Turn towards this Bakery

Turners Bakehouse Eatery
107 Schotters Road Mernda

We decided to head out to Turners Bakehouse Eatery for breakfast one Sunday in mid-January. We had ventured there before, pre-blogging days and when baby girl was still learning about her tastebuds. Now, she would have a meal of her own. And a babycino to boot.

Turners is a boutique bakery originally established in 1892, and recently restored after being closed since the 1940s. It’s a beautiful and quaint building, reminiscent of a working farm house back in the day. It sits on a residential street just past the Fire Station but before the Church. That in itself paints a pretty picture right there.

It was the start of a hot Summer’s day, but sitting underneath the tall trees out in the yard of the café, it was perfect. There is seating inside, though it always looks so squashed to me, that I think even if we went there in Winter I would rather rug up and be amongst the plants and birdlife.

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And there were birds alright. The cockys were flying overhead and squawking from perched branches on trees above us. The surroundings felt rural, yet being a short distance from other neighbouring, more built-up suburbs, it was only a stone’s throw away.

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I had ordered the Eggs Florentine – Poached eggs served on toasted ciabatta, with wilted spinach and hollandaise sauce

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Hubbie got the French Toast – Bakehouse brioche, topped with whipped mascarpone, berry compote, pistachio crumb

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While baby girl got a Cheese Toasty

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All our meals looked great, even baby girl’s simple melted cheese on bread. She seemed to enjoy it, as did we, eating her leftovers.

The hollandaise sauce on my meal was of the perfect quantity, and not swimming in it like other poached egg meals I’ve had. It can be so overwhelming when you have eggs dripping in hollandaise. Thankfully this was not. The first poached egg I had was perfectly runny, while the second one had a stronger formed yolk. Lucky I had the runny one first, since I had been craving poached eggs for a while. And the bread was light, not hard, which I was grateful for. There’s nothing worse than slicing your gums against too-tough bread because the crust is super-sharp/over-toasted.

Hubbie enjoyed his meal, saying it was just enough for him… well maybe he could have done with a tad more. But he wasn’t left with that over-full feeling he usually gets when he orders meals like a ‘Big Breakfast.’

Funnily enough, I had felt like I had had the big breakfast! I couldn’t eat for hours after that meal, as I just felt so bloated and heavy. Maybe it had nothing at all to do with the meal, and just the way I processed it that day. I don’t understand it, I’ve had eggs Florentine before… just this time it really weighed me down, to the point that when I did eat at 3pm, it was 2 minute noodles from the pantry. I just couldn’t fathom anything more.

I know, I know – a food blogger to eat 2 minute noodles? That’s blasphemous. However I am a time-poor Mum, and I need emergency food for ‘in case’ situations, which this was…)

After our meals we got some coffees: latte, cappuccino and babycino

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I found my cap exceptionally strong, yet it was still smooth, so I enjoyed it.

The rest of the morning there was spent looking at the watering can fountain (and advising baby girl repeatedly not to touch!), wandering the yard a bit, and waving to fellow breakfast-goers – oh that’s right, that was baby girl, not us. It was actually a perfect morning, so warm, so peaceful, yet there were plenty of families around so we felt right at home. The best way to feel on a lazy Sunday morning.

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Food: 7.5/10. Filling.

Coffee: 8/10.  Strong, smooth.

Ambience: Really peaceful, I loved it. There were a few people out in the yard that day but everyone was in Sunday mode and just chill-axing. Trees, birds squawking, sun shining… it really was ideal.

Staff: All of the waitresses were very friendly, and our waitress was very kid-savvy which was great. She was genuinely friendly and good with our princess.

People: Generally families, but there were a few duos, and people without children arriving in groups to brunch away.

Price: $49 for the lot, which I considered a bargain for what we got and what we experienced.

Advice: Sit outside. Maybe buy one of their famous loaves of sourdough bread to take home (something I’m yet to do and reading their website I’m sorry that I didn’t!). It’s made in their traditional wood-fired Scotch oven, built way back in the 1890s (!) while their sourdough bread is made with a natural, long-fermenting yeast that not only tastes amazing but is good for you too. Man, I’m going there tomorrow since we’re currently out of bread!

In a nutshell: It’s a fabulous find up in the North that is well worth the venture, not just for the serenity, the service or their famous breads, but just because it’s a little piece of history that has been restored, and that alone should inspire you to Turn around and check it out…

Turners Bakehouse Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Coffee rules and Fireplaces are Nice at Carome

Two Beans and a Farm
10 Hathfelde Boulevard Mernda

This was our second outing to the Carome Homestead, as the first one had us there to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary months earlier. It was our first dinner outing with baby girl, and even though I wanted to stay close to home ‘just in case,’ I wanted something nice, something different, something special that wasn’t an overbooked rambunctious restaurant with every tom, dick and harry from down the street walking in.

Two Beans and a Farm was the perfect fit.

