End of St Heliers St, Abbotsford, Melbourne
Visited 18th November 2009
I’m back in Australia for a couple of days on a short, unplanned visit. While the circumstances aren't the best I still wanted to try and see a few friends, including a good mate I organised to meet for lunch. He works at Melbourne's Sophia Mundi Steiner School which is located in the grounds of the Old Abbotsford Convent; the Farm Café is just out back and seemed the obvious choice. The café is attached to the Collingwood Children’s Farm; a Melbourne institution that aims to educate city kids about farming, self-sufficiency and environmental issues. The Queen of Australian cooking Stephanie Alexander used the Collingwood Children’s Farm as the hugely successful model on which her fantastic Kitchen Garden Foundation is based. The café is located just through the gate of the farm with plenty of rustic outdoor seating.
The menu isn’t massive, but it’s got some good options and obviously features fresh farm produce. Organic, biodynamic and free-range ingredients are of course a priority. My mate’s a fan of a sausage-roll or two so when he recommended the ones here, I jumped all over his advice. The big sausage roll was packed with organic beef, wrapped in flaky pastry and was just what the doctor ordered. Served with relish and a side salad it was a tasty and filling lunch. To drink it was iced coffee. I love iced coffee, but it is something I rarely drink in Hong Kong as it is always so badly done. In Melbourne it’s a different story and the chilled glass I was presented with had espresso poured over ice-cream, topped with milk and served with a dusting of coco; delicious.A large part of the joy of the Farm Café is its setting - a farm on the winding banks of the Yarra with the Old Abbotsford Convent in the background - however there’s more to the café than looking at a paddock of goats. The food is obviously fresh and really tasty, while the service is friendly and relaxed. My sausage-roll was $9.50 and the coffee $4.50 which seems about right for Melbourne these days. Honest, down to earth cafes selling top quality food and great coffee is what being back in Melbourne is all about and the Farm Café certainly fits the bill.
Visit restaurant website.