all very happily digging in.

The flatbread was warm and delicious, clearly super fresh since we know it hadn’t been ready! It came with a pumpkin and a beetroot dip that was fresh and tasty, but to be honest I love eating warm/fresh breads as they are, on their own, no extra condiments/dressings/sauces/dips required. Baby girl loved it too, and happily chewed on a piece and was kept busy for a while, while we had our mains.

My risotto was creamy, with a good hint of garlic. I loved it, I could easily have had more. I would have liked more chicken too, and like I said, I reckon if ordered outside the lunchtime menu, I may have gotten more of a serving. It did come a bit lopsided though, looking as if someone had poured it into the dish only to then teeter it on an edge and have the whole lot slide to one side. The taste was very yum despite this.

Hubbie’s burger was great too, as I tried a few bites. Wholesome burger patty with, egg, bacon, and an interesting tasting relish that I couldn’t put my finger on the taste. He loved his burger, and all the food on the table hit the spot for us very hungry bunch of car-shoppers. We scoffed it down happily.

Because we’re on holidays, Hubbie said “f$&k it” and we ordered cake and coffee too. Well the coffee was a must, the cake was a “I’m gonna squeeze this in I don’t know where” cake.

We shared a Tiramisu

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Hubbie got his latte; I got my cappuccino

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And baby girl got her babycino

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Before ordering our coffees we had gotten very excited when Hubbie had noticed the coffee beans displayed on one of their counters. It read Melba, and it’s the brand we buy for our own coffee machine at home, from a great organic café in our fave shopping haunt. So we had high hopes for our daily caffeine fix. However, hubbie’s latte was too milky, which is why there is no photo to display above – he was disappointed. He says it still tasted alright, but it wasn’t strong enough. I admit, it looked rather pale. My cappuccino was great, and though like hubbie’s latte it wasn’t strong, I did enjoy the smoothness. So we’re not sure if Melba was the coffee used, but if it was, it wasn’t made like our café back home does it.

Baby girl LOVED her babycino, and got upset multiple times that we didn’t spoon-feed it to her fast enough.

The tiramisu also seemed to be lacking some of the caffeine strength we were expecting to get. It was good, just nothing spectacular. I have had better.

What I did notice upon looking at our bill later, is that the babycino came in at $1.50. Now that just slightly peeved me off, as it did hubbie. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think any dining establishment should be charging for babycinos. All it is is frothed milk with chocolate sprinkles. Now I know there are some out there that come with bells and whistles – a skewer of baby marshmallows on the side, a special gingerbread cookie – and I’ll admit that this one we had seemed to have chocolate milk beneath the froth, with a marshmallow on the side. So ok. But still, I kinda think the least these establishments can do, is not charge already-paying customers for a tiny portion of milk. The babycino probably costs them 5 cents, if that much. Even if you throw in a marshmallow, I think, like I said, not charging is the least they can do for paying customers. I don’t go around expecting things for free, but sometimes giving back, for something so tiny, is more a requirement than a gracious act.

Despite this, we were really happy with where we had ended up, and Hubbie was particularly happy with my Urbanspoon detective work. It was a cool and funky place, it was busy for a Monday in early Jan over the holiday season, and there were a lot of staff on hand meaning we were looked after and our requests were promptly met, but that was probably because of the wedding taking place. That too gave it a nice atmosphere. The waiters were lovely and accommodating, waving to baby girl and giving her attention every single time she cried out for it or waved to them, and God knows that happened at least 20 times.

I was impressed with the bathroom, as they had a handwash that read ‘organic and natural ingredients,’ ‘made in Melbourne.’ That along with the fake lavender in the corner, gave it a lovely atmosphere. I wouldn’t mind getting me some of that organic Melbourne stuff for my own bathroom! Nothing like promoting your own.

Awards outside the bathroom door indicated that this place was as good as we indeed had experienced, a place that all people should check out and enjoy.

Food: 8/10. If that tiramisu were up to scratch, my score would have been higher.

Coffee: 7.5/10. I wanted a bit more strength.

Ambience: Busy due to the nearby wedding function underway, and loud due to the volume of people which suited me just fine every time baby girl screamed…. which happened even beyond her lunch. It wasn’t an overwhelming constant vibe though, it was still very chilled despite all that.

Staff: Kind and friendly. Accommodating to baby girl’s demanding attention-seeking! However two waiters did trip over the legs of her high chair a total of 3 times, nearly causing the high chair to topple… but it didn’t. It is some kind of precarious looking chair, maybe new ones are needed that aren’t so trip-inducing? 😉

People: We had a family near us and some older people, as well as the whole wedding party. I think it caters for all sorts, as we certainly witnessed in the crowd that day.

