Monday, 19 November 2018

The Bird Cafe, Mt Hotham

On our recent trip to Mt Hotham, I found myself and a work colleague needing to get inside from the cold.  We decided to go to the Bird Cafe which had some views of the skiing.  It was here I tasted my first poutine, sharing it with my foodie colleague to warm us up.  It was so good I decided to return the next day so I could blog it.

The Bird looks out over the Mt Hotham Central Lodge, one of the busiest areas of the mountain.  It is a great place to watch people skiing by, to check out people's snow fashions (ie how they can look stylish in michelin man outfits) and marvel at the little kiddies on skis.

Inside The Bird has a sort of Nordic cosy charm.  By which I mean, you can be in country Victoria and imagine you are in a Swiss chalet.  Lots of pine panelling and pine furniture.  However around the time we were there, they held a beach party so perhaps that was a nod to being in Australia.  The bar was really busy but it was a nice place to wait to place your order.

To complete the Nordic theme there is a large stone fireplace.  Getting a seat in front of it was hard but I can imagine it would be lovely to sit in front of it all day with a good book and mulled wine while the snow and wind howled outside.

As I have mentioned snow fashions are different from those in the city.  People have large thick warm coats, and at times they are dripping with water.  I really loved all the coat hooks above where people can hang up their warm outer snow gear.  Then they would sit inside with waterproof snow pants held up by braces and snow suits peeled back on top.

We tried to avoid eating out too much on Mt Hotham but I thought the Bird was more reasonably priced than some places in the Lodge.  When I came by the second day I was told there was a 25 minute wait for my order.  It was slightly longer.  It would have been quicker and cheaper if I had chosen the soup or the "sorry rolls" in the bain marie (sausage rolls with lots of variations - when I was there the feta and spinach roll looked excellent).

At $12 the poutine wasn't too pricey but the vegie burger was $17 and the warm roast veg salad was $15.  Not cheap but not much different to inner city prices.   

I started with a hot chocolate from the bar.  Luckily I had a seat at the window where I could watch the people going by.  I had my trail maps to plan where to go snow shoeing in the afternoon.  And I had time to read my book - Circe by Madeline Miller.  As an aside, the is an amazing book, telling the stories of Greek mythology from a woman's perspective with great warmth  and courage.

By the time my poutine came I was in a bit of a hurry because I was late to meet up with my group to touch base.  So I was pretty excited to get the chips covered with cheese curds and gravy.  I probably ate them too quickly given how hot they were but I enjoyed them.

I usually like my chips plain without sauce.  Yet, the poutine was so pleasing.   The soft curds and salty gravy went surprisingly well with the chips.  I loved hoisting the chips up with fork and watching the cheese strings stretching far and then dangling as they finally broke.  The poutine really warmed me up on the first day when it was so cold, and sustained me on the second day when I did quite a lot of walking. 

If I had had more time I would have returned to the Bird.  It was a nice mountain cafe with a good ambience and good food.  In the above photo you can see that there are lots of outside seats with great views of the snowy mountains.  I wonder what it is like in summer when the snow has all gone and the weather is much warmer.

The Bird
40 Great Alpine Rd, Hotham Heights VIC 3741
(03) 5759 3503
Open 7 days a week 7.30am - 6.30am

The Bird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. Your poutine looks terrific - it would have warmed the cockles in that cold weather.

  2. Same amount of snow up here in Québec...
    Funny to see "our" poutine!

  3. I love poutine! And it's the perfect skiing food too.


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