Tuesday, 30 December 2014

brunch on the mountain

After glazing madly the past week - including Christmas afternoon/evening - I feel a little more relaxed.  This weekend marks the last of the “big holiday markets” of the Christmas/New Year season.
With an assortment of clay goodies fired and waiting to cool in the kiln on Sunday morning, hubby and I took a drive around the mountain on our quest for coffee.
We were not disappointed.
Rounding a deep corner, we happened upon a quaint little place that is under new management.

There are cafés a plenty in these parts. Some are favourites, which we frequent regularly. Some aren’t placed very well and/or don’t appeal. Others don’t pull a good coffee, so we tend to avoid them.

But, when the sign for a café includes the words, “scrumptious” and, even better… “snuggery pre-loved bookshop”, well, of course, I’m in!!

Snug. Snuggle. Snuggery. What better invitation does one need?   Especially when a long time dream of mine used to be owning a coffee/bookshop with big comfy couches and booths to while away a rainy day.

The little old wooden cottage, enveloped by gracefully aged deciduous trees and gardens, has always looked inviting. Now, even more so.

Entering through the gate, which is guarded by stone eagles, we were greeted by real life cheeky white cockatoos gathered above, shrieking to alert the café staff that customers have arrived.

'allo, 'allo, 'allo!

When we walked through the wooden door into the warm, welcoming front room, I gasped with delight… a Christmas book tree!

just makes one smile

Having much admired the photo of a similar tree at Elephant's Child, I didn’t think I’d be so lucky to see one in person.
I love it!  Hubby thought it was, “pretty cool” also.

This quaint cottage café has great ambience, with bookcases throughout, filled with second hand books (available to buy at great prices), a fireplace in every room, comfy chairs and tables with patina and thankfully, great coffee.  That’s a very good sign.


We wanted to stay a while, so hubby decided to treat us to brunch.
The menu has so many choices, and I had a time choosing. This is no bland, standard, same as everywhere else, fare.
I mean, how good is it to see a menu that offers “thick doorstop toast”…?  No meagre slices here, folks. But good quality, home cooked food with local produce, cage free eggs, and options to adapt for gluten free, vegans and vegetarians.

As we arrived just on opening, we had the place pretty much to ourselves and could choose from any of the rooms in the charmingly rambling abode. We chose “the nook”.

Christmas-time in Australia is usually hideously hot, sticky and uncomfortable – I’m just not a high summer lovin’ girl.  But we are fortunate that the mountain still offers very cool nights and brisk, chilly mornings – at least til January. Then, the climate here invariably catches up with the rest of the country.
So, it was a very pleasant surprise to find fires burning in some of the charming little hearths, “to take the chill off the morning air”.

I can imagine how lovely this place will be on a cold, wet, winter’s day.  Heaven.

After a generous, hearty morning meal of fat, juicy, tender portobello mushrooms topped with a sauce including chopped, sweet button mushrooms and spring onion, a small side salad and crisp French toast, I took the opportunity to explore and take a few pics while hubby sat back and relaxed.

Now, who doesn’t love to suddenly come across a knight in rusty armour?

how awesome!

As someone who loves scrabble, I thought this is, ahem, a novel idea for a book cafe :)



a cosy, sunny corner

I have to admit that I'm not (and hope never to have to be) a kindle or electronic reading device owner.
I will always prefer to hold in my hands a "real" bound book - especially one that has that particular mythical, magical, musty smell that an electronic device just can't replicate - such things will never arouse the senses like the tattered, dog eared, richly illustrated, earl grey tea tinted pages from tomes of old.....  achoo! Bless you ;)

It’s wonderful to be able to peruse the bookshelves, and be encouraged to sit in a cosy corner to read while sipping a coffee, specialty tea or - oh my - a hot chocolate made with no less than fifteen generous pieces of luscious Lindt couverture chocolate, sitting silkily in the bottom of a tall glass of hot milk!

I’m so glad that the youthful, silly days of almost starving myself to stay a tiny size 8 are well behind me, and I can relish (without guilt) such luxuries :D

And, life is waaay too short to pass on this..... their “signature dessert”.

Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream.  Decadent.  Delicious.  Deadly.
Perfect at anytime.
Of course, I ordered it.  And, it was as good as it looks, only... better  :)

Their menu is vast and enticing. There will be many visits needed to try dishes and drinks that appeal to me.   Like the Irish coffee, which I’ll wait to order on cold, frosty, winter days to sip slowly by the fire. Then there’s the Frangelico Affogato…. 'cuse me while I stop to stare out the window and plan my next visit...

For tea lovers, there is a great selection of bespoke teas. Even I was enticed by their specialty teas, one with the tempting name, “Fields of Gold”.  The menu describes, “amazingly fresh and uplifting herbal and fruit blend including chamomile, strawberry, cherry pieces, berry leaves, lemon peel, peppermint, lemongrass and vanilla”.

There’s something for everyone, and all without the often outrageous prices found in some chic inner city cafés.

This little gem on the mountain also has options to sit outside and enjoy deep, cool shade from lime green elms and verdant oaks.

