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Published April 26th 2018
A Heavenly Cafe and Garden Retreat in Samford Valley
Does anyone else remember coming home from school in the 1970s and watching an American sitcom about a nun who could fly? That's right, a nun who, inexplicably and miraculously, could gently loft herself into the air during a strong wind and fly over the school where she worked. It starred a youthful Sally Field and was called The Flying Nun. My fond memories of this show came flooding back to me while I visited The Flying Nun café and restaurant in Samford village, north of Brisbane.
The original Flying Nun, Sally Field. Photo courtesy Getty Images
Arriving in Samford after a 25 minute drive from the western suburbs felt like I was spending a day in the country despite being located only 21 kms from the CBD. A truck carrying bales of hay passed me at the Samford roundabout after crossing through the hillside pass and into the valley, which only reinforced that rural vibe.
There is so much to share and explore at The Flying Nun cafe. Where do I start?
Is that a church? Yes. The Flying Nun is housed in a re-purposed church and located on the corner of Church Street and Station Road in the centre of the picturesque and rural Samford Village. The church itself is a heavenly place to stop for something to eat, particularly after a drive and has retained the beauty of its former life. The main building was once a Methodist Church and was moved to its current location in 1922 from Eatons Crossing Road.
Stepping inside, one of the first points of interest is the hand made stained glass windows which let in and catch the colours of the light. The red panels in the main windows in the main building are original, having been salvaged from a church on the Darling Downs, west of Toowoomba.
The sunroom Photo courtesy of the Flying Nun website
The café has 3 seating areas. Inside you get to experience the uniqueness of the church including a room called The Nun. An outside deck is shaded by umbrellas and a canopy of luscious trees. Comfy lounge chairs line the kerb and this alcohol free area is the preferred resting spot for pawrents of pups and parents of energetic toddlers. All areas are great. It's choosing that is difficult.
What's on the menu The Flying Nun offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options. My chai latte ($4.00) and a bottle of water arrived quickly after ordering and had a wonderful hint of caramel without being too sweet. Zentveld from Byron Bay is the preferred coffee of The Flying Nun.
The breakfast menu has the usual, eggs, toast, and avocado items alongside some very hearty and unusual options. The slow cooked spiced pulled lamb and tabbouleh salad with roasted sweet potato hummus, fried eggs, chimichurri and toasted flatbread ($21.00) and the slow cooked smoky BBQ beef brisket brekkie burger with a fried egg, spinach and chipotle mayo on toasted brioche ($14.50) are worth mentioning.
For lunch, the blackened chicken breast fillet with chipotle chilli rub, served with slow cooked turtle beans with bacon, cumin roasted sweet potato and house made guacamole is also notable. Rainforest Garden and Garden Art
Once you've finished eating, it's worth checking out the rainforest gardens of The Flying Nun. They are filled with mature trees, shrubs and succulents which shade the café and, for any keen gardener, are an extra talking point.
The commanding bromeliads were some of the largest I have seen and greeted guests on arrival. Within the garden beds look out for curious pieces of art scattered throughout the foliage. Look carefully and you'll find sculptures, mosaics, wrought –iron garden bench seats and gates, and well-worn, rusted bicycles.
For me, the standout feature of The Flying Nun was the original, red London phone box at the front entrance to the café, which was brought across from England. It was an unexpected touch and made me feel that my journey was a little further and more international than I was expecting.
If you decide to visit you will find that ample free, street parking is available outside the cafe. The Flying Nun is open 7 days including dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. If you are looking to experience a scenic drive to the hills to explore the unexpected and certainly eclectic, then fly into the Flying Nun. It's worth your while.