Price: Mid-range to up-side. The combination of café-restaurant-bar-foodstore makes the price acceptable, as the awards attest to as well.

Advice: A great place to dine at, and I noticed there was an outdoor section that was inhabited primarily by the wedding guests that would have been lovely to eat at, seeing as it was such a sunny day. Go outside if it’s nice out. If your baby is in their old high chairs, a hand on the tray when someone walks behind won’t do no harm. Don’t get the tiramisu if you’re relying on a real coffee hit, but the other cakes behind the glass looked smashing. Maybe the New York baked cheesecake would have gone down better. The mains are yum-city, and if you’re coffee addicts like us, make it EXTRA STRONG.

In a nutshell: It’s a shame this place isn’t on our side of town, as with its set-up, atmosphere, the food and drinks on offer and the style it conveys, it’s right up our alley. If we go back to Berwick to buy that car, we’ll be lunching there for sure.

Look out for the red GTS. You’ll know we’re there 🙂 

Ambrosia Cafe Bar Foodstore on Urbanspoon

Jam and Love

Jam and Cream
1 Orr Street Rosanna/Heidelberg Heights (depending on what guide you’re using)

It’s the place of little girls’ tea party fantasies, where little boys have chocolate smudged around their lips without the fear of chastising, and where people like me can experience the joy of scrumptious scones in the best setting of all: Nana’s house.

Seeing as I never had the opportunity to meet my grandparents, perhaps this place fulfils that little girl desire in me, to be spoiled. Being the youngest though, you can have no fear that I missed out on any of that.

Or maybe I just like high tea.

High tea is what first led me to this quaint little place.

My first venture there was with my best friend to ‘suss it out:’ I had an idea, a plan, and that idea eventuated into my second outing there, with a very intimate group of my closest family and friends, in my last months of pregnancy. It wasn’t a ‘baby shower’ as such, more a get together to create some beautiful memories with my closest people amidst what had been a very dark year, prior to the biggest event of my life, thus far. I had been looking for a decent place in my neck of the woods that catered for high tea, and Jam and Cream came up in my search results.

On that grey Winters day in July, we were in the pink caravan at the rear of the premises, with intermittent rain keeping the ground wet and umbrellas a necessity. Despite the weather, it was one of the most beautiful, memorable and meaningful days of my life, a day I still look back on fondly. I had vowed I would come back with Hubbie, and try more of what had made the day such a joy: the scones.

I had been dreaming of those scones since, and during Hubbie’s week off from work I knew just where I wanted to go.

It was seriously like it was meant to be. The Friday started off as very cloudy, however as the lunchtime hour approached, so too did the clouds start to wane… to make way for the beautiful, glorious, Spring sun.

It became all too clear to me on our drive over: this was the weather making up for my last visit there; this was the weather saying ‘here you go, experience Jam and Cream the way you’re meant to.’

Upon arrival I actually saw three groups of people leave in the time it took for us to get our bags and baby girl out of the car. Even so, inside it was packed, and in the yard section which travels from the side of the café to the back surrounding the pink caravan, almost all the tables were taken. We took a spot outside, and managed to get a high chair for baby girl too.

It was an exciting day. Not only was I here, creating more beautiful memories of this wondrous place, over 1 year on from the last time I’d been, but it was going to be baby girl’s first foray into the world of babycinos.


I have been looking forward to her entering the café culture for a LONG time.

That, along with the fact that we were there for lunch and dessert and coffee, had me rubbing my hands together in anticipatory delight.*

For lunch, I had the Basil Scones

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and Hubbie had the Homemade Pie – beef, bacon and cheese

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I loved my scones. Firstly, adding to the ‘made at Nannas house’ feel captured by the café, is the fact that the menu states that all scones are made fresh and to allow a 20 minute wait for your order to arrive. This is most definitely true, as when you get the scones and slice through, the heat emanating from the middle, and the powdery softness of the dough, is indicative only of baked goodness recently out of the oven – it is so satisfying. I sure as hell will wait for that. Even baby girl liked the bits I gave her.

Hubbie enjoyed his pie, and even I thought it was good, the mouthful I tried (and I’m not a massive pie girl). I thought it was a tad small, but he also had a savoury scone on the side, which I have to add he wasn’t too happy with, he thought it was a tad uncooked. I told him he was talking complete nonsense, but realised he must have been telling the truth when we happened upon scones from another place a couple days later, and he said how much he liked those compared to Jams. So I have to take his point into account.

