Warm olives, cold Cowes, but fond memories

Fig & Olive
115 Thompson Avenue Cowes, Phillip Island

(Visited August ’17)

We had trekked over to San Remo for a couple of nights during mine and baby girl’s birthday period. While café-ing out in the main strip one windy Tuesday, Hubbie asked the nice guy delivering coffees out to everyone, “can you give us a good dinner recommendation?”

The first name he rattled off was Fig & Olive.

He mentioned a few more, but his description of the place and the food it delivered won us over, and we planned to book ahead. Upon driving back to our accommodation a short while later, we looked at the area in which it was meant to be, as directed to us by kind waiter.

And suddenly, we were time lapsed to 5 years earlier.

Because we had been there before. Pre-food blogging days. Pre-baby days. Pre-Sea change days.

It felt like a long time ago, and yet the memory of that visit was strong because we had sat outside on a warm Summer’s evening, had enjoyed a delicious drink and dessert, and snapped an amazing selfie of ourselves, and let’s face it when you get one where you BOTH look great, it’s immediately one for the memory bank (and photo album – old school, yes).

It made total sense to be returning to this restaurant 5 years on.

Although things were a bit different. We were with baby girl. We absolutely HAD TO sit inside. And we absolutely had to, because we almost didn’t make the drive over from San Remo to Cowes, it was raining that much.

We burst in through the doors a bit sprinkled on from our mad dash from the car, and chose a table alongside the wall with booth to sit at, alongside another couple who were entering at the time.

I honestly can’t speculate at what had changed in the 5 years or so that passed between our visits. I couldn’t remember. All I remember was we had been seated at some kind of outdoor alfresco area, so the interior – I wouldn’t have a clue.

Now it was warm, illuminated by warm and sparkly lights, and the ample seating and ambience made the setting quite refined. However the orange-red wall brought it a playful burst of colour, taking it closer to its ‘Relaxed Casual Dining’ web site tag.

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I was happy when they brought over some pencils and colouring-in paper for baby girl, as there is never such a thing as ‘too much distraction’ when a toddler is out with you.

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We perused the menu and settled on some

Warm marinated olives with bread

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Hubbie got a VB, and I got a glass of the ‘Dance with the Devil’ Cab Sav

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Of course we had to try the appetiser of the restaurant name, didn’t we? I’ve been getting right into olives as an entry to main meal, ever since we started getting them at Manhattan. They were great and the bread was lovely to dip into the oily concoction and soak up all the goodness.

It was pretty quiet, being a midweek Winter’s night and all, but happily for us (those noise levels are preferred to be always loud in case a certain toddler decides vocal aerobics are necessary) some more groups of people soon came in, though at the most there was still only 4 or 5 groups that whole night.

Baby girl’s meal of spaghetti bolognaise immediately followed the olives

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And then soon after ours came. Mine was the pumpkin risotto with goats cheese, cherry tomatoes and rocket

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While Hubbie had the 300g scotch fillet, with potatoes, broccolini, and creamy peppercorn sauce

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So baby girl loved her spaghetti, though it may have been hard to notice since I literally had to spoon-feed it to her – as I said before, distractions. She was quiet, so it was good. Even Hubbie and I took fork stabs at it occasionally since it did look so delish. Sometimes it’s the simple things… like taste-testing from your child’s plate.

My risotto was sensational. Rich, but not too rich. It was quite liquid-y when it arrived, leaving Hubbie with a puzzled look on his face as it was brought to the table, but this is why I am the food blogger and not him. There were pumpkin pieces in there that brought it texture, the liquid made it moorish and smooth, and the complimentary tastes of goats cheese and rocket were YUM. Did I mention anything with rocket added is immediately made better? Well there it is.

ANYTHING WITH ROCKET ADDED IS IMMEDIATELY BETTER.

So I loved mine. Hubbie enjoyed his too, and that in itself is a God-send. Angels sing! The meat was cooked exactly to his liking, and it was tender too. All hail Fig and Olive.

Since it was our last night on that side of town before we were due back home the next day, and also as I already mentioned, ‘birthday month,’ I had to have dessert – whether I was full or not.

I was kinda full. But it would fit, I assured myself.

