Two beans and a farm

Posted on March 17, 2014

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People who know me will know that I will travel for food. This is why I found myself all the way in Mernda this dreary weekend past, at Two beans and a farm (10 Hathfelde Boulevard, Mernda VIC) in the Carome Homestead. For those of you scratching your heads wondering where on earth Mernda is; it’s in the far north of metropolitan Melbourne, so far north in fact I would call it regional Victoria. Put it this way, once you see signs warning pedestrians of snakes, it’s a safe bet to say you’re no longer in a metro area!

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I was all the way out there lunching with a darling friend who happens to live not too far from that neck of the woods. So I exaggerated a touch, the travel to Mernda wasn’t solely for food, there was a social element to it as well.

The Carome Homestead is located in a somewhat weird location – on a large block of land smack bang in the middle of a new residential estate. But if you’re able to discount the new homes in the streets surrounding the paddock, then this seems close enough to a farmhouse. Actually the day we visited, it did rather resemble a farmhouse because they were hosting a kid’s birthday and there was a little animal petting area and a pony riding station set up. They should really think about having the petting farm as a permanent fixture, I thought it really cemented the ‘farm’ aspect of their namesake.

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The actual house itself has been repurposed into a restaurant, with the many rooms inside making for separate dining spaces, kitchen and counter area. Breakfast is served until 12pm and then the lunch menu kicks in. In addition to the menu items, the counter space also houses a selection of savoury pies, quiches as well as cakes and puddings.

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We made a small attempt to get there in time for breakfast, but I’m actually glad we got there later than planned because I think the lunch menu is more interesting. The breakfast menu is a pretty standard of most cafes these days, but lunch takes on some Spanish influences. Lunch also meant we got to sample a greater range of food by choosing 3 starters and a main.

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We started with the guacamole and tostaditos ($10). How can you ever go wrong with a simple dish like this? Creamy avocado topped with a refreshing salsa. Delicious dip for the corn chips.

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Next was the esquites de maiz, a dish of sautéed sweet corn, onion, chipotle mayo, cheese and lime served with corn chips ($15). This was outstanding. It doesn’t look like too much, but trust me on this, it’s a must order dish for anyone who likes sweet corn. They’ve taken a great ingredient, enhanced the taste then embellished it with creamy, tangy and spicy flavours. It’s a winner. A dish I am definitely going to try to make a copy cat version of at some stage. Watch this space 😉

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The pulpo a la gallega was a Galician style tender octopus with crispy potatoes, chilli and Spanish paprika ($16). There is always a danger is putting too many adjectives into a menu description because I think it invites higher expectations and harsher judging. Good thing Two beans and a farm actually delivered with this dish. The octopus and potatoes were as described, the first was tender and the latter were crisp. The octopus came lightly covered with a tomato based sauce, which also happened to be very nice for dipping the potatoes in.

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From the mains selection, we shared the slow cooked pork belly with caraway slaw and pickled jalapeno salsa ($20). This was a generous and tasty dish. I really like the flat bread and the pork was lovely and tender. The pickled jalapenos were a welcome zingy hit to cut through the richness of the meat. Great combination of flavours.

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Then we hit up coffee and cake. Dessert is always a must when we ladies go to lunch. And how could we possibly not order a coffee at a cafe/restaurant with ‘two beans’ in the name?! Coffees here are $3.70 each and quite good. Lastly to give us a sweet finish was the rather pleasant Persian orange syrup cake (I think $8). The cake was quite moist with a gentle orange flavour throughout. A nice way to complete our meal without feeling sugared out.P1050460

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Overall we were quite happy with our meal. The food was lovely and the pricing was fairly reasonable. Service on the day visited was a little slow, although in their defense they did have a large function to cater for. I would assume their service would usually be more efficient. In any case, the staff were friendly and while it was a little hard to get their attention, it’s not something I’m complaining about. If you happen to be in the area, or if you feel like a little trip out of town, Two beans and a farm is a nice little spot to visit.

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