The Farm Café is located at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, on the banks of the Yarra river. It is a beautiful spot, whether or not you have children. The cafe is situated to one end of the farm, and it does not overlook the main area where the larger animals are, so you don’t have to come into direct contact with them if that is not your thing.
It is actually very close to the city, although we reached it via the Yarra Trail on bikes. The trail feels like you are out in the countryside, as does the cafe and the farm itself. You get a lovely view of the Yarra river, and the surrounding trees as you eat impeccably sourced, mostly very local, organic, homemade food. The staff are very friendly, and the atmosphere relaxed. It goes without saying that the café is family friendly, but there are also enough smaller tables for two to catch those who may not have children.
They try to make everything at the café, even the chai tea, from what I can make out. I had two pots, which were beautifully spiced with cinnamon, but also citrus peel, and fennel seeds. I am going to be playing about with a mixture of my own, to try to recreate this lovely blend. If I can get it right, I will share it here.
Anyway, onto the food. It was a tough choice, as there were very many items on the menu that I would have quite happily eaten, especially after the two hour cycle that had preceded it.
The Big Guy ordered the Farmer’s Breakfast, which is a take on the Full English (Or Full Aussie, I guess), with homemade beef sausages, a tomato chutney, and a herby potato cake as the point of difference. The eggs were well poached – still soft, but not too runny. The sausages were really good – meaty and balanced, just very small. The potato cake was tasty, but was bound with egg, which did make the texture a little pappy. The real star was the chutney, well spiced, yet subtle, and the tomato really sang in it. A great version of the all day breakfast classic.
I chose a dish that really was called The Grass is Greener, and as you can see, there was no grass, but the plate was several shades of green. Seasonal asparagus is one of my favourites. The Black Russian tomatoes were not too sweet, and a good heirloom variety. Unfortunately, being in a place where they can grow avocados and pick them ripe has ruined the European versions for me forever. There was a delicate herb salad of dill, parsley and chervil, dressed with good quality sunflower oil that was just perfect. The mayonnaise was pistachio, homemade and really, really good. The dish is not complicated, but it uses quality ingredients, doesn’t muck about with them, and just lets their natural flavour really sing.
We couldn’t resist desserts either.
The Big Guy will always go for the chocolate choice on any dessert menu, so of course, he had the brownie. Chocolate and Hazelnut. He said it was nice, but he is not really a man of many superlatives, so we can assume that is a good thing. He would definitely have been quick to judge faults.
I had the salted caramel peanut slice. The shortbread on it was lovely. I could probably have done with slightly fewer peanuts and slightly more caramel, but it was very good, and well-balanced between salt and sweet, which I like a lot. It was also a great accompaniment to that second pot of chai.
Reasonably priced, very well sourced, well made food and in a lovely location. The Farm Café is well worth seeking out if you are in Melbourne, the locals shouldn’t be able to keep this to themselves!
The Farm Café
18 St Heliers Street