Fairbrossen Estate is a gorgeous winery hidden away in the hilly terrain of Carmel. This is a wonderful example of locals offering fresh produce in beautiful surrounds. The main reason we wanted to check it out was I noticed on their website they offered kids meals and thought it might be nice to investigate how "kid-friendly" it actually was. This was also to test my kids "embarrass-o-meter" performance levels and whether we would ever be able to return to the suburb again, let alone to the winery.
There are plenty of spaces to park the car, though on the day we went a lovely lady was attending her surprise 60th so there were lots of cars about. I suspect this is not usually the norm especially during winter, even more reason to go for a peaceful meal or take the kids for a test run in a winery setting if you haven't already.
The actual café itself is warm with lots of natural light, comfortable and very inviting. We sat on the deck which was enclosed by plastic blinds but still with excellent views of the vineyards and the forest.
My husband and I debated over the Vineyard Platter or the Lamb Shanks and Quiche. I'm actually keen to return just to try the shanks but I stand by the final decision which was the platter. Forget about the current trend of skimping on quantity, quality and flavour when ordering a tasting plate. This was phenomenal.
With a $45 price tag one may say it was a little steep. ($50 with a meat selection which of course we got, oink oink). However being presented with a lazy-susan jam-packed with fresh, wholesome produce bursting in colour and flavour, we would have no qualms handing over the well-deserved dosh again if this is the reward. Everything on this generous plate was delicious. I nearly cried when we couldn't finish the most divine blue cheese and brie I've had in ages.
My sons meal was also the most delightful kids selection I've seen in a while. There is a choice between sandwiches and home made sausage rolls and we opted for the latter. The pics of his mini feast are below and need no explanation other than, he mowed the lot.
The ladies at the 60th were having "high tea" and it looked amazing. Unfortunately I was not brazen enough to ask to take a photo of the long pretty table set up on the deck. The many tiered trays that decorated the length of it were over flowing with the most enchanting looking cakes, sandwiches and goodies that were very tempting. This party also had children who happily fluttered about the guests and were intrigued by my daughter. Very sweet.
The service was also a highlight. We were welcomed by a happy bloke we presumed was the owner and who confessed he was not the usual "greeter". I asked if we could sit anywhere and he handed us some menus and told us to go for it. He was friendly, honest and casual making us feel at home and not pressured in any way. It was like being at a relative's house for lunch. A wonderful rarity.
Our waitress was fantastic. Polite, efficient and accommodating without being over bearing at all. She tended to both my kids needs even though one wasn't technically eating (she was slobbering). Good service from happy people really does make a massive difference no matter where you eat.
This is also one of the first wineries we've actually plucked up the courage to enter since our second bub has come along. It was a very reassuring exercise in the end for my husband who was freaking out a little in the car park about how our unpredictable little maniacs were going to behave.
Thankfully with such an accommodating set up and perhaps the calming forces of the fresh hilly air the kids did oblige and we weren't asked to leave. Which is super as it gives me an excuse to return soon for the NV Pedro Ximinez and Nightcap liqueur wines are calling to be tasted.
With our meal my husband tried the Rustic Red and I had the Rosé. I wont bore you with a poor attempt of pretending I know anything about tannins, characters or tropical notes. However I'm certainly no stranger to the odd drop and can confidently report both wines were extremely yum.
As an owner of fairbrossen I would like to extend a sincere thank you for your kind words and review of our little winery/cafe. It is people like you that we love share our hospitality and love for natural foods and wine.
I hope you will say g'day next time you are up. Many thanks and some fantastic photos of your little angels :)