20 Oct Basils Farm Café and Cellar Door
43-53 Nye Rd, Swan Bay – BELLARINE PENINSULA
Not technically on the Surf Coast’s immediate radar, the 40-minute drive from Torquay to Basils Farm is one of the prettiest this side of Provence. In spring and early summer, the acres of buttercup‑coloured canola pastures on the road to Barwon Heads-Ocean Grove are something from an Impressionist’s sketch pad.
Basils Farm is an art house movie set in the waiting. The view across Swan Bay to Queenscliff is breathtaking. Browse the potager gardens dotted about the property. Some interesting artwork adorns the walls of the farmhouse café. Local artist Sean Rodwell featured above the fireplace at the time of our visit, and his sunshiny ‘portrait’ of the farmhouse beamed ‘love from a distant sun’ over everyone.
Some pretty special locally produced French artisan wines to sample here. Ales and lagers are locals, too – Prickly Moses, Southern Bay, Blackman’s Brewery.
These guys are the real-deal on the sustainability warrior front, and support some of the best local specialty producers. You can be assured that what isn’t pulled from the gardens here is sourced from very close by. Tick Drysdale Cheeses, meat and poultry from Farm Foods Queenscliff and Ravens Creek Farm, Timboon milk, Zeally Bay Sourdough, and Basils Farm signature coffee beans ground and roasted by Coffee Snobs, Geelong.
This is a Pagnol’s My Mother’s Castle experience without the expensive airfare and jet lag. Every aspect, and every morsel prepared by the farm’s French chef, is a delight to the senses. Do try the home-cured citrus salmon, Bellarine Manzanillo olives and Apostle Whey cheeses.
After a happily seated at table seven-tipple tasting, our party devoured the lamb, root vegetables and freshly picked salad and antipasto platters. A pot of Basils Farm zucchini relish is a treat with the meats. If you’re a lover of cauliflower, the fritters with Drysdale haloumi are divine. Other vegetarian and shellfish options are available. Don’t leave without sampling at least one Port Arlington mussel.
The service here is faultless. There’s room to breathe, and play, for the little and the big ones – quoits, bocce and assorted wooden outdoor games, and littlies’ sandpit. There’s also a delightful children’s menu. Juices are Parkers Organic. The miniature mixed berry smoothie was a big hit with our little visitor.
Keep an eye out for permaculture gardener Ben Shaw’s inspirational workshops.
Oh, and Basils Farm will pack you a picnic basket, for an alfresco free-range farm garden experience. Give them a call ahead of your visit to book this taste treat.
Booking advised to avoid disappointment. Indoor or out.
A real finders-keepers, this…
Tiffany & Co birthday cake supplied by La Dolce Vita, TORQUAY – Amazing!