It wasn’t totally evident then, as we had arrived about 6pm and it was already dark, but driving through the homestead grounds to get to the restaurant car park, it already felt like we were far away somewhere… and yet it was only Mernda, a short drive down the main road. It felt odd that a place as unique as this could be within our immediate area, and even as we walked to the front entrance of the bluestone building, pushing the pram on the gravel footpath, helped along by the low, dim lights in the chilly darkness, I vowed we would be back during the day to fully appreciate the temporarily pitch black scenery.

On our second journey there we could see that even in the broad daylight there was something evidently distinctive about this place: it was so removed, the restaurant in the middle of the large grounds, accessible via long drive – I actually turned to Hubbie and told him I felt like we were ‘away,’ as we had toyed with the idea of daytripping that week. This place made me feel like I was someplace else, and that was good enough.

It isn’t just the far-removed homestead that makes Two Beans feel so unique. The restaurant, with its old-world charm and comforting fireplaces, does something for the venue as well. It appears that the original rooms have been kept and renovated/transformed into the many eating areas, which only adds to the ambience of having a meal away from other diners, as you may likely only see them in an adjacent room. There are stunning fireplaces within, and can I just say, you need to come here in Winter. It’s the place to go when it’s freezing out, and just be warned, you may not want to leave.

The first time we arrived, we had booked ahead, it then being a Saturday night and a special occasion; this time however, being an ‘ordinary’ Sunday (or so we thought) we decided to wing it, only to be advised at the door that we should book. Oops. Fortunately for us, we were able to be squeezed in, and once again, found ourselves beside one of the glorious fireplaces. Towards the end of our meal, a lovely waitress asked if the room was warm enough, or whether she should put the fire out, and we politely yet strongly advised against doing such a thing. 😉

Our meals, did I say? That’s right. So I ordered a fresh orange juice on arrival, Hubbie got a latte, and then for the brekkie:

I got the Huevos a la Mexicana – chilli scrambled eggs with caramelised onion, sweet corn and chipotle mole

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while Hubbie got The Homestead Big Brekkie – scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted mushrooms, tomato & homemade baked beans on sourdough toast

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I was already advised that the chilli scrambled eggs weren’t too chilli, which was fine by me. If you’re a heat-seeker hoping to break down in a sweat and gulp some ice cold water down in ferocious spirit, well you won’t. Instead you’ll have a pleasant taste in your mouth, further accompanied by some bite at the back of your throat. Manageable bite, subtle enough for the tamest of adventurous foodies.

My ‘bite-y’ eggs were smooth, almost creamy, the corn giving some great texture, and it wasn’t overly ‘egg-y’ if you know what I mean. Although it seemed a big meal, I ate the whole thing quite easily. Again, could be the whole ‘Mum’ thing with me eating so much more in the last year, but it didn’t leave me with the overly-full feeling usually associated with decent sized breakfasts, and I think this can be attributed to the fact that it was a fairly healthy breakfast. Chilli eggs were atop rocket and sourdough, and their web site advertises the fact that they use homegrown produce, evident from the outbuildings situated alongside the restaurant.

Hubbie enjoyed his meal. I tasted some of his eggs, the beans and mushrooms, and they were good. He commented on how much egg he had on his plate when it arrived (he’s one of those not keen on the ‘egg-y’ flavour) but I noticed he ate most of it. He’s fairly fussy, my Hubbie, but he complimented the bread, the beans, and the meal in general, saying it was far superior to another breakfast we’d had in Mernda recently: “this s*&ts all over – .“

My coffee was great: strong, but so smooth, and the chocolate-y flavour on top of the froth was a beautiful compliment to the strength of the coffee. Hubbie loved his latte, complimenting it many, many times. We were impressed, and I almost asked them what kind of beans they use, until I realised that just because we are coffee snobs, doesn’t mean I have to let them know about it.

Food: 9/10. Spanish/French inspired, homely, fresh and inspiring. The cuisine adds to the other-wordly vibe, and they do it well.

Coffee: 9.5/10. Probably one of the best we’ve had.

Ambience: Warm and inviting, comforting. Being in different eating areas you feel separated from other diners, even if they are only 2 metres away on the other side of the fireplace. It’s a getaway restaurant, with real class, real ease.

Staff: Very accommodating and professional. All restaurants should cater like this.

People: With the general requirement it seems to book ahead, you don’t get just walk-in’s… how should I say… people are prepared? No. Look, the people are nice. I’ve seen couples, families, groups, friends, and just generally nice people.

Price: A little on the up side, however we’re always willing to pay when the quality (and ahem, coffee) is to this standard. Both our meals, coffees and my juice tallied to around $44.

Advice: Book ahead, no matter what time/day it is. I fear this place becoming all too known to the public around it, and if that becomes the case, you won’t just have to book, but you’ll be placed on a waiting list. True story. Pleasant places like this that have that far-away feel, holiday vibe, are unfortunately hard to find in these parts…

In a nutshell: As the Terminator says… you know.

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