Hubbie went with our old holiday fave, the Affogato, and got himself a shot of Frangelico in addition on the side.

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He ended up pouring all the coffee over the ice cream, which he immediately regretted since he and I could not then actually taste the coffee on its own. Oh well, it still tasted good.

I went for the warm chocolate fondant – chocolate sauce, crumble and vanilla ice cream – because really, how does warm and melted chocolate NOT sound good on a cold Winter’s night?

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And baby girl was more than content with her vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping

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My dessert was oozing with thick melted chocolate, so my heart naturally followed.

I enjoyed it very much, and the chocolate crumble, was a really lovely addition to break away from the gooey-ness of it all. Vanilla ice cream to lessen the sugar-rush impact. Yes.

We had been first to arrive, and almost a couple of hours later, we were last to leave. We paid our bill, said our byes, and hurried back to the car, to drive through the rain once again.

Food: 8.5/10. The standard was there as it was years ago, and whether or not a change of ownership has occurred, I don’t care. It was wonderful. Dreaming of that risotto.

Coffee: Since it was had alongside the liqueur and ice cream, it was hard to ascertain on its own, other than to note that it was strong, so I can’t give a proper score here.

Ambience: Quiet and refined, though there was a casual element to it too.

Staff: Professional and friendly, and helpful when it came to our main orders.

People: There was only a handful that night: an older couple; a group of tourists from out-of-town; and another group of 3 that I can’t remember, other than to note they were near us… a real mixed bunch.

Price: $129 for 3 mains, an entrée, and 3 desserts alongside some drinks. On the money.

Advice: Perhaps book ahead on the weekend in warmer months/holiday season to avoid disappointment. Eat the risotto.

In a nutshell: We really enjoyed this place, and being the destination of fond memories, we will definitely be back. It has something for everyone, and next time we will be back, basking in the sunshine, or basking in its interior orange glow…

Either way, it is sure to be warm. It’s definitely a place I would love to revisit, but I won’t wait 5 years next time 😉

Fig & Olive at Cowes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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What (Aussie) Christmas means to me, my love

Sunny days and leafy trees

sprawled out in the yard on lounge chairs

squeals of laughter from the park children

the squeak of Mum and Dad’s backyard swing.

Prawn platters, Fruit pavlova

three courses and constant food in between

Ham is not the star – everything is

and it all goes down well with a glass (or few) of champers.

Flowy dresses and bows in tresses

the kids run barefoot on the grass

we can show some leg and we don’t care

Summer, holidays, carefree, go together.

Annoying things too, like crawling ants and invading-space flies

tightly-wound presents with ribbon, all screwed up

but this is the miniscule list I hold

for this oh-so-Merry day.

Balmy nights, revved up cars

light until past 9pm

cannot sleep, but not just for Santa

for waiting ain’t easy when it’s pushing 20 at midnight.

Eating drinking memory making

What do you talk about with those you love?

Why everything! And now let’s make some plans

about how we’ll take on the world together.

 

Hot sand replaces stinging ice

sunnies sit meandering instead of wrapped-around scarves

we still rug up on Christmas Eve

to our loved ones for warmth, but not heat.

Carols may sing of snow,

Santa may be in his jolly suit,

cards will show reindeer, eggnog, fireplaces

and the pine trees are not native at this time of year.

But those are idealistic visions

of a Faraway Place

a dream where one day I will be, and see, and touch

and live in reality.

My memories here are of sun, of outdoor fun,

sitting outside and making memories with loved ones

My Aussie Christmas

is the one I love the most.

 

(The above was inspired by a conversation I had with a work colleague about our different Christmas memories, since his ones stem from living in the UK. He found it odd that the Christmas we celebrate is so different from the one depicted in the songs we sing and the cards we send out. But like I said, faraway place 🙂 )

 

Affogatos rock at the Swish Beach House

Beach House Barwon Heads
48 Hitchcock Avenue Barwon Heads

At first, I didn’t want to go into this restaurant. I was dressed up, perhaps a bit too much for the beach locals, and felt that I would stand up insurmountably against everyone else there. People looked casual sipping their drinks and watching people walk by at the front of the premises Parisian style, and I was actually, inwardly groaning as we walked up into the restaurant.