A wander in the garden reveals little delights…

On our way out, I did a double take.
Is that? Could it be? Yes. A creature I had often seen in books, but not in life.

A Sphynx cat.

This very handsome, one year old boy is called ‘Dante’.  Really, what a great name for a cat.
Dante’s owner sat with her coffee as she monitored his investigative amble through the garden.

He was very well behaved, not remotely interested in running away and returned to her to be placed back into his special carrier, ready for his trip home.
I was asked if I’d like to hold him, and I nodded enthusiastically.
Now before anyone says, “ewwwww, that would feel strange.” I have to say that Dante felt like... sensuous, warm velvet. An utterly unique and delightful tactile sensation, and I can understand why Sphynx are loved by those who have them in their life.
Dante really was quite the cuddly, deeply purring charmer.

And so ended a delicious brunch on the mountain at a magical little place, which just so happens to be called Brunch Café-Restaurant.
If anyone living in Victoria, Australia or anywhere in this big, wide world, wishes to visit the Dandenong Ranges and experience more of the magic the mountain has to offer, I highly recommend a trip to Brunch.

You might even see me there… I know I’ll be haunting it regularly ;)


I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
May 2015 be kind to you all, and I sincerely wish that good health, peace and contented happiness bless your homes and all who live within them.



  1. What an absolutely perfect place! and a great tour of it as well :)
    When I go to a coffee shop I too dream of owning one, if only to do it right. I am never quite satisfied sitting in the shops around here, there are none with any cozy. Cozy and coffee go together, why don't they get that!?
    Lovely blog post as I sit here drinking my ovally roasted coffee. Happy holidays to you Vicki

    1. I so agree, Tracey - coffee and cosy, they just have to be together.
      I've been in some shockers where I wonder if the owners had any idea about what customers need to feel cosy, welcome, snug and importantly, to come back again... often.
      I think you'd create the perfect cafe, full of great atmosphere!
      On the eve of 2015, I wish you a wonderful, safe and happy New Year!

  2. Ooooh. What an absolutely amazing place. Do they accept 'permanent guests'?
    It sounds wonderful, and just what you needed after all the hours and hours and hours of work you have been putting in.
    Thank you for the link - and a very happy New Year. Productive - with time for treats like this.

    1. I think they are actually renovating a little B&B on the other side of the cottage - that would be wonderful for out of town guests...
      I'll keep you posted EC ;)

      And, I wish a very safe, happy and healthy 2015 for you and SP.

  3. Oh my, what a perfect place.
    It's almost looks like you could return only to find it was all a dream
    or was it?
    A place to rest and revive you after all your hard work.
    Pure magic.
    I love the birds and that cat! Too good to be true!
    Seeing this once again stirs that desire to have a little shop....
    oh well, sigh.
    I wish you a Happy New Year my friend!
    I hope this new year proves to be magical too.

    1. It is a lovely place to just rest and release the worries for a time for sure, Cindi - I know you'd love it!
      Funny, you mention about returning to find it all a dream... like Brigadoon!!
      I thought the same thing :)

      So many of us seem to kindle (or once did) the dream of a little shop - of one sort or another.
      Never give up, there's always a chance perhaps, who knows...

      Wishing you and your dear furry crew a magical year also.
      This is the year for your wonderful illustrated book! Let's make it so. And, if you need any support....

  4. WOW!! Vicki, I am sure that this café and the land it sits on must be under a faery enchantment and protection. It's so magical and beautiful. You live in such a gorgeous area of the planet, thank you so much for this post and the photos! I read it three times and I'm going back to read it again. The owners should have named it "The-As-Close-To-Heaven-As-You're-Going-To-Get-On-This-Earth Café."

    And, anyone who would not want to pet a Sphynx cat...well, I could never trust a person like that.

    OMG. I just looked at your reply to EC. They have a B&B!!?? I'm on my way! (Don't I wish). Ah well...I can dream. And go buy another lottery ticket, lol.



    1. Ahhh, I knew you'd love this place, Victoria. And, you'd feel right at home - from one magic mountain to another :)
      The fae do still grace certain special places on earth, don't they?

      Dante really was so lovely to hold - I could've cuddled him for ages. What a gorgeous boy.

      Anytime you do want to rest a while on another part of the earth across the sea, let me know... lotto dreams can come true....
      And, you'd be very welcome :)

  5. oh good grief! where to start!!! my first thought when i saw what this was to be about was . . . " and .... she's BACKKKK!!!! "
    how i love your taking us with you . . . whether light houses (my favorite until this one! LOL) or little snug brunch and book places. oh i have loved it.
    can you imagine an enchanting place like this one with bookcases filled with kindles? spare me.
    and to finish with the exotically beautiful little dante. and to know he feels just like velvet. an immediate wonderful sensation.
    thank you dear heart. this was a treat.
    good luck in your last market for this year! well. as i write this i guess you're already there maybe. and after that maybe a few easier days? :)
    happy new year to one of the dearest people on the planet. XOXO and a kiss for jack. our beloved blue boy. ♥

    1. You know me Tam, I couldn't help myself. As I began taking pictures, a journey evolved :)
      And, I thought you would love to come along...

