Thursday 13 June 2024

Van Loons Nursery Cafe, Wallington, Geelong

On the weekend we had lunch at Van Loons Nursery Cafe in the outer east of Geelong.  It was a delicious lunch in the glassed in verandah surrounded by plants both inside and out.  I had a good choice of meals with both vegetarian options on the specials board and a separate plant based menu.  After lunch we enjoyed perusing the plants in the the nursery.

We were glad we booked when we arrived and the person in front of us was told she had to wait for a table.  Our booking was for an indoors table but we were between inside and out in the glassed in verandah.  We were protected from sun and rain overhead and from the winds but there were it was not totally enclosed.  You can see in the above photo that there is a green blanket on the back of chair.  I appreciated placing my blanket over my knees because there were some cool drafts.  I was near one of the stand headers so I was warm up top.

The menu had a note to ask for a plant based menu, which we did.  These days, plant based menus are great, especially for me because I don't like eggs but I sometimes wish for the option of cheese without paying for extras.  The plant based menu gave options for many of the dishes on the main menu without the meat, eggs and dairy: porridge, smashed avo, nourish bowl, vegie burger and paella.  The plant based meals are slightly cheaper but had less proteins.

I ordered the Plant Based Breakfast ($26): Seeded toast, roasted tomato, hash browns, mushrooms, baby spinach, avocado, baked beans, red onion & tomato salsa, tomato relish.  It was a big and beautiful plate.  So much good food!  I feel bad to criticise such a lovely big meal but I have quibbles.  While I am not generally a fan of mock meat, I would have liked some vegie sausages (after I had so many with fry ups in the UK recently).  I found the tomatoes a little under ripe.  The seeded toast was lovely but I would prefer it served on the side so I don't feel obliged to try and cut it with a knife and fork.  (This seems a trend in cafes lately and I must be developing a lot of muscles sawing through the crusts.)  Despite all of this, it was delicious with lots of nice vegies and crisp hash browns, all brought together with the beans. 

Sylvia was pleased with her Potato and Herb Rosti ($27): with poached egg, smashed avocado and goats cheese.  Her plate looks a bit lacking, which I assume is because she asked for it without bacon.  She was pleased to add some vegies from my plate, especially the mushrooms.  There was a vegan version on the Plant Based Menu but it had baby spinach and roasted tomato instead of the bacon, poached egg, and goats cheese.  Sylvia decided that two out of three aint bad!  She raved about how good it was with a crispy unseasoned rosti, lots of avocado and the runny egg yolk all brought together by the wonderful soft salty goats cheese.  I was surprised that hers cost one dollar more than mine. 

The soup on the specials blackboard was called Bread Soup ($20): it had roasted red peppers and tomatoes with croutons, served with toasted ciabatta and herb & garlic butter.  I had a mouthful of the bowl that my parents ordered to share.  It was chunky and full of flavour.

My parents also shared a sweet waffle ($27) with fresh berries, sweet dukkah, maple syrup in a little jug, lemon curd and fresh whipped cream in pretty swirls.  It looked beautiful and was enjoyed.  I didn't taste it but Sylvia sampled the cream and says it was delicious.

We resisted the rocky road hot chocolate on the specials board.  Instead we drank apple juice, kombucha and coffees.

When it was time to pay, I had a look at the indoor space.  It seemed more crowded that the verandah but was cosy with hanging plants and vases of flowers.

Most of the sweet food is inside.  The sweets cabinet had a great variety including cheesecakes, friands, slices, banana bread, roulade, macarons and lemon meringue pie.  Many of these would be part of the high teas.  For those wanting a larger dessert, the specials blackboard offered rocky road waffles.

For those who wanted to take food home, there were local and gourmet groceries to purchase.  You can also see the pile of scones to the right of the above photo.  It would be great to return to have tea and scones because they looked huge and fluffy.

Here is a peek of the outdoors area where meals in the finer weather would be lovely among all the plants.  Despite the sun in the photo, it was not a warm day when we visited.

Once we had eaten our lunch, we had a wander around the nursery.  It is not the cheapest place to buy plants and pots but they are very beautiful to peruse.

Despite it being winter, there were colourful flowers to admire.

There were lots of large pots on sale around this fountain.

Nearby are more pots by a rather impressive wrought iron pergola.

On the other side of herb and vegetables seedlings shed are these purple pots so beautiful arranged in curved rows.

We looked at the native plants, chose a correa for our back yard and headed past the indoor displays.  Inside we found more plants and garden decorations including a bunch of wonderful large metal poppies on sticks.

We were ready to go by now and had very little time to admire the succulents in these cute pots before making out purchases and heading home.  It was quite a trip from home for us so it might be some time before we are able to visit again but I am glad to have been there.

Van Loons Nursery Cafe
405 Grubb Road, Wallington, Geelong
9am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday. 9am – 5pm weekends

1 comment:

  1. I often wonder why they don't make a build your own breakfast, with all the options, so that everyone can enjoy what they like to eat. I usually ask for a serrated knife when we get bread that needs cutting, as you just cannot do it with a normal 'butter' knife. Everything looks good, especially the waffle ;)


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