For dessert we shared the ‘Beryl’ Scones – with cherry ripe and coconut

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Yum and yum. There was a piece of cherry ripe in the scone, and it was covered in lovely coconut-y goodness. Accompanied by a nice big mug of cappuccino, that kept me rambling and rambling and rambling which to Hubbie probably felt like forever, and then of course baby girl got this:

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I was nearly crying from excitement. As fate would have it, baby girl was not, and although she took several spoonfuls of froth topped with chocolate powder, not even half-way through she seemed to have had more than enough and we stopped there. It’s ok, these things take time.

Sitting there in the beautiful sunshine, relaxing in the yard, eating scones and drinking coffee… ahh, this is the life.

Both the café and the yard are decorated with Grandmotherly, old-fashioned paraphernalia: tea mementos, cakes and cute items for the kitchen and themed parties adorn the inside of the café, while small tables sit outside, some with umbrellas to get some much-needed shade on hotter days. Even the serving-ware matches – floral dishes accompany your scones, and the mugs are huge and funky retro-themed, reflective of the odd stuff you might see in homes of Nanas and Papas.

When I went in to pay at the end of our visit, I realised that their indoor café space seemed to have doubled since the last time I’d been; although the eating area remains in the same place, they seemed to have acquired the shop space next to them, and used it to display all their extra miscellaneous cake/decorations/accessories, as well as housing their main counter. This was confirmed for me when I asked the girl putting my order through, and she said when their neighbouring shop had gone up for sale, they had purchased it. It’s definitely a great decision for both owners and diners, as it allows for much more eating space in their original café area, separating that from the cake counter and the other itty-bitty items that they had crammed together before. Even so, the packed look does do them a favour when they’re emulating Grandma’s house.

Food: 10/10. Their main food avenue is their scones, and they are done so, so well. Fresh, inventive, so many different flavours and varieties in both savoury and sweet options – honestly, what more could you want?

Coffee: 7/10. Loved the big mug, gave me such a caffeine hit, compared to other places that only offer the standard ‘cup’ size for coffees.

Ambience: Really relaxed and chilled outside, especially on such a stunning day. You can’t be stressed at Grandma’s house though, she has everything under control!

Staff: Really helpful, especially our waitress that day. Taking our order would have been both entertaining and frustrating for her. “I’ll have these scones… no wait, what about these?… Which sweet scones are good?… and can our sweet scones come after the savoury ones… and can the coffees come with the sweet scones?… and can the babycino come with them too?… and can we have a high chair?…. and can we have a big mug of boiling water?”

LOL. I did have to remind her about the water when it didn’t come immediately, but I kind of bombarded her with a million requests so I didn’t blame her. On my previous visits there the staff have been nice and helpful too, including one of the ladies there who I’ve encountered on each visit. She must be involved as owner/manager: she’s a tough woman, but don’t be fooled – it’s that generation, remember?

People: Kind of a mix. We had a teenage couple near us who baby girl kept smiling widely at, duos of females were abound, women with kids (ok so maybe more women) and an older couple. There was a group of kids in the pink caravan for someone’s birthday, and inside again there were mostly women, but people in there seemed older. If you have kids that still like to run, sit outside. It’s definitely a place that you don’t stay at for long, and I feel like we were the only exception, as almost all the people in the yard left long before we did. You come in with your friend/s, have a cuppa and some scones in between shopping/visiting friends/taking a walk and then you go. It’s a lovely in-between place, but it’s also an amazing place to while away the afternoon. It’s Nanna’s. Grab a paper and you’re set.

Price: Tallied up to $41.40. I thought that was really good, considering we had lunch, shared a dessert and had coffee. The babycino was free I think, and it is my firm belief that they should always be since all babies are getting are chocolate-sprinkled froth. From memory the scones are about $14 for a serve of two which I think is fair and totally worth the price for the quality of what you’re getting.

Advice: For a special event or get together, do what I did and book the pink caravan. It’s in high demand though, so you’ll need to book weeks in advance. It may even be worth booking for a normal Saturday or Sunday venture, especially if you have more than 2 people in your party. It was busy when we went on a Friday for lunch, but then again it was the school holidays.

In a nutshell: I am in love with this place (if it isn’t totally obvious). I can’t wait to go back again and again, with only my close friends. As I said to Hubbie “this is the only place I won’t ‘check-in’ on Facebook.”

Hubbie: “Why?”

Me: “I don’t want everyone coming here.”

* Anticipatory delight: the state of being in excited anticipation, that is, anticipating an event, the lead-up to it providing a frenzied atmosphere of happiness in waiting for it to occur. Examples: every Friday, the onset of Summer, first day of Holidays.

Jam & Cream on Urbanspoon