Sweet Grass Bonsai Nursery & Cafe, 357 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 0488 688 808
What was once a nursery is still so – but with a difference.
The commercial nursery that long resided at this address on this under-utilised stretch of Barkly St has become a beautiful bonsai garden and cafe.
It’s a calming oasis.
Even on a hot day, the temperature seems to decrease in the garden and adjacent seating area.
Having already visited the Sri Lankan grocer around the corner on the Geelong road, I’d dropped in to check the place out only to find there’s no food available.
An unsatisfactory lunch is had nearby before I return to truly luxuriate in and enjoy the setting.
Bonsai, of course, is a Japanese tradition, but the management here is Vietnamese and Buddhist, as some of the statutory reveals.
One of them tells me her partner is a landscaper whose passion is bonsai.
It’s his private collection – some of them seem surprisingly large to bonsai ignoramus me – that makes up the serenely designed garden that adjoins the cool, calm undercover seating area.
There are smaller, younger plants for sale in the rear section.
I ponder the mocktail list.
This is a document Bennie will no doubt study with intensity when the time comes.
Maybe a Dutch Treat – milk, cocoa, cinnamon and honey – will be his go.
Or maybe a Black Widow of vanilla ice cream, lime juice and cola.
The boy does love a sundae, after all.
They seem very reasonably priced at $5, but it’s a bit hard to tell without laying eyes on one and seeing how big they are.
I play creature of habit and order a cafe latte.
I’ve had it good lately with fantastic coffee from diverse and non-standard cafe settings – Cup & Bean and Tico’s Drive Thru, for instance.
You won’t get a feed at Sweet Grass but it’s nourishment for the soul anyway.
Read another story on Sweet Grass at Fill Up On Bread.
Nice one 🙂 This place is a stone’s throw from my house but I’ve never been there, shame to say. I like the sound of a Black Widow though, like a coke spider with a twist. Some interesting looking bonsai too… Is that a bonsai olive tree in one of the pics? Very appropriate… Lots of the streets nearby Sweet Grass are lined with olive trees.
Juz, I also heard from them and the Sri Lankan grocery around the corner that Pandu’s is indeed reopening … right opposite the laundrette. I presume it’s the place with the white roller door. A couple of months at least, I’d guess. The woman I talked to at Sweet Grass told me Pandu is also taking over the now-closed tandoori place on the other side. Interesting times for your neighbourhood!
One morning last week while waiting for the bus, I saw some people going in and out of that closed Indian place next to Sweet Grass. I’m so happy to hear it will have a new establishment, and Pandu’s no less! It’s been a long few months without an Indian restaurant at the end of the street.
I’m not sure if both are going to be Pandu’s as in the Indo-Chinese of the old, demolished Pandu’s in Buckley St.
What do you mean no food? Not even some cakes???
Nope, not even cakes. Unusual, eh? It’s not really set up for cooking – it’d cost a fortune to transform it for that purpose. I was told that if the place goes well they’ll look at opening another with broader offerings.
Hi Kenny, really enjoying your reviews and love the way you include Benny’s perspective. Look forward to following more reviews. Have you tried The Dosa Hut in Barkly St( next to Ivan’s old Barber shop) ? Their Masala Dosa reminds me of the ones I used to have in southern India and very good value. Regards Michael ( from Stanhope st) .
Hey Michael – good to hear from you! Yeah, we hit Dosa Hut big time when it opened as it was the first dosa joint in the west. It went downhill a bit after that, but seems to be reliable these days. Review here. Still, these days we prefer Hyderabad Inn, just down the road apiece. And the new Vanakkam will do them, too.
Thanks for this post. I went there today for a mocktail. If you could just drown out the noise of Barkley Street I would move here – I felt like I was on holiday until the trucks came past. I will definitely be back.
Hi Alli! Nice space, eh?
Pingback: Yarraville Farmers Market and Vietnamese Beer in Seddon | Lady Rice