Who needs an excuse to go shopping? In fact after the shopping, who needs to justify finding a nice little spot to have a bite of lunch but with its own sense of identity, relaxation and a place where friendliness and service are as important as the meal itself?
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People who live around the Wantirna/Ferntree Gully area have known about this little gem for years, and yet many locals from a little further afield still seem surprised to know it's actually there, waiting for them.
I'm talking about the delightful little coffee shop called Banksia Nurseries Coffee Shop. It's tucked down one side of the Banksia Nurseries on Burwood Highway in Wantirna South, almost opposite the Knox Council Offices.
I've had the pleasure of visiting this little coffee shop many times over the years, and have chosen different seasons to do so. I've visited in the midst of the torrid summer and the depths of winter with the wind howling outside, and their soup hits the spot every time. Even though no longer a gardener, I enjoy wandering around the garden centre itself seeing the beautiful blooms and plants that await as you alight from your car, and slowly wend your way through the displays of riotious colours.
Not only lunches, but morning and afternoon teas are served, and their Devonshire Tea is a"must". But don't overlook their meals. Banksia Coffee Shop is family-friendly and they have a great little selection for children. It is such a popular spot that it's preferable to make a booking should you want to go there.
My choice this time was a baked potato with smoked salmon and capers. One of the freshest and 'unfussiest' meals I've had in a long time.
The staff are extremely polite and gracious and attend to your bookings speedily and promptly. Little added gestures like offering a newspaper while you wait add to the experience.
Many small eating places such as this focus on noise, including loud music and hustle and bustle. Banksia Nurseries Coffee Shop doesn't need to do anything but do what it does well - provide simple snacks and meals, lovely coffee and teas with the utmost courtesy. They have "specials" boards, as well as a great menu to choose from.
While you're there, browse the nursery and choose from spectactular plants as a special treat to yourself. Why not take time to choose a special gift for family or a friend? They've just some real little treasures tucked into the Banksia Nurseries Shop.
The Banksia Garden Centre has more than just plants. There is the Banksia Greenhouse and Outdoor Centre, the Banksia Nursery, Banksia Garden Supplies and the, Banksia Pool and Spa Shop, all open seven days, 9.00am until 5.00pm.