Mar 15 2010
There’s something very beautiful about this ‘rural’ oasis in a rapidly expanding urban jungle. It’s as if a patch of Melbourne was frozen in time, allowing children to run free in the innocent days when kids could really be kids, before the words ‘Twitter’ and ‘tween’ could ever be found in the Macquarie Dictionary. Fairfield Boathouse plays upon this old-school aesthetic well, advertising its classic array of Australian foodie favourites with a splash of sepia. I found myself craving Devonshire tea and a raspberry spider quicker than you could say ‘bonza’.Fairfield Park Boathouse and Tea Gardens
Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield VIC
Craving afternoon tea?
Last month, I visited Fairfield Boathouse on a warm Sunday afternoon. Hot food was on offer, at the end of a long queue I didn’t feel like joining. Instead, I contemplated sweet treats such as banana split and hot chocolate fudge, pausing to inspect the display case filled with vanilla slice, hedgehog and chocolate cake – all plated up and patiently awaiting their fate.
I settled on Devonshire scones (two fluffy golden gems, adorned with cream and jam), a fruit-salad smoothie and a seat on the verandah. A swarm of wasps settled on my smoothie and scones too, making for a unique eating experience that featured flailing arms and cries of ‘go away!’ As a result, the scones were devoured much too fast and, although good, weren’t as satisfying as they really should have been.
Fairfield Boathouse’s lunch offering is essentially a gourmet version of Bunnings’ weekend sausage sizzle. Sure, the menu includes ‘healthier’ options such as barbecued atlantic salmon, chicken breast and a variation of sides, but it’s all quite rudimentary and infused with grease. If it’s quality you’re after, just buy your own meat and use the public BBQ facilities adjacent to the Boathouse.
After I worked out where to queue, I ordered a hamburger with salad and potatoes ($17). The burger pattie was covered with a puddle of melted cheese and onions; the bun coated generously with butter. With a sigh, I pushed the pattie and some of the salad into the bun, then took a bite of the greaseburger, well aware that my morning jog was in vain.
If you’re satisfied with calorie-infused, good ol’ fashioned Aussie grub, you’ll be happy here. That’s if you can quickly work out where to queue. Fairfield Boathouse isn’t really about the food, though; it’s more about the experience. On a sunny day, you can’t help but be enchanted by this popular, tranquil piece of Melbourne. With canoes available for hire and a week of sunny weather ahead, it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon – be it on the water, or swatting wasps away from your scones.