A beautiful windmill swirling in the wind, ancient grandfather and exquisite cuckoo clocks for sale in a historical cobblestone house; an afternoon in Montville feels like I have stepped into a quintessential European provincial town.
Although the whole town felt like a fairy-tale, Poets Cafe still managed to catch my eye as it reminded me of a previous trip to the picturesque sea-side town of Vernazza in Cinque Terre.
Its lofty position and cheery outdoor tables hinted at a view of the Hinterlands and although we just had lunch not too long ago, we did not hesitate to try it out just to bask in the luxurious surroundings.
With stained glass windows and paintings adorning the walls, Poets Café is a charming place to visit and soak in the atmosphere. We sat outside and sure enough, we had a great view of the vast forest overlooking the hilly mountains. The first thing I thought when I saw the menu was that we definitely needed to pay extra for the gorgeous view of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
The prices were steeper than other cafes with a cup of mocha, hot chocolate and a cup of tea for $6 each. However, this was no different to tourist towns in Europe. Most venues in prime locations with gorgeous views charge tourist prices. The increased cost here is fair enough as the whole experience did feel like a tourist experience. The luxurious setting does whisk you away and make you feel like you are on a holiday.
I am not a coffee connoisseur but my dining partner who is a great coffee fan commented that she had tasted better. I did note that the coffee is supposed to be made from spring water, though so that was unusual. I ordered the scones with fresh cream and strawberry jam and I thought they tasted quite good. Perhaps the surroundings made it taste better, giving a sense of opulence and elegance.
I have read mixed reviews about the customer service but I did not encounter anything negative. The waitress was prompt and pleasant and what we ordered came out on time. However, we did not order a full meal and just experienced their coffee and dessert service. The café was established in 1995 and has its fare share of both local customers and tourists wanting to experience the great tradition of European café life.
At the bottom level of the café is a gallery with exhibitions of modern landscape, figurative and abstract painting, prints, ceramics, glass and sculpture. Home to some of Australia's most original contemporary artists, the gallery is open from Wed to Sun 11.00 am - 5.00 pm. The gallery is not open on public holidays.
The café is a perfect setting for a dream wedding as well and they do have set packages for up to 100 guests including venue and food. If you are more into an outdoor setting for your wedding, they can organize that for you.
To get to the café by car from Brisbane, head north along the Bruce Highway, taking the Landsborough exit (Blackall Range Tourist Drive). Travel through Beerwah and pass the magnificent volcanic Glasshouse Mountains. Head up the scenic route towards Maleny and the Blackall Range. Turn right at the top and head towards Montville. The café is open from Monday - Thursday: 9am - 6pm. Friday - Saturday: 9am - 9pm. Sunday: 8.30am - 6pm.
We had our wedding reception here, with pre dinner drinks in the gallery for guests while we were getting photos done. The service and food were great, and teh atmosphere was spectacular. Certainly not a cheap option, but we found it more affordable and a lot more interesting than any of the many specialist reception venues in the area. A must t revisit for my wife and I 7 years on.