      No, kindles and I just won't gel. When I fall asleep in bed with a book, it doesn't hurt when it lands on my face as much as I imagine a cold, hard electronic device would, lol.
      And, I care not for the arguments of less room required if many books are stored on one.
      It just doesn't give me the same feeling as when I look at a real bookcase on the wall, inviting me to peruse the spines. That's just me...

      Dante was a treat to meet. I'll never forget how amazing he felt. A rare and wonderful encounter.

      The market is this Saturday, so, I'm feeling relaxed and am grateful that I have enough time to prepare without hurry, for a change :)

      Wishing you a Happy New Year, dear Tam. May 2015 be kind and gentle on you and fill your life with beauty and wonder.
      Jack sends a very special cheek lick.
      And, a big warm hug from me ♥♥

  6. Just stopping back by to wish you the most wonderful new year, one filled with love, happiness, good health, joy, prosperity, magic...everything that makes life wonderful in abundance!



    P.S. I can attest to how much a Kindle hurts when it hits your nose if you nod off, having done this many times. Talk about a rude awakening!

    1. Haha! Glad to know, Victoria! As I always fall asleep reading, I know I would get regular bruises from a kindle, lol. So, books it is for me :)

      Thank you so much for your wonderful well wishes for 2015. I wish the same for you too...
      May you have abundant snow when you need it, rain to fall and quench the earth and a happy, healthy community of wonderful wild folk in your beautiful forest.
      Kisses to darling Mrs. Rose. You are like the Beatrix Potter of your magic mountain....

  7. This is my second reading of this post! Thank you, Vicki for taking us along to this serene and charming place. Books, comfy chairs, fire, chocolate, coffee, desserts---it is a piece of heaven...I do have a Nook for my camping expeditions, but still love, love, love my papery wild and luscious books. And to top it all---gentle Dante! A prosperous and Happy New Year, Vicki.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, Charlene :)
      And, I had a feeling you would love the handsome Dante.

      I really like your words of, "papery wild and luscious books". Perfect! They are that indeed, and more.

      May you have a wonderful, creatively fulfilling and prosperous 2015. I look very much forward to your stunning, ethereal clay beauties. They always take my breath away...

  8. We share a dream! I used to want a cafe/bookshop, pre-loved books of course, and big comfy armchairs scattered about, plenty of old coffee tables for feet to be put up.
    Happy New Year.

    1. I think many of us who love books share, or once had, a similar dream. And what a lovely dream to have. Now, if only the lotto numbers would come up :)

      Happy New Year, River!

    2. Oh my, oh my... Words can't do justice, to how marvelous this place sounds....

      I know you will go back again. And hope you bring us with you, when you do.

      Happy, Healthy 2015,

    3. Thanks Tessa. I'll definitely be back for breakfast/brunch/afternoon tea. And will be very happy to bring you along too...

      May you be blessed with a wonderful, joyful, healthy 2015!

  9. This is the third time I've tried to comment. The first time blogger ate my comment ... so annoying! The second time the blasted phone rang and when I came back I'd forgotten what I was going to say! And the third - being now - I'm just on my way out, so I thought unless I say something now you'll never hear from me!

    So anyway, great post (I know it off by heart now!) :) Love the cafe - what an extraordinary place! And that cat ... oh my!

    And here's wishing you a very Happy New Year also, Vicki! Nice to know you :)

    1. I hate it when blogger eats my comments - and it happens regularly enough to me that now that I always copy my comments - just in case - so I can paste them back into the comment box. Don't know why it happens, but, the internet is a maze of mystery :)

      It's a nice little cafe, and I'm so happy to have met Dante. These lovely cats are rare around here - happenstance is a wonderful thing :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by Wendy... Wishing you a fantastic year filled with much creative inspiration!

  10. I've never seen anything I wanted quite so much as that Christmas book tree - AWESOME!!! Even though I live nowhere near this FAAAAABULOUS sounding little spot, I think it'll stick in my head, somehow! Happy New Year, my friend - I hope 2015 is a great year for you!

    1. I know! It is so cool! Such a neat idea.

      Looking forward to a year of more mind blowing, stunning photos at your blog, Red. You are a magician with a camera!

      Wishing you a bright, beautiful 2015. Safe travels around this amazing country of ours :)

  11. Hi, Vicki... and Happy New Year! Oh, what a SUPER-SWEET place!! Tucked away among the trees... so magical! LOVE that book tree! I could easily imagine LIVING there... haha! BEAUTIFUL food... *swoon*... Sooo good to catch up with you here post-holidays. And you'll never guess... I'm reviving the blog. Yes, and I was away sooo long... LOL! A woman's prerogative, what can I say? ;o) Happy Days ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Yay Tracy! So glad to know! I look forward to your next (new) post :)

      Yes, I'd love to live in a sweet cottage like that... one day.

      Wishing you a wonderful 2015, my friend :)
      hugs xx


Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to read your comments and will reply as soon as I can :)