Next time you are travelling by road to Canberra or the snow I insist that you have a break at Grandma's at the Farm in Collector. Set high up on a hill overlooking the Fedra Olive Grove, Grandma's is a Restaurant, Cafe, Takeaway, Bakery and Shop all rolled into one. It's the perfect place to stop, revive and survive on your travels, and it is oh so child friendly. Grandma's actually has a couple of little sisters in Sydney, located in the inner west. If you have been there you will know how delicious the food is, and how child friendly theses cafes iare. The Collector venue is basically bigger and better - just like everything in the country!
If you are travelling to Canberra from Sydney, Grandma's is located on the left hand, or eastern, side of the highway. If you are travelling towards Sydney there is a crossing bay available to enter and exit Grandma's. We dropped in on our way down to the Nation's Capital and as soon as we had parked the car our boys scampered off - their little legs were in much need of a run after the 2.5 hr drive. They had spied sheep, swings and a playground and they wanted to explore it all. We too stretched our legs and took a wander around the complex before heading into the cafe in search of some lunch.
You can sit inside or out at Grandma's. The inside is spacious and consists of some decent large sized tables if you need to accommodate a large tribe. We chose to sit outside as we knew the boys still needed to run and explore and therefore we could keep a better eye on them. The trouble that day was because the outside was quite exposed to the elements - particularly wind, everything tended to go flying around. And as the bulk of people were sitting inside, the staff were busy looking after them and as a result service outside was a little slow. Alas we persevered as the view was so spectacular. You look out onto the olive grove and surrounding farms and as the area is enjoying a particularly good season the view is so much better than what it normally is (I sound like a farmer's daughter don't I!).
Just below the outdoor seating area you will find a set of swings and a little pen of sheep. The boys were entertained by both until their lunch arrived. There is plenty of room for kids to run around but you just have to be careful of cars as the area is surrounded by access roads. The bigger playground is not visible from the cafe so it may be best to have a play there before or after your meal.
As you would expect, kids are very well looked after at Grandma's. They serve all of their kids drinks in a cute teddy bear glass complete with stripey paper straw. Kids can have either a milkshake or freshly squeezed apple juice - the later being the most refreshing on a warm Spring day. Babycinos are also available for $1.00. They are fully licensed and I loved that all of the wines were from local wineries - our Lake George Pinot Noir Rose was the perfect way to kick start our holiday!
The "Grandchildrens" menu was a lovely surprise - absolutely nothing was deep fried. There are 3 choices: Mini Beef Casserole or Chicken & Vegetables served with rice $8.90; Mini Spaghetti Bolognese $8.90; and Mini Grandma's Soup $7.50. The boys had the spag bol and I was told that it was far better than mine! And it was! I did the mandatory taste test and it was a supreme bolognese sauce - made with Grandma's special sauce. The presentation was pretty special as well - a little side dish of parmesan and a wee stalk of olive tree.
There is a menu for bigger people for both breakfast and lunch as well as treats for morning and afternoon tea and the menu has a definite Mediterranean feel to it. Actually if you blocked out the Aussie accents of your fellow diners, you could almost feel as though you were on holiday somewhere in the Mediterranean - the food, the weather and the view over the olive grove transported me back to a holiday I had long ago in the middle of Greece.
At breakfast time you can feast on shakshukas, borekas, home made scones, toast and muesli - however as Collector is a bit too far to go for a weekend breakfast, I'll have to drop by the Alexandria cafe to sample some of these items instead. For lunch, the menu covers pastas, salads, frittatas, stuffed vegetables, casseroles and pies. I chose Grandma's Gourmet Basket Pie ($15.50) - the flavour of the day was goulash and it was delicious. The accompanying side salad had been sprinkled with some of the Fedra Grove's olive oil and Grandma's own "Zater". The olive oil is like nothing like you can buy in supermarkets - it was almost good enough to drink! The Zater is a mixture of dried herbs and sesame seeds and it just added a nice amount of zing to the salad. Both the olive oil and the Zater are available for purchase in the shop inside the cafe.
Mr Munch enjoyed the Beef Lasagne ($15.50) which came with the delicious side salad as well. Our meals were so filling that sadly we didn't have any room for dessert or a sweet treat. Some options available are Malabi - rose cream with pistachio & coconut & rose syrup; freshly baked apple strudel; Mazal chocolate cake; freshly baked scones and cookies. So if you arrive in time for morning or afternoon tea you will be spoilt for choice!
At the end of our meal the owner came to our table to make sure everything was OK. I didn't realise that he had been having his lunch at a table close by. We told him that everything was more than OK and then I told him that this place was simply gorgeous and he just smiled giving me that knowing look that he owns (and I presume lives in) a little slice of paradise.
We walked off lunch by wandering around the grove and up into the playground, passing a quaint little onsite private chapel along the way. I'm not sure if you are allowed to go inside - I would have loved to pop inside to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful lunch that we just had, but my boys aren't the holiest of creatures so I thought better of it. Before we hopped back into the car, I snuck into the shop and stocked up on some goodies. I came away with their delicious (and award winning) olive oil, a packet of Zater and some freshly made Turkish delight (I am eating a piece as I write this!). Bakery products such as bread and croissants, as well as a huge assortment of cookies are other tempting items available for sale.
When we travel our mantra is "it's as much about the journey as it is about the destination". We very rarely stop in at Maccas and the like on our road trips. If you do a little bit of research before you go (eg read the "Beyond Sydney" section on Little Munch) you will find some wonderful gems just like Grandma's at the Farm located all throughout the country side. Take the time to stop in, breathe and recharge - your little ones will love you for it!
5796 Federal Hwy, Collector NSW
Open 7 days: 9am - 4pm