There was not much up our food-alley on offer on our second night there at Barwon Heads. We had parked ourselves once again along Hitchcock Avenue: we had already dined at Barwon Orange, and wanted to try something different; Annie’s was closed that night, and the one I had tried to book before discovering they weren’t open on Monday’s was Café Maritana. That we would discover the following night. At the Rocks had too many recent bad reviews on Urbanspoon for me to want to risk throwing our holiday dollars away there, and everything else in close proximity was either closed, or too cas. We weren’t going to have fish and chips. We wanted to sit in nice surroundings, and eat and relax for a couple of hours.

Hubbie convinced me in. I ignored the looks and walked behind him, trying to hide behind baby girl. I love dressing up, but I hate staring. I can’t stand it. So what if I’m dressed up? You don’t have to ogle.

I was immediately relieved and impressed when I saw the interior. This, was much fancier. In fact, by looking at the exterior, I never would have guessed the interior would have looked like this. The tables and chairs were a dressier version of the outside, with a large bar in the middle of the room and ample space to be seated. Even so, we were greeted by a serious lady who asked if we had booked. Was this a thing in Barwon Heads? As someone said on Urbanspoon, this isn’t Melbourne. This place certainly had the space to fit us, and nearby empty tables didn’t seem to have a reserved sign. In fact, as we had learned the previous night at Barwon Orange, even in that smaller space they had been able to sit us. Fortunately, she seated us, and so become one unexpectedly great night.

Inside it was swish, but the beachy vibe was still there with huge leaf-like fans across the ceiling. Even the people dining in there were more stylish, wanting to make a meal out of the night, as it were.

We ordered drinks and baby girl’s meal first, and I informed our lovely young waitress if they could bring out her meal ASAP – they didn’t have to deliver it with ours. It came surprisingly quick, right after our drinks came, and conveniently right on time as she was starting to fuss.

Mini steak, shoestring chips, garden salad with tomato sauce

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It was $12, so cheap yet so large! We fed her and kept her happy, using her leftovers as our entrée. Hubbie was pleasantly surprised with how succulent her steak was, and said “If our meals are anything like this…!”

I’d ordered an Almost Heaven cocktail, and the name pretty much summed it up for how the night was to become. It wasn’t overwhelmingly beautiful-looking, served just in a tall glass, but it was fresh and summery, and suited the night to a T.

Almost Heaven – Passionfruit infused vodka, Chambord, passionfruit Tiro

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We had ordered something different, different from our usual anyway. I usually go for a pasta, seafood or chicken dish, while Hubbie happily gets his steaks with veggies/chips/salad. Instead, I ordered the

Char grilled Eye fillet, with French fries and a garden salad

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While Hubbie ordered the Confit pork belly, with a rice noodle & crips vegetable salad in ‘Chowhouse’ chilli dressing

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The eye fillet was a very big and thick piece, and for my request of medium-to-well cooked with no blood, looking at it as it arrived on our table I wasn’t feeling confident it had been fulfilled. Even cutting into it and seeing the red ooze out, I went “oh no.” But then I realised that the red was just the juices, not in fact the blood, and the inside was very acceptably cooked: in fact, my butcher Hubbie very assertively said that given the size and request, it was cooked to perfection. Farrrrr. He said perfect? And after I tasted it, I couldn’t agree more. Well you’d hope so for $41.

It had a great flavour, and although the porcini and red wine butter was very distinctive in taste, I actually loved it, and was remembering the taste days after the meal. I had crisp fries and salad on the side, and happily ate it all. The salad was like the salad we’d tasted on baby girl’s plate, crisp and so-fresh tasting. It’s so hard to get a fresh salad nowadays. And the tomatoes, actually TASTED like a tomato, straight from the garden.

Hubbie’s meal of pork belly was baked confit-style, and so he wasn’t used to eating it a different colour than the usual grilled-style colour he gets. However it was soft and flavoursome, and he thoroughly enjoyed the Asian style salad on the side which had sweet and spicy characteristics. The combination was good, different yet still enjoyable.

