After an incredible dinner at Easy Tiger, we were lucky to be able to schedule a second catch-up with our visiting friends - this time at a more kid-friendly time and location. Astonishingly, it's been seven years since we visited the Collingwood Children's Farm and associated cafe. It remains as charming as ever - there are chickens and goats ambling around, a farm cat soaking up the attention and just a lovely outdoorsy vibe (admittedly this was a Friday morning - I get the impression it might be more of a madhouse on the weekends).
The cafe is divided into two bits - one on the farm side (requiring admission fees to the farm) and one off the bike path - once you've made your decision you're kind of stuck. The menu is focussed on local produce: lots of eggs, cheeses and veggies - so things are excellent for vegetarians but not really that great for vegans (in fact nothing on the menu is vegan by default - I assume they'd be able to rejig dishes like the beans though). They're much more concerned about gluten-free options, with well labelled dishes spanning sweet and savoury.
Cindy couldn't resist the allure of a breakfast crumble (berry and pear compote with toasted nut and buckwheat granola and blackberry yoghurt ($12.50).
It looked amazing - vibrant pink yoghurt and a colourful mix of fruit and nuts. Unfortunately, it didn't quite measure up - Cindy found it a bit too sweet, with a mixture of canned and fresh fruits and a sweet berry flavour in the yoghurt. The topping seemed to be mostly ground nuts and not other crumbly things like oats (it is gluten-free, which probably explains this choice).
I went savoury with the goat's toast (creamy goat's curd, house beetroot relish, avocado, a poached egg and herbs on toast ($16.50).
This was an excellent choice - the toast was covered in a slightly sweet beetroot relish, there were two generous dollops of tangy goats cheese and loads of delicious fresh greens. I'd have enjoyed it with two poached eggs rather than one, but that's really just me being greedy.
The coffees were fine and the service friendly, but the Farm Cafe is really all about the atmosphere - it's such a lovely place to sit on a cool Melbourne morning. With the farm around you and the river winding past, you quickly forget that Collingwood and the city are at your back and just relax. It's obviously a great spot to take kids as well - the cafe caters well for them and the farm provides endless entertainment.
Read about our first visit to The Farm Cafe (seven years ago!) here. There are uniformly positive blog reviews of The Farm Cafe - check out Ichigo Shortcake, MEL: HOT OR NOT, ediblethings, Brunch Addict, Pramsandwich, The Cheeky Skunk, Ronnie's Spots and little eats.
The Farm Cafe
Collingwood Children's Farm, 18 St Helliers St, Abbotsford
veg dishes $10.50-$16.50
Accessibility: We came in the farm-side, which involves a gravelly path to the table area and then four or five steps up to the counter. You order at a high counter and carry your own drinks back to the table, while the staff bring the food down for you. We didn't visit the toilets.