I am a mum of two and Primary School teacher whose aim is to never be home during the midday movie. I believe that I am only ever a car trip away from an adventure.
Published November 13th 2013
It's a little bit of country and a whole lot of delicious
Sometimes your best meal memory comes from the most unexpected of places. Is that because the food was delicious or the company was joyous? Is it because the place was lovely or classic or whatever suits your taste or is it simply the combination of everything that creates a happy memory whenever you recall the meal and the moment? Whatever the reason a fab find off the beaten track or an unexpected surprise is always welcome in my day.
We were recently fortunate enough to have a city escape in the lovely township of Gembrook, a mere 45km drive from Melbourne. It was after a busy morning packing the car, the kids and exploring our holiday whereabouts that suddenly the realisation set in that no one had eaten since earlier on and it was close to 1:30. I could suddenly see the hunger monster starting to take hold and enthusiasm was quickly turning to arguments and unhappiness. So we did what all tourists do, jumped into the car and started driving until we came across the first eating establishment still open and serving.
Off the beaten track shines Cafe 91
Hence we walked into Cafe 91 located on the main street of Gembrook village and it was scrumptious. The perfect meal at the perfect time and very quickly the hunger monster disappeared and the laughter, smiles and conversations one should share at the table returned. Phew!
Indoor and outdoor seating to suit all of Melbourne's weather challenges.
Cafe 91 is a friendly, inviting and cosy little place. It has an outdoor seating area as well as an alcove which is perfect for undecided Melbourne weather. Inside the large counter and the wooden beams along the ceiling are highlighted with quirky and well chosen rustic pieces such as plastic fruit on the table ,a large iron clock and a "Kiss the Cook" plaque.
Inviting you in with warmth and hospitality, Cafe 91 is full of little things to catch your eye and make you smile.
It's a light and breezy cafe which lets the food speak for itself with simple and delicious country fare that is done deliciously and expertly. The hardest part is choosing what to eat. Lucky for me the staff are friendly and accommodating and were able to keep up with my ever changing order. Finally I decided upon the Ploughman's lunch and even after having most of it stolen from my plate by the family, there was still heaps of gourmet treats for me to pick my way through. For $13 I indulged in crackers and a crusty roll with pumpkin seeds on top, fresh garden salad, marinated olives, gherkins, pickled onions, tasty butter, tomato relish worth licking the bowl clean for and a selection of creamy cheeses to top it off. I could eat nothing else for ever on.
The Ploughman's lunch was utterly delectable
However if your more of a meal type than a picker then the menu is full of temptations, from pies with Angus beef to Spinach and Feta muffins or Vegetarian Parcels. There is a tasty breakfast menu too with French Toast and berries and eggs in many ways. But we were obviously well and truly too late for that. You can choose a lovely Devonshire Tea option which I am told is better than you would find at more well know local establishment. For $10 there's the option of two scones, date if you prefer, double whipped cream and country style raspberry jam. You even get your choice of tea or coffee which makes for a fabulous deal.
The Angus beef pie was thick and rich in flavour but the tomato relish was amazing
For visitors with a sweet tooth the place is fully stocked with home made delicious treats to tempt you and fulfil any sugar craving you may have with gluten free options available too. I was eyeing off the Chocolate Fudge cake, Lemon tart and Raspberry slice and if I'm not mistaken there was a cake with lime or figs on offer too. We watched many happy locals and tourists popping in for afternoon tea and it was really a nice feeling being surrounded by people enjoying a hot drink and a slice of cake making happy sounds all around us.
Old fashioned spider with raspberry lemonade and lashes of cold ice cream
The coffee (mine was in a mug!) is the best I tried whilst we ate and drunk our way around the Dandenong Ranges and the organic juice choices and old fashioned spiders were met with much enthusiasm by my daughters.
Cafe 91 should definitely be on your radar if you are heading into the mountains for a weekend escape or a day trip. The food, decor and service is so welcoming and inviting that you'll feel right at home and are sure to enjoy a truly rustic inspired meal. Definitely a happy food memory for us.