8 St Heliers Street Abbotsford, VIC 306703 9417 5806
|Opening hours||Every day, 9am to 4pm; from 8am on market days (second Saturday of the month).|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Family friendly, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options, Outdoor seating|
WHERE AND WHAT
Some people voiced concern at news the cafe at the Collingwood Children's Farm was undergoing a makeover, but fear not: it has lost none of the rough-and-ready rustic charm, and the menu has received a good spruce-up. A win on both counts. Above a bend in the Yarra River, near the historic Abbotsford Convent, faced by the towering eucalypt-covered bank on the other side, the cafe has that bucolic thing all sewn up. After lunch you can take a look around the convent or pay the entrance fee to the farm ($8 adults, $4 children, $16 families).
WHERE TO SIT
The cafe is open to the elements but is covered from the sun and rain, and is as kid-friendly as it gets thanks to the sturdy wooden furniture, a gravelly ground topping underfoot that soaks up any spills and the new configuration, which makes it harder for the small ones to escape in search of adventure. Half the fun is getting there: the cafe is right on the bike path, so pedal power is king, but if you must drive, a note on the parking: if you want to use the pay car park opposite the convent, have your $6 in coins ready on entry or that boom-gate won't be opening.
WHEN TO GO
Every day, 9am to 4pm; from 8am on market days (second Saturday of the month).
The cafe is unlicensed but there's coffee and tea from 5 Senses, and it does a roaring trade in babycinos ($1 a pop, and huge), although discerning toddlers might go for the slushy frozen apple juice. Milkshakes and chai are also popular.
Breakfasts are big and well put together, using suppliers including Dench bread, Gamekeepers free-range bacon, Yarra Valley Dairy goat's cheese and produce from Schulz organic farms. The farmers' breakfast includes bubble and squeak with beef sausages, poached eggs and tomato relish; quinoa makes an appearance with the ''green eggs'', and the Melba features poached peach and raspberries with grilled brioche. Smoked trout makes a glorious lunch-time nicoise, while a hearty vegetable pie with herbed 'slaw is all-organic. On the kids' menu, a cute mini-ploughman's lunch features good-quality ham, cheese, bread and butter, and fruit, with a little paper bag of crisps.
Children, naturally enough. But on market days it's hectic with shoppers toting calico bags and trolleys full of organic produce.
A sweet cafe with noble values in a gorgeous spot that feels a million miles from the city.