Considering we had both ordered different meals to our usual choices, at a first-time restaurant for us, and been happy with the results, I thought of as a very good outcome. It’s hard to win at that, but we did. All the food was soon gone, even baby girl’s with our assistance.

I was feeling really content after my meal, but not overly-full like I’d felt the previous night. We decided to do it, and boy were we happy when we both ordered and got this:

Affogato – Genovese espresso, vanilla ice cream, liqueur of choice, hazelnut biscotti

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While baby girl got scoops of vanilla ice cream. At only $3 a serve, why the hell not?

I had requested bailey’s on the side while Hubbie had asked for cointreau. The presentation of the ice cream with coffee on the side, a shot of liqueur to the other side, and a biscuit in the ice cream, was PERFECT. It looked divine, and it TASTED divine. I loved the biscuit. LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Tell me where you buy it and I’m buying it in bulk. Beautiful accompaniment to the coffee, a great crunchy and nutty texture. YUM.

The only fault with this dish, that kept it from being a 10/10, was the quantity of coffee. The quality was excellent, but there was just that little bit too little coffee in the cup. But if that’s the only fault, you know they’re doing well.

Everything went superbly that night. Along with our amazing food, our waitresses, in particular our main one was very, very nice and friendly, including to baby girl, and it was on that night we were starting to realise just how much of a difference that makes to her. When she shrieks, she does it out of joy, or for attention, and with the waitresses actually responding and smiling at her, as the other very friendly nearby diners were, she was absolutely rapt. She was a happier baby, which made our time there much, much happier. Some people may not care much for ratings on ambience and the nature of the staff and the people who frequent the restaurants we go to, but trust me, with children in tow, these things are vital. Because if your child is happy with you, your experience will be all the more enjoyable. Especially with children, friendliness matters.

The waitresses here seemed nicer than those at Barwon Orange (and s!&t all over the ones at Annie’s – sorry to be so frank), and maybe that was solely because they had actually smiled and spoken to her. I don’t need waiters to pick up my girl and twirl her around. I just want them to acknowledge her with a smile, when she smiles and waves at them. I want her growing up knowing that there are good people in this world. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

The friendliness of those around us, along with the more spacious nature of the restaurant, meant that even when baby girl shrieked with glee at all the attention she was getting, it was drowned out, meaning no chefs were looking over from their kitchens this night. LOL. Family-friendly, tick.

Food: 8.5/10. Simple food, done well. I like how the colour of our fries was golden, meaning fresh oil. That affogato… OMG. Almost 10/10 on its own.

Coffee: 8.5/10. Would like to try their cappuccinos one day, if their short blacks are anything to go by.

Ambience: Fantastic for families. Big and loud, but still that bit special and fancy.

Staff: Apart from the door-lady, our waitresses were very friendly and very nice. Our main waitress was constantly on-the-go, yet despite this still managed to give attention to baby girl. At one stage she was so busy she forgot to bring us our dessert menu, but we totally didn’t mind as we were having the best time. She didn’t forget the other crucial thing though, which was the smiling of course. 🙂

People: Fancier inside, but really lovely. Two large groups of people were seated near us throughout the night, and both times they were all so nice, and unexpectedly giving baby girl loads of attention. I mean LOADS. This was baby girl’s night, she was loving it. This kept her distracted, occupied and busy, which made things easier for us, and a distinguishable key in the success of the night.

Price: Well, we ordered 3 meals, 3 desserts, and 3 drinks. Some large, some small. For a total of under the mid $100s, which was expected. On key, I think, price-wise.

Advice: Book in advance. I think this is a Barwon Heads thing. Or a holiday-period thing. Or a Summer thing. Either way, just book, anywhere in Barwon Heads. And that’s it. Nothing else. Loved it.

In a nutshell: Simple food, served well and fresh and wholesome, in a great bustling environment that’s still fancy enough for those wanting something finer – just dine inside if you want fancy. We were really happy with our night, our meals, and how happily everyone there responded to our baby girl. A lot of great memories were made on that particular night in Barwon Heads, at Beach House Barwon Heads, which means we’ll look back on it fondly. We will definitely go back on our next visit in town, and I will end on this note: Thank God I didn’t let the exterior form my final opinion on dining there.

There’s a good moral for ya. 😉

Beach House Barwon Heads on Urbanspoon

You can FLY!

Something to think about on the very eve of this Christmas Eve.

I came across this on facebook a while back. I immediately fell in love with the thought.

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It’s a fairly simple, inspirational sentiment. It plays on that voice we all have, that inner-critic, that doubtful, insecure part of us that just doesn’t know, just isn’t sure, and is just scared. Scared to try. Scared to fail. Scared to fall.

I have a fear of falling. I have a fear of steep inclines. Through much in-depth research via family recollections, I think it may have originated from an incident that occurred when I was a toddler, and went stumbling all the way down the flight of stairs we have leading to our back yard. Dad says, despite my fall, I ended up with no scratches on me.

It took a lot of willpower when I first went skiing years ago. I tackled the easy slope in a heartbeat, and after half an hour was bored of doing the same trek up, the same basic ski down… until my sister pointed me to the next, devastatingly scary slope. It was very steep, for me as a beginner anyway. Seeing how far down I had to ski, at that angle, terrified me to no end. Even now, I don’t know how I did it. Was it my teenage no-care guts? The fact that it was this, or the boring slope? Or her words to me: “Don’t look ahead. Just stare immediately in front of you, and it won’t seem so scary when you’re skiing down.”

Her advice worked. I fell a couple of times, yes, totally stacking it when I ‘accidentally on purpose’ looked ahead and quite frankly, shit myself. But it was nothing insane. I fell. Got tangled in my skis. Struggled getting up at times, but each time, I got up. And then, I skied down again. And I got better at it.

We all have that fear in us, of failing, of falling. The sad thing is when that fear actually takes over, and disables us, paralysing us into no action. That is a terrifying concept. Staying where you are, static and unchanging, because of your fear that you will not make it.

We need to take that chance. Really, there is nothing to lose. The worst that will happen is you will have to try, and try again. Not doing anything won’t bring you closer to what you want, so really, all you really do is GAIN from the experience. At the very least you come out with more courage, capability and in some cases, a great story to tell in hindsight.

You know what I really love about the above poster?

‘But baby, what if you fly!’

!

There is no question, despite the second part being an oppositional thought to the first. There is no question of flying. It is just such:

‘fly!’

Nothing but an exclamation of thought.

You will fly!

Mortality at 5

Finite Creatures

I’ve always wanted to do one of these Daily Post prompts, but no one idea suggested there has ever spoken to me like this one. I may be a couple days late, but I don’t really care. I like the topic. Well, I don’t like it, but it speaks to me.

Hubbie and I were talking about this very thing the other day: death.

It’s not something unfamiliar in our house, especially with the fairly recent loss of a loved one.

I was telling Hubbie about one of my earlier memories. I was about 4 or 5, and had just gone to bed, with my lamp light shining softly beside me. My parents were still up and about, doing those night time things that parents do, that I now do at the end of the day: cleaning, tidying up, preparing for tomorrow. Amidst all this, I started to cry, really heavily.

My Dad came in. And when he asked me what was wrong, I said “I don’t want to die.”

I don’t remember what prompted this sudden outburst of sadness, of desperation to cling to life forever. I was crying, sad that one day I was gonna die, sad that one day my parents were gonna die. I don’t know if I’d just seen something in a movie, whether my parents had been to a funeral that day, or what. What I remember quite clearly though, despite the many years between then and now, was the sinking, agonising feeling, the realisation that one day it would all be over. My Dad tried to comfort me, and eventually I fell asleep, feeling helpless.

Imagining life without your loved ones is heartbreaking. Imagining life, where you’re not in it… is mind-boggling. Death is something we don’t understand, and many people don’t want to. Yet it’s something we will all experience, as we witness loved ones leave, and then eventually, we will be the star that ends our own show.

My take on it has always been the same. Glass half-full gal here now, but I’ve always believed there is another side. Life after death, where our soul continues, our body having been left behind on earth. In earth. You can say it’s a coping mechanism, you can say I have no proof, you can say it’s a load of bull.

And you may be right. But it’s what I believe. And it helps me to turn off my lamp light at night.

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.

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