We just have to say it. The name of this place and the name of our blog are eerily similar: Two Bears and a Fork eating at Two Beans And a Farm. Okay, so it’s not really eerie at all, but we think it’s nifty at the very least! What’s actually pretty cool is that this modern Australian tapas-inspired eatery is in a heritage building called the Carome Homestead in Mernda. Yes, I said Mernda. Hidden behind a bunch of McMansions, sitting in a paddock on the edge of the Gorge parklands. But it’s location is not the point of the blog, the point is the food!
With an exciting menu of lots of small and big things, we decided the carnivores would share the Autumn Feast ($50/pp) and the lone vegetarian (me) would order a few bits and pieces to round out the table. Among the yummy trio of dips, assortment of fresh breads, platter of cheese and meats was the Cauliflower side ($14). Oh muh gawd. Hands down the most amazing cauliflower on the planet (at least, that I’ve had yet!). Grilled and tossed with a mixture of Moroccan spices, dukkah and a sweet balsamic reduction – that cauliflower literally eclipsed everything else on the table for me!
The Autumn Feast was a complete a meat fest for the carnivores. With lamb sausages, pork belly, braised chicken, chorizo and steak – and a few potatoes – the bowl steadily emptied over the course of the evening. The flavouring and meat quality satisfied my friends more than enough!
Now, to add a little variety to the meat fest, the carnivores ordered the Brazilian Fish Stew ($30) which was openly and repeatedly declared as the best dish they had that night! The spice of the chilli, the fresh coriander, the zing of the lime mixed together with those South American spices produced flavours that had my cohorts dipping everything, including fingers, into that bowl to mop up every last bit of juice! A must try for anyone who enjoys seafood!
Yes, a second serve of that Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower side ($14). It had me at Hello. I really can’t say anything else other than I love it so much I’ve had it every time we’ve been since this review! The Heirloom Tomato + Goats Curd salad ($12) was light and fresh, and a great way to cleanse my palette after my cauliflower onslaught.
The Crispy Slaw came with the Autumn Feast, so my meat eating friends could get some form of fibre in their meal! LOL! Nothing overly impressive, but seeing them down some greens with their meat-madness was appreciated, if by no one else, at least me! The Beetroot + Lentil Salad ($12) rounded out my trio of sides – which made up my main meal – and had that lovely strong yet sweet beet root pizzazz, crunchy walnuts and salty feta. Great combination of flavours and texture; very tasty indeed!
A couple of coffees and a Macchiato accompanied our deserts, one of which was a Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake, which was delicious! However, it was less cheesecake and more mousse. But it was great none the less so we don’t quibble about the details!
The desert star was the Bread & Butter Pudding with a big dollop of ice cream. Nice and warm, sweet with a little sour from time to time – it hit the spot just right. We all dug into this one like it was going out of style! Highly recommend!
In sum, Two Beans and a Farm at the Carome Homestead is worth the trek. There aren’t that many spots this far out from the Melbourne CBD that are producing this level of fresh, delicious, and creative fusion-food. Actually, let me rethink that. Okay, there aren’t any at all! This place is truly one of a kind! From the menu, to the building, to the overall location. And let’s not forget the helpful, fun and quirky staff!
So yeah. You do have to manoeuvre through deep suburbia to get there. Then you have to dodge some of the biggest and most prolific potholes on the planet to reach the car park, which sits in a little farm oasis where you finally reach that old blue stone building. But it’s worth the effort. So much so, we’ve been back another two times since this review! Two thumbs up from two bears for the two beans!
Address: 10 Hathfelde Boulevard, Mernda VIC 3754
Tip! Definitely book to avoid disappointment. There aren’t many city-quality-restaurants out this way, so you’ll be arm wrestling for a table if you don’